Students and employees of the Adventist University Center of São Paulo (UNASP), sent by the Volunteer and Mission Center, participated in a special project in Jordan, which aimed to support community initiatives already started in the city of Madaba. The actions started on June 27 and lasted until July 11, with the main focus on expanding the local center of influence.
At the headquarters supported by the volunteers, the work is conducted by a native pastoral couple, who also organize the activities of the center of influence, aimed at supporting children and teenagers. Actions include guitar and English lessons, school tutoring, as well as the Pathfinders and Adventurers clubs.
During the development of the project, the group worked with more than 50 children and partnered together with a Brazilian volunteer couple who have been in the country for six years. The team carried out actions such as a kids health fair, in which natural remedies were explored in a playful way, since these teachings are not part of the daily reality of these youngsters.
In addition, Vacation Bible School was promoted, through which the volunteers taught the children biblical stories that are also present in the Koran (Islam’s holy book), sang Christian songs with them, and taught them to pray.
According to Pastor Caio Conceição, leader of the project and Volunteer and Mission Center, during this period, many children had their first contact with the person of Jesus, based on the Bible, not traditions or family opinions. "The opportunity that the parents and grandparents didn't have to get to know the Jesus of the Bible, those children had, through the stories, the songs, but, mainly, through our relationship," he details.
The group also donated three electric guitars to be used in the classes and painted the walls of the center of influence and the markings on the sports court. Nevertheless, Conceição emphasized how the relational nature of the project left a positive impression on the community.
"We went with the goal of being Jesus to those children, so that through our face, our gestures, our hands, and our love, they could come to know the Jesus we know," explains the pastor.
Voluntary Action and the Adventist Identity
Marcia Bispo, the head of the women's chaplaincy at UNASP, Engenheiro Coelho campus, who also participated in the Jordan project, explains that such voluntary activities and the Adventist identity are closely linked because the Adventist Church, more than a denomination, is a prophetic movement that preaches the return of Jesus.
She also stresses the importance of encouraging young people to participate in initiatives like this. According to the chaplain, this kind of activity "allows them to have a very clear vision of the great conflict, and this helps them develop greater communion with God, greater community living skills, as well as a sense of usefulness and belonging."
"Getting out of my bubble and my context is really cool because I can grow in my experience with God and see that He is not only here in Brazil, but everywhere. Everyone should do volunteering to have an experience with God, to get out of the comfort zone and grow as a person and as a Christian," stresses Gabriella Bortolini, a psychology student.
The project in Jordan began in 2022 but is scheduled to last until July 2025. The great objective in these four years of partnership is to expand the center of influence so it will be possible to serve more people, as well as raise donations to make this planning possible, since the country's currency is very expensive compared to the Brazilian real.
Pastor Gonçalves explains that patience and adaptability are fundamental principles for the volunteer. Jordan offers limitations for the advance of the gospel due to the religious conflicts around the country. In addition, keeping records of the actions is practically unfeasible. Therefore, he says this is a locality where God works in silence.
"But the Spirit of the Lord has been working mightily in the hearts of children, youth, and adults, and we have to be part of that movement. This is why UNASP has adopted this project, so that we can be an instrument in God's hands for His work to grow in such a challenging place," Gonçalves concludes.