Meet Vinícius Metzker, a Seventh-day Adventist pastor in Brazil who shares God’s love with his community through a surfing ministry.
Surfing is huge in Brazil, and so is Metzker’s commitment to reaching surfers for Jesus. Several times a week he goes to the beach to teach free classes, to mingle with people, and to give them an unusual gift — a waterproof Bible.
So many people have requested lessons with Metzker that he can’t accommodate them all. But for the hundreds of people he teaches, the experience has often been life changing.
Before heading out to the breakers, each class always stops for a short worship and prayer together.
“When I meet with a group for the first time, I talk with them about the things they’re most familiar with — in this case, the sea,” Metzker said. “I tell them that God made the waves, and when they see that He had them in mind when He created the world, it begins to make sense to them that they’re part of His creation too. It becomes easier for them to accept that God made us and loves us.”
After the lesson, Metzker paddled up to some of his students.
“Check this out!” he invited, dunking a small book in the water. “It’s a waterproof Bible!”
“Seriously?” one guy asked. “That’s awesome. Let me see it!”
“It’s yours to keep,” Metzker told him. “And I have plenty more if the rest of you want one.”
The students responded warmly to Metzker, whom they affectionately called “Pastor Vini.”
When Metzker is not in the water, he is busy walking the beach near São José dos Campos, Brazil, catching up with friends and making new ones. He said it is really important to him to show people that God is a true friend.
“In order to communicate His love to people’s hearts, I need to be that kind of friend myself,” he said. “I can’t just talk about it. I have to live it.”
Metzker’s actions brought to mind a comment that Adventist Church cofounder Ellen G. White wrote about Jesus’ method of ministry. She said: “The Saviour mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then He bade them, ‘Follow Me’” (Ministry of Healing, p. 143).
Metzker is following Jesus’ example, and he said the results are amazing.
“I have so many beautiful stories of people who have come to know and love Jesus,” he said. “People who may not have been reached for Him any other way. Here at the beach they begin to discover Jesus in nature. And in time, they tell me, ‘I want to learn more. Please tell me more about this God!’ Then we study together in their homes. They come to church, where they participate in worship and prayer and begin to have a real connection with God. Many of them have given their hearts to Jesus and been baptized.”
Indeed, Metzker’s love for Jesus propels him to reach out in love to others — just like a wave moves a surf board.
Catch a wave with pastor Vinicius "Vini" Metzker in Brazil. (Adventist Mission)
Earley Simon is a video and TV producer for Adventist Mission at the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.