More than 3,000 young Seventh-day Adventist volunteers from the Caleb Mission Project took part in service-oriented activities in the Brazilian state of Sergipe. The group’s service-oriented actions mirrored what similar groups have regularly accomplished for 10 years across the eight countries comprising the Adventist Church’s South American Division.
As most of the volunteers are students, service initiatives usually occur during January and February, the summer months in the Southern Hemisphere.
In Sergipe, the young people’s outreach included caring for people by offering free hair cuts, fitness advice, food distribution, and free courses on healthy eating. Adventist volunteers also paid visits to local orphanages.
In 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, participants agreed to follow the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines and carried out activities that help prevent infection. Among those initiatives, young people hosted health fairs, creating awareness about the importance of strengthening and supporting the immune system with a healthy lifestyle.
According to Caleb Sergipe coordinator Denill Sousa, activities have been contextualized to meet people's needs in times of a pandemic. “Taking every possible precaution, Adventist young people moved forward to serve their communities,” Sousa said. “The group’s goal was to support the physical, mental, and spiritual development of people in need. It included helping them to develop faith in God, have balanced emotions, and a fit body. We hope that in this way, their immune system may be strengthened and become more resistant to the virus.”
Wearing a mask, using hand sanitizer, and keeping social distancing, Noemia Santos helped coordinate a health fair in the state capital city of Aracaju. “We offered to check people’s blood pressure, free haircuts, psychological and legal counsel,” she said. “Our mission is to help others in a moment of so much uncertainty.”
In addition to social initiatives across the state, every night in January, young volunteers coordinated 147 places where they offered lessons on health and Bible studies. “The time we are living in is very uncertain. God’s Word brings us relief and strength to face challenges with faith and more optimism,” Sousa shared. “We distributed volunteers across our Bible study places, and we invite other church members to join. It is a matter of finding the closest Adventist church to your home and becoming part of this initiative,” he said.