April 18, 2017

Food Factory Doubles as Evangelism Center in Brazil

A Seventh-day Brazilian businessman has transformed his factory into an evangelism center, as the daily devotionals and special worship meetings he offers to his workers have already resulted in seven baptisms. Carlos Roberto Vertuan, owner of the Unilife natural food products and supplements laboratory in the southern Brazilian city of Maringa, employs dozens of Adventist members, but workers who are not Seventh-day Adventist comprise almost 60 percent of his 106-person workforce.

As Easter Week was approaching, Vertuan, whose factory manufactures products such as organic coconut sugar, beta-carotene tablets, and eggplant flour, ceased all activities for an hour a day to offer his workers a spiritual message by Central Maringa Seventh-day Adventist Church Pastor Luciano de Paula Borges. In South America and other regions of the world church, Easter Week is a time when Christians are usually more open to spiritual reflections and Bible truth.

Unilife workers met every day at the factory meeting room during Easter Week to listen to spiritual messages by a local Seventh-day Adventist pastor. [Photo by SAD News Agency]

According to Vertuan, the initiative for Easter Week’s special meetings came from some of his workers. “I found it a very good idea because it is something I always dreamed of doing,” he said. “I just needed someone to embrace the idea.” The Adventist businessman did not hide what his company’s goal is. “I want my workers to understand that this company wants to offer them something of much greater value than just a salary,” he said.

During last week’s meetings at Unilife, Pastor Borges spoke to close to 100 workers every day in a meeting room inside the company. Meetings, which started on Monday, finished on Thursday with the screening of The Rescue movie, a recent Seventh-day Adventist feature film production. Workers attending the meetings were also invited to visit the local church over the weekend, and to register for Bible studies to be launched at the company facilities.

According to Unilife Human Resources Manager Jean Carlos Hernandes, almost every worker attended the meetings. “We had from 92 to 96 workers attending every day,” he said. “Everyone was invited to join willingly. Meetings were not mandatory.”

Dedicating moments to spiritual reflection is not new for Unilife. Since the launch of the company over 20 years ago, workers are invited to join in daily devotionals every morning. Also, special weeks of prayer and Bible study groups were added in the last five years.

Seven baptisms have already resulted from these evangelistic initiatives. One of the workers recently baptized is Missielli Hernandes, who became a Seventh-day Adventist six months ago. “I began to do Bible studies over my lunch break and got to know the truth,” she said. “It is the reason I asked to be baptized.”

Roberto, as Vertuan’s workers know him, is now planning to build new facilities for his food laboratory, and include a larger room for the company’s daily spiritual meetings. “Right now, our meeting room is too small and uncomfortable. But in the new building, we will have an exclusive space to spend time with God,” he said.