May 30, 2014 – Brasília, Brazil…Felipe Lemos/ASN and Ansel Oliver/ANN
When the spotlight and crowds come to Brazil next month for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, local Seventh-day Adventists have a plan for outreach in an effort to meet international football fans with service and ministry.
They won’t be alone. Every conceivable type of group can be seen at large world gatherings to promote their cause. But Adventists in Brazil say their plans for service—an initiative titled “Hope Brazil”—aim to go beyond simply passing out brochures or selling trinkets.
The World Cup, which begins June 12, is expected to draw hundreds of thousands of spectators from around the world to Brazil, where the sport of international football is highly revered. Many local schools and businesses are likely to close during the 32-day tournament.
The Adventist Church in Brazil will mobilize youth and young adult members in each of the 12 cities holding matches. Around stadium sites, members will distribute water, perform musical concerts and establish health expos. Adventist tourism students will offer passers-by directions and information about their cities. Members will also plan to participate in blood donation drives.
Adventists will also distribute two types of literature: 1 million copies of the Adventist sharing book, “The Only Hope,” written by Adventist evangelist Alejandro Bullón, and a magazine about victims of sex tourism, which is this year’s theme of the South American Division’s ongoing abuse awareness campaign “Breaking the Silence.”
Areli Barbosa, Youth Ministries director of the Adventist Church’s South American Division, said the activities were designed for service and not to support the Cup.
“It’s important to emphasize that these are not actions to bring people to stadiums or promote football,” Barbosa said. “We are enjoying a great opportunity in Brazil to speak of Christ in different ways.”
The Adventist Church in Brazil will also host an online prayer campaign to pray for the 32 countries represented in the Cup. Each day, Hope Brazil organizers will designate a represented country and pray for its citizens and the Adventist projects and organizations operating there.
The prayer campaign will begin on the first day of play, June 12, on the websites adventistas.org/pt/esperancabrasil and facebook.com/IgrejaAdventistadoSetimoDia.
Gilbert Cangy, director of the Adventist world church’s Youth Ministries department, applauded organizers of the Hope Brazil project, saying it’s a tradition for Youth Ministry to take advantage of ministry opportunities at major international gatherings, such as the Olympics.
“We are encouraged to pray that doors may open for the proclamation of the message and to make the most of every opportunity,” Cangy said. “The World Cup offers another such opportunity for our youth to go public for Jesus in creative ways, and at the appointed time heaven will make manifest their eternal impact in the lives of people.”
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