February 21, 2022

He Was Hired to Help Build a School. He Was the First One Baptized There.

In Brazil, a mason shares how God used a construction project to draw him to Christ.

Larissa Astéria, South American Division, and Adventist Review

The construction of Alagoinhas Adventist School in Bahia, Brazil, has become an evangelistic opportunity for sharing Jesus and inviting people to follow Him. The positive environment and the uplifting influence of his co-workers played a significant role in Juclei Araújo’s decision to give his life to Christ at the job site. Thirty-seven, or 50 percent, of the 74 employees at the construction site are currently studying the Bible, local leaders said. And Araújo, the assistant mason, was the first to be baptized at the educational facilities.

Araújo first learned about the Seventh-day Adventist Church through his girlfriend, Janeila Muniz, who is now his wife. At the time, they even attended church together occasionally. Araújo, however, influenced her to live a different kind of life, and Muniz grew distant from her faith. Living together, the couple nevertheless felt uncomfortable living far from God.

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Local pastor Reginaldo Barros speaks to the construction crew as he embraces young evangelist Max Felipe, who is studying the Bible with many of the workers. [Photo: South American Division News]

One day, Muniz made the decision to return to Jesus and the church. Araújo, however, kept postponing his decision. He thought it would be best to request baptism only when he felt he was free from every sin and bad habit. “As time went by, I found out that I was expecting something impossible,” Araújo said.

Alone, Araújo talked to God and asked for His help. But instead of decreasing, his struggles increased. And it was seemingly impossible for him to find a job that didn’t require him to work on Saturdays, the biblical day of rest.

Eventually he was offered a position working on the construction of the Alagoinhas Adventist School. Without giving it too much thought, he accepted the new opportunity. Now he wouldn’t have to work on Saturdays. “I began to attend church again, and I clearly felt that God was calling me,” Araújo said.

To his surprise, Araújo discovered that daily services, which included praises and spiritual messages, were held before the beginning of each workday. Then two young members of the Caleb Mission volunteer team arrived in January, offering to study the Bible with the workers. One of those studies touched Araújo’s heart deeply.

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Workers study the Bible before the start of each work day. [Photo: South American Division News]

At his baptismal ceremony, Araújo became the first fruit of the construction project.

“I feel so happy that I was baptized here at the school,” Araújo said. “I am the first of many. God keeps working on the hearts of several of my co-workers, and they will also eventually respond. This construction project changed my life, because it is the place where I accepted Jesus.”

For local pastor Reginaldo Barros, the baptismal ceremony filled his heart with joy. “More than building walls, we are building people’s lives, in the sense that they need to have a life experience with Jesus,” Barros said. “Juclei’s baptism shows us that God has already begun to perform great miracles through this building, and I am sure He will do much more.”

According to Barros, they have always understood the project to be more than an educational enterprise. “Adventist education goes far beyond teaching: it saves, transforms, and leads many students, parents, teachers, and even masons to the Kingdom of God,” he said.

The original version of this story was posted on the South American Division Portuguese-language news site.

Larissa Astéria, South American Division, and Adventist Review
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