How do you turn your life into a mission? Out of individuals’ initiative, some of the major supporting ministries in the Seventh-day Adventist Church were born, ministry leaders recently said. In the South American Division (SAD), these include the Adventist Motorcycle Ministry (AMM) Brazil, Maranatha Volunteers International projects across the region, and the Federation of Adventist Businesspeople and Professionals in Brazil (FE).
For the first time, these ministries were invited to attend the recent SAD Annual Council in Brasilia. Every one of them presented reports showing the results of the work they carry out in partnership with the Adventist Church organization.
These and other supporting ministries have helped the Adventist Church to reach thousands of people around the world. Even with their varied purposes, each one of them has the ultimate goal of sharing Jesus’ love wherever they go. Whether through church building initiatives, social project sponsorships, or connection with like-minded organizations, their efforts often end in baptisms and life transformation.
Businesspeople for Mission
The oldest ministry is FE (known in the U.S. and other countries as ASi). “In Brazil it was launched 31 years ago,” current FE president Renato Araújo said. “God put in the hearts of some businesspeople a desire to share our message on TV.” It was the humble beginning of what today is the Novo Tempo Communication Network.
After that, they organized better and began to support other initiatives. “Every year, we select various projects with the goal of reaching more people,” Araújo said. According to him, the focus is on funding church building construction initiatives and partnering with other aid and development organizations.
Plans for the next few years include expanding to other South American countries. The organization is already present in southern Chile, and they expect to soon reach other places.
Gospel on Two Wheels
AMM was first launched in the United States when a group of Adventist motorcyclists committed to preaching the gospel by doing what they knew best — riding together. As they connected to other clubs, they saw an opportunity of sharing Jesus. Currently, there are Adventist motorcycle clubs in several countries around the world, including Brazil.
“We created a multi-pronged approach. We began to do outreach, evangelism on wheels, and visitations,” AMM Brazil president José Vieira Júnior said. “Then we began to attend motorcycle events to meet other clubs. People began to understand what we do, and to invite us to participate in some events with a message and a prayer.”
Today, several AMM Brazil clubs have opened across the country, which, in total, have more than 3,000 members. Those clubs have developed initiatives to reach others through Bible studies customized for motorcycle club members. Around 600 people have already participated in Bible studies, and 180 have been baptized.
Infrastructure for Mission
The work of FE, AMM Brazil, and other supporting ministries needs the key support of infrastructure-focused ministries such as Maranatha Volunteers International (MVI). The ministry builds churches, schools, and other facilities in several countries around the world, including Brazil.
According to MVI Brazil director Marcos Pinheiro, since the beginning of the ministry more than 100,000 volunteers have worked in some capacity. Together with volunteers on short-term mission trips, MVI hires local employees who continue working on construction initiatives throughout the year.
Through the contribution of committed donors, volunteers and crews assemble metal structures and even carry out building initiatives to support local communities. Projects have often included water well digging to provide drinking water and water for agriculture, the organization said.
The profile of volunteers is still mostly young and female, according to Pinheiro, but lately, it has evolved to include older volunteers and even church members from other faiths.
After the supporting ministries presentation at SAD Annual Council, SAD president Luis Mário Pinto highlighted the importance of member involvement. “The church is made up of people with multiple gifts. When they come together, they are strengthened by being inserted in a context similar to their reality,” Pinto said. “We understand as a church that we must support these groups, so they may be increasingly motivated to use their talents to reach people for the kingdom of God.”