TT he official date of Impact Hope is October 31, but this does not keep the work of distributing Christian literature from continuing throughout the year. This is what Balbino dos Santos has been doing since 2013 every day, in his own way. “I looked at my bookcase and saw very good books that I had already read and thought about what I could do with them. I remembered the bus station, where people stay for a long time waiting for the time to travel, and also, when they take the bus and don't have any books to read, the trip is longer and nothing is learned during that period. So I got in touch with the bus station and put the idea into practice,” he explains. He managed to install what was, at that time, the first shelf in the city of Itabuna, south of Bahia.
The initiative to make literature available at bus terminals inspired more people to adopt the same idea in other municipalities, but after seven years since the opening of the first bookcase, Balbino had the opportunity to expand the project to new locations himself. On October 29 of this year, one of them was fixed at the Eunápolis bus station, and in early November, it will be the city of Ilhéus.
According to data from the fifth edition of the “ Retratos da Leitura ” survey, from 2015 to 2019, the number of Brazilians who read books of their own accord fell by 2.6%, taking into account the last three months. Perhaps the drop in readership numbers is not greater because of initiatives like Balbino's. According to him, since the opening of the bookshelf at the bus station in Itabuna, around 40,000 books and magazines have been taken by passersby and passengers. However, in addition to the voluntary service to encourage reading, it is a reinforcement for the spread of messages of hope.
In these seven years of the project, Balbino has already had the opportunity to see at least one fruit of his work: Camila, who met Jesus through reading one of the books he picked up at the Itabuna bus station. “What I can do, I am doing, and I still want, before I die, to put more racks on the bus stations. People tell me that I will see a lot of results in heaven. I am happy with that,” Balbino emphasized .
The director of evangelism of the Seventh-day Adventist Church for southern Bahia, Pastor Ulisses Mendes, was at the inauguration of the project in Eunápolis, accompanied by the local pastors. He emphasized and reinforced the importance of attitudes like this. “The Bible says that the priesthood that Christ has entrusted to us is for all believers. It is not just for the pastor or elder; it is for everyone. We want more and more brothers and sisters to get involved in the mission of saving people.”