Raquel and Géssica met in person for the first time during the baptismal party [Photo Courtesy of the South American Division]
Brasilia, Brazil | Monique Anjos

I n the midst of the pandemic of the novel coronavirus, Géssica Souza, who heard about the Seventh-day Adventist Church during her adolescence, decided to study the Bible and watch the programs on TV Novo Tempo. She happened to tune in during NT Play Week in June, presented by Pastor Victor Bejota, and realized that she could no longer be “on the fence.”

"I decided to contact the Central Adventist Church in Salvador via chat, since I was already attending the services online every Saturday, and asked for my baptism," Souza shares.

The local pastor, Josimar Rios, called Souza and suggested a further virtual study.

“At first, I was in doubt, because I wanted to be baptized soon and I did not think it was necessary to do further studies, but for the sake of education I accepted,” Souza adds.

Rios talked to his wife, Raquel, about the people who had contacted and demonstrated interest in baptism, but who would need to do a detailed Bible study.

“It was at that moment that something caught my attention and I chose Géssica [to study with her]. I believe it was a divine providence,” Raquel says.

The studies took place at dawn, as Raquel has two small children and their schedule was tight during the day.

“We only make time for what is relevant to us,” Raquel points out. “We will always be busy with the demands of life, but if we really want to work for God, he will lead us to people and situations into which our actions for the Kingdom of Christ will fit. And that will bring us a lot of spiritual fulfillment.”

Souza says Raquel never ran out of answers, and that her friend was always willing to answer questions or say a prayer.

On August 15, Souza attended the first face-to-face service at an Adventist church.

“I knew she would be there, so I took advantage of the opportunity and sent a treat with a letter, along with the baptismal gown,” says Raquel.

Before the baptism, which took place on August 23, Raquel and Souza only had one face-to-face meeting, which was for Raquel to present Souza with a Sabbath School Lesson and homemade bread. After five months without going to church because of social isolation, Raquel witnessed Souza’s decision live, and attended her friend's baptism.

“It was a sublime moment!,” Raquel gushes. “The gospel and its positive effects on our lives are priceless. Being able to accompany someone in their convicted acceptance of this gospel brings immense joy, a sense of spiritual usefulness, and gratitude to God.”

This article was originally published on the South American Division’s Portuguese news site

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