Across the South American Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the Caleb Mission is known for mobilizing young people during the holidays to carry out outreach and missionary activities in the community. Age did not prevent Nilza Rodrigues from getting involved in one of the recent projects in northern Brazil, however. At 102, Rodrigues decided to be part of the initiative by getting involved in the ministry of intercessory prayer.
Despite her age, Rodrigues said, she wanted to help in some way. And she made her decision after attending and witnessing a “Caleb Mission Celebration” in Ceará, one of Brazil’s northern states.
“When I saw those young people going up front [to accept a missionary challenge], I felt it was the most beautiful thing. So I called the pastor, asked for a T-shirt, and told him, “I also want to be part of Caleb Mission!” she said.
Rodrigues then became part of a team of Caleb Mission volunteers who held evangelistic meetings and visited those who are already studying the Bible for a period of 18 days. As she felt she couldn’t go around with the group to be part of the activities, she spent her time in intercessory prayer for those who had shown interest in knowing more about God’s truth in the Bible.
José Aurinelson, Rodrigues’s eldest son, said that his mother has always been involved in the activities and initiatives of her local church. “These days she is a little weaker than before, but even then, she said she wanted to participate,” Aurinelson explained. “She is an inspiration to me and to those who somehow feel they cannot or do not want to help,” Aurinelson said, adding that he has learned that no matter how old you are, there is always a possibility of doing something for God as long as we live.
Rodrigues’s experience with the Caleb Mission has inspired many people across the state. At the end of the project, church leaders honored her commitment through a special ceremony where she received a plaque for her volunteer prayer service.
Marcos Militão, president of the Adventist Church in Ceará, led the special moment of acknowledgement and gratitude.
“[Rodrigues’s service] proves that there is no age limit to do something for God, to go seek other people and bring them to the kingdom, and to intercede for others,” Militão said. “Even at 102, she is seeking to be useful to people around her and to her church. Her performance is an example that invites all of us to do something for God as long as we are able to.”
The community project in Ceará closed with four baptisms and a promise: “Next year, I will participate again,” Rodrigues said.