South American Division

Cycling Ministry Helps Man in Brazil Avoid Surgery

In six years, the Seven Bikers ministry has celebrated the baptism of 49 cyclists.

Charlise Alves, South American Division, and ANN Staff
Marcelo has had a health problem since childhood, but it was cycling with Seven Bikers that helped him with his treatment

Marcelo has had a health problem since childhood, but it was cycling with Seven Bikers that helped him with his treatment

Photo: Personal archive

Not long ago, sales representative Marcelo Fernandes was about to undergo hip surgery. But on doctor's advice, he decided to take up cycling and became a member of Seven Bikers, a supporting ministry of the Adventist Church. The lifestyle change helped Fernandes regain his health.

Seven Bikers has representatives in various parts of Brazil and the world. The group from the city of Hortolândia, in the interior of São Paulo, Brazil, meets three times a week to cycle. On urban routes, cyclists cover an average of 18 miles (30 kilometers). However, there are trips that exceed 62 miles (100 kilometers) in distance. Heber Girotto, the director of Seven Bikers, emphasizes that the goal “is to encourage people to have a better quality of life through physical exercise.”

Fernandes has an extra motivation to practice the sport. “I have had a problem with wear and tear in my pelvis since I was a child, and now, at 55 years old, it has started to hurt a lot,” he said. According to him, due to medical advice, he could not practice an impact sport, so he chose to cycle. “It was very difficult at first. In almost a year, I lost 15 kilos, but I had to change some eating habits. The result was that in six months my leg stopped hurting,” he celebrates.

Marcelo Cunha, sports scientist, highlights that "cycling is a very complete workout that works on balance and motor coordination.”

Recognition of the Adventist Church

The Adventist Church recognizes the ministry’s work in promoting health and evangelism. The director of Seven Bikers received an invitation from Luís Mário Pinto, the vice president of the Adventist Church in South America, to participate in the Plenary Executive Committee held at the headquarters of the Adventist Church in South America. This is a meeting where administrative decisions are made that will have an impact on future years.

Girotto and his wife, Karina, presented the report to the leaders of the institutions and administrative offices present at the May meeting. At the time, the couple reported on actions and campaigns, such as donations for people affected by the floods in Rio Grande do Sul. The highlight was the campaign of the year, “ Bike is Medicine,” which encourages the practice of cycling for the prevention and possible cure of diseases.

For Luís Mário, "Seven Bikers is a specific ministry that reaches people for Christ who might not be reached otherwise." Thus, the project has great missionary potential not only in the places it goes but also within the group itself since 47% of the members are not Adventists. In six years, 49 cyclists have already been baptized.

Fernandes warns that starting out in physical activity is not easy and advises future cyclists to stay focused and not give up on two-wheeled sports. He guarantees several benefits for physical and mental health. “Your quality of life improves, as well as getting to know new places and making new friends. Really, biking is medicine,” he concludes.

The original article was published on the South American Division Portuguese website.

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