Chairs and fundraising equipment occupied the seating space. In the pulpit, there was only a cross and many copies of the book The Great Controversy. This is what happened at the Darke de Matos Adventist Church, located in the Manguinhos neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro during the Hope Impact initiative on April 1, 2023.
This was the second time the action happened at the church, which, since the pandemic, offers breakfast for homeless people Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. "Our church was created with the objective of being a differentiated project, focused on missionary action. Therefore, several actions happen during the week, and we take advantage of the Hope Impact for another action for the community," says Erivan Pontes, a local elder.
A team of 14 professionals from the State Institute of Hematology (Hemorio), including doctors, attendants, and nurses, registered, screened, and collected blood. In all, 44 bags were donated between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The first donor was Mylena Bald Corrêa Mota, a teacher education student. "This was the third time I donated blood. Since it was close to the time for another donation, I took the opportunity and came. It was the first time I entered this church, and I thought the action was very important, because it makes people aware of donation," she says.
Ivan de Menezes Rueger donated blood for the first time and was very happy. "Doing good for people is essential. We have to let go of our fear to help. The action of the church was very good because anyone can need a blood donation, so every time they do this action here, I will come and participate, too!”
As soon as one finished donating, the person was taken to the Life and Health Fair set up in tents in the church's courtyard. While the blood donation and fair were taking place, members distributed The Great Controversy.
Paulo Gonçalves is a salesman and was working when he heard the sound car and decided to donate as well. "Actions like this are an incentive for those who live near the church and can't go downtown. It was a novelty to come to the church to donate.”
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Pastor Alexandre Lopes, Finance director for the Rio de Janeiro Conference, also donated blood. "It was the first time I saw a church doing that. Really, this action is religion in the practice of loving God and neighbor. A relevant and unusual experience, but one that has the essence of the Gospel," he describes.
In all, 160 people visited the church that Sabbath and were invited to attend a special church program. On Sunday, 12 people started the course “How to Quit Smoking,” which takes place starting at 7 p.m., with lectures by health professionals, pressure gauging, and glucose tests.
In the central region of Rio de Janeiro, approximately 190,000 books were distributed. Throughout the state, almost half a million complimentary copies were given to the population.
Hope Impact was created in 2007 with the proposal to massively distribute books with messages of faith, comfort, and optimism and encourage the habit of reading. Although the distribution occurs throughout the year, there is a specific day when Adventists mobilize for a massive distribution in streets and stores.
In all Seventh-day Adventist churches, the distribution of The Great Controversy will continue throughout next year. The work has already been translated into more than 80 languages, and its author is the American writer Ellen White, the most translated in history. The work, consisting of historical and prophetic content, portrays in detail the influence of spiritual forces in the most decisive episodes of human history and how this saga will end. Throughout the pages, the text answers existential questions such as "What is the origin of evil?", "Will this world, as it is, last forever?", and "Is there hope for a better future for humanity?"
On the website adv.st/impactoesperanca, there is also a version for children, with adapted language and illustrations. There, you can also download support and promotional materials for the campaign.