Brazil’s Seventh-day Adventist Entrepreneurs Association advisor Martinho Ferreira de Moura remembers when he was 10 years old. When he was a child, his parents encouraged him to be active in sharing his beliefs. Every Saturday (Sabbath), he would distribute Adventist literature in northern Rio de Janeiro. It’s been decades since his childhood experience, but those early teachings still find a place in his heart. An active member of the Rio de Janeiro Central Seventh-day Adventist Church, Moura found a creative way of sharing God’s truth with his friends.
A businessman for decades, Moura has been president of a transportation association and is currently a member of the Inter-American Chamber of Transportation. His work experience has significantly expanded his network of influence and allowed him to meet many entrepreneurs across Brazil. Many of them became his friends.
Since most of Moura’s friends live in other cities across Brazil, they usually get in touch online.
A Message to Share
One day, Moura had the idea to start sending short devotional messages to his friends via WhatsApp. He chose Gilson Brito’s “This Day with God,” which are five-minute, inspiring messages based on faith and the Bible.
Initially, the messages were sent to a group of just 20 friends. The initiative soon grew. Moura’s contact list increased almost six-fold, reaching 114 friends across Brazil. The group gets the video devotional every day. He said the effort has even acquired a name — Friends Sharing Hope with Friends.
Moura said many of his friends have questions about the topics discussed in the video messages. He then spends time helping them to better understand the topic of the day.
Fernando Carneiro is also a businessman in the transportation area. He is one of the 114 who receive the daily devotional from Moura. In the business world, the two are competitors, but the respect and friendship of 25 years are above their line of work, they said. Carneiro is not an Adventist church member, but he likes to share messages about Jesus. He decided to start a group to resend Moura’s messages to his network of family and friends. Then, he found out some of his contacts were sharing those messages with their contacts.
“It’s rewarding to exchange experiences with my friends,” Carneiro said.
But Carneiro didn’t stop there, as he began to read the Bible to go deeper into the contents discussed. Particularly, the Bible book of Daniel caught his attention, which led him to further studies.
Online and In-Person Gatherings
Soon, the group discussed the idea of meeting in person. Carneiro attended, together with 15 of his friends. Led by Moura, participants were given the opportunity of choosing a topic. “The topic with the most votes was life after death,” Moura said.
Online meetings discussing various biblical topics are now taking place every Wednesday, with Edson Nunes, a pastor who has a doctorate in Hebrew Bible.
Nunes ended up spending three meetings discussing what life is and then discussing death. Carneiro said that Nunes discussed creation, focusing on what the Bible says in the original language in which it was written. “I watched the first episode twice so as not to miss any details,” Carneiro said. “It gave me an awareness and knowledge I lacked before.”
Other topics being covered are resurrection, spiritual gifts, Jesus’ return, the seventh-day Sabbath, the end of the world, the Holy Spirit, predestination, miracles, salvation, and God’s law.
Moura said that his local church pastor, Gilson Montin, is usually available to clear the participants’ doubts and provide more in-depth information about the topics as needed.
The idea now is to keep expanding the group, Moura said. “Our goal is to encourage other businessmen to share the gospel of Jesus in their area of influence,” he said.