March 8, 2017

Adventist Businesswoman Shares Both Chocolates and Faith at the Oscars

Márcio Tonetti, Adventist Review Brazil

For the third year in a row, a Seventh-day Adventist businesswoman shared her faith at the most famous film event in the world. Rayanne Sabará Rodrigues, a chocolate maker who immigrated to the United States from Brazil less than twenty years ago, is regularly invited to Hollywood celebrities’ events, where she offers not only her cocoa sweets but the sweet message of God’s Holy Word.

Sabará made it to Hollywood after a New York stylist tried her vegan sweets and shared them with one of the producers of the Oscars week events a few years ago.

This year, Sabará showcased her sweets at the Hollywood Museum, located across the street from the Dolby Theatre, where the “Academy Awards”—commonly known as “the Oscars”—ceremony has taken place since 2002. She also made 550 chocolate figurines for guests attending two benefit galas during the Oscars week—the Roger Neal Style Hollywood, and the UNICEF Children Uniting Nations events, the latter coordinated by Daphna Ziman, owner of the Warner Brothers mansion, and actress Sharon Stone.

“I feel honored to be personally invited by these people,” said Sabará in an interview with the Brazilian Times, the largest and oldest Brazilian newspaper in the United States. “I am at a loss for words to express what I feel when I take part in events like these. I just thank God for opening those doors.”

Sabará made it to Hollywood after a New York stylist tried her vegan sweets and shared them with one of the producers of the Oscars week events a few years ago. The producer liked the sweets so much that he invited her to showcase her products at the events surrounding the annual Academy Awards ceremony in Hollywood, California. Given that chance, Sabará made the most of it, as her Glamour Bombonier brand, based in Worcester, Massachusetts, won the celebrities’ palate, and she soon became known as the “Chocolate Lady” in Hollywood.

A table arrangement featuring some of the Glamour Bombonier chocolate company products, owned by Seventh-day Adventist businesswoman Rayanne Sabará Rodrigues. [Photo by Rayanne Sabará Rodrigues]

The Adventist businesswoman, who in 2015 was named by the Brazilian Immigrant to the US Workers’ Union (CTBI) as one of the 30 Brazilian personalities in the country, said she often keeps in touch with some of the celebrities she meets at the events she is invited to. Last year, for instance, singer and songwriter Carol Connors invited her to her mansion in Beverly Hills. “She was very kind to me,” said Sabará. “She sat at the piano and played the theme song from the movie Rocky, one of her most famous compositions.”

Sabará made clear, however, that her business is much more than advertising and selling chocolates.

For one, God has a preferential seat in everything Sabará says and does, as both her business cards and product labels include the phrase “Always trust in the Lord.” “This is the message I want to share with my customers,” she said.

Sabará—who worships at the Worcester Brazilian Seventh-day Adventist Church in her hometown—walks tall when explaining that her ultimate goal is to make the most of her business as a tool for reaching out and sharing hope with others.

This year, as the February 26 Academy Awards 2017 ceremony approached, Sabará saw in the movie Hacksaw Ridge—which received six Oscars nominations and ended up winning in two categories—an even greater opportunity for sharing her faith. Directed by Mel Gibson, the film tells the story of Desmond T. Doss, a Seventh-day Adventist United States Army medic who became the first conscientious objector to win the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Understanding the significance of the story, Sabará presented some celebrities the biography of this Adventist hero of World War II. The businesswoman also distributed copies of The Great Hope, a condensed edition of the book The Great Controversy, by Ellen G. White, a co-founder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. “I have noticed that often, celebrities suffer from loneliness and emptiness, something that prompted me to share love and hope through our literature,” Sabará said.

“We help immigrant families from Brazil with clothing and food”

The Adventist businesswoman is also known for reaching out to immigrants. “We help immigrant families from Brazil with clothing and food,” she said. She even set up a Facebook group to share information about job vacancies and rental properties. Sabará also volunteers as a hospital chaplain assistant as part of a group that prays for the sick and collects toys for hospitalized children. As a result of their work, several people have requested Bible studies, she said.

Sabará, who was recently invited by an actress to participate in a television show and tell about her business and her religious beliefs, believes that what is happening to her fits into God’s plan for her life. “It was for a special purpose that the Lord brought me here,” said Sabará. “It is the reason I want to keep advertising my products and using this opening in Hollywood to uplift God’s name,” she said.

With additional information from Márcio Basso Gomes.