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Bahia and Sergipe Send 120 Missionaries to Serve in Other Countries :Adventist News Online

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Participants wave flags of some of the countries to which they will be sent  (Photo: Naassom Azevedo)

Attorney Déborah Cardoso is living the fulfillment of a dream. In 2023, she will travel to Lebanon and then Egypt. There, she will dedicate a few months of her life to working on an educational project for the community. “I must serve to serve; if I don’t serve, I serve nothing,” she stresses. “Mission has always made sense to me.”

 

She is part of a group of 120 missionaries from Bahia and Sergipe who, next year, will be sent to various regions of the world, such as Europe, Asia, and Africa, for example. The Pitcairn project, as it has been named, is a response by the church in these states to what other people have done by leaving their countries so the Adventist message can be spread throughout Brazil and South America.

 

“We as a church, as local leaders, as members, are coming together financially to send young missionaries to various places in the world. Business people who can’t go because of their business, for example, are contributing so that others can go. People who have few resources are also helping in some way. Everyone is involved,” details Pastor André Dantas, the denomination’s president for Bahia and Sergipe. 

 

What does this action show to the members? According to Dantas, it reinforces the feeling that they are not alone in sharing the biblical message in each of their locations. And it also awakens what he calls “missionary consciousness”: although they talk about Christ here, it is also necessary to help in other places.

 

Participants wave flags of some of the countries to which they will be sent  (Photo: Naassom Azevedo)

Participants wave flags of some of the countries to which they will be sent (Photo: Naassom Azevedo)

The missionaries, who were introduced this Sabbath, October 22, to the participants of I Will Go, a volunteer and mission event taking place at the Adventist College of Bahia (FABDA), will travel through Adventist Volunteer Service (AVS). By doing so, they will be directly connected to projects that are open in various regions. The effort of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Bahia and Sergipe comes precisely to help them with the cost of passports, visas, and round-trip tickets to their destination. “With this, it will be possible for young people to leave their congregation and save people on the other side of the world,” emphasizes Dantas.

 

Contributing to the World Mission 

Sending them means the church’s focus is in the right place, assures Pastor Elbert Kuhn, AVS’s world director. He highlights that the denomination exists to fulfill the challenges issued by the Bible so that hope is shared in gratitude to Christ’s love. In addition, it shows concern for young people, who, at the most challenging time of their lives, are involved with what will give them depth in their fellowship with God and skills and competencies in emotional and professional contexts and in relating to new cultures and languages. 

 

Kuhn points out that this act assures that the church is global, and just as missionaries were sent out to help South America become what it is today, now the territory sends people to places that need support to move forward. “This shows our appreciation for the younger generations and that around the globe, we have the same ideal,” he points out.

 

After participating twice in the One Year in Mission project, which offers initiatives in health, social development, and Bible teaching, Jeferson Silva thought about going a step further: He decided to take the entrance exam to study theology. However, he also received an invitation from his local pastor in Ilhéus, Bahia, to become a missionary in another country. “I am passionate about this: taking the Word of God to people. I found out that the selection process for the course I chose would take place on the same day as I Will Go, and I needed to make a choice. My heart already knew where I wanted to go,” he asserts.

 

Jefferson believes that serving others should be a constant practice  (Photo: Jefferson Paradello)

Jefferson believes that serving others should be a constant practice (Photo: Jefferson Paradello)

As Silva looked at the experiences he has had in different places, what he learned most was that there is always someone needing someone else. “As Christians, we are here to serve. It doesn’t matter exactly what I’m going to do when I get there. I believe the important thing is to be available to help with what I know and can learn,” he points out.

 

Just the Beginning 

The Adventist College in Bahia was also the stage for the conclusion of the preparation of these and other missionaries to serve beyond the borders of their cities and countries. In all, 1,400 participants from Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay finished their apprenticeship at the School of Missions, which teaches about spiritual, social, and psychological aspects and how to adapt to different cultures when serving in other locations. In 2019, only 15 such initiatives were underway in 8 South American countries. Today, that number already stands at 95.

 

Students from the School of Missions display a certificate of completion of the preparation journey  (Photo: Naassom Azevedo)

Students from the School of Missions display a certificate of completion of the preparation journey (Photo: Naassom Azevedo)

“The sending of these 120 people is a giant step for young people to participate in preaching the gospel in the world. We want to motivate more people to do the same because the testimony that impacts the most is that of the volunteer who is serving. They become the sermon. We want to hasten the coming of Jesus,” emphasizes Pastor Francesco Marquina, AVS director for Bahia and Sergipe. “We hope they will be a transforming influence in the places where they go, and we can raise up a generation, not just 120.”

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

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