40,000 Turn Brazilian Stadium Into a Place to Praise God
40,000 Turn Brazilian Stadium Into a Place to Praise God
Adventists pack a World Cup stadium to celebrate the end of an initiative to share Jesus after soccer matches.
A sports stadium that had recently echoed with the cries of soccer fans turned into a house of worship filled with prayer and song as about 40,000 people celebrated the end of a campaign to share Jesus following the 2014 FIFA World Cup tournament in the Brazilian city of Manaus.
The mainly Adventist crowd packed the 41,000-seat Vivaldo Lima Amazonian Arena to near-capacity on Sabbath, August 16, the first major public event held in the city of 2 million after the conclusion of the World Cup on July 13. Manaus was one of 12 cities to host World Cup games.
“This moment in the arena was the great coronation of the Hope Manaus project, which provided greater visibility of the scope of the work developed by the Seventh-day Adventist Church to society,” said Gilmar Zahn, president of the church’s Northwest Brazil Union.
The gathering, attended by senior local officials, crowned a week of social outreach efforts dubbed “Hope Manaus” that, among other things, saw volunteers distribute thousands of copies of the missionary sharing book The Only Hope.
“There are thousands of people in search of hope, and we need to finish the work that our pioneers began in announcing the good news of the gospel,” Erton Köhler, president of the South American Division (which includes the Northwest Brazil Union), told the crowd as he thanked participating local churches.
Hope Manaus is part of the world church’s Mission to the Cities initiative that aims to share Jesus in the world’s biggest cities.
Ten people were baptized at the end of the meeting, a token of the 350 who were baptized throughout the week.
— Magdiel E. Perez Schulz, executive secretary of the South American Division
Nauru: Church in Works
Adventist leaders plan to start construction of the first Adventist church in Nauru, a tiny South Pacific island nation, by year’s end after acquiring a 99-year land lease as a donation from a church member. “This is something that the members of the Nauruan church have been looking forward to for years,” said Glenn Townend, president of the church’s Trans Pacific Union Mission. “Land in Nauru is very expensive and not easily transferred to others.”
Nauru is the smallest country in the South Pacific, with 9,400 people living on 8 square miles (21 square kilometers) of phosphate rock. The only smaller country in the world by population is Vatican City, with some 850 people. Twenty-five Adventists live in the island, but weekly attendance in the current meeting place, a rented hall, is closer to 40, said Eparama Drou, associate chief financial officer for the Trans Pacific Union Mission.
In May, Nauruan president Baron Waqa signed off on the transfer of a land lease from a local church member, Steve Mwea Amwano, to the Adventist Church. The land was given so a church could be built in Nauru. Townend said Mwea Amwano gave the land because he was grateful for his education at Navasau Adventist High School in Fiji. In exchange for the land, the church agreed to build a two-bedroom house for Mwea Amwano and his family elsewhere on Nauru.
— Andrew McChesney, news editor, Adventist World, with reporting by Trans Pacific Union Mission staff
Colombia: Plans to Share Jesus in Mideast
More than 100 young people from South America will be trained to share Jesus in the Middle East after they signed up to become missionaries at a major conference in Medell?n, Colombia, church leaders said.
The volunteers enrolled in Colombia Adventist University’s school of missions during the Adventist Missions International Congress, which was held at the university in Colombia’s second-largest city and brought together nearly 2,000 young people, students, and professionals from Colombia, Peru, and Argentina.
The congress in August sought to motivate participants to serve in the mission field.
“We wanted to inspire our young people who study different careers that just as they grow academically, they can grow with a commitment and growing passion for the mission of the church,” said Abraham Acosta, president of Colombia Adventist University and the main organizer of the event.
— Inter-American Division
Laos: First Bible Conference Held
A group of Adventists in Laos heard an unprecedented series of seminars on clean versus unclean meat, Sabbathkeeping, and the authority of the Bible from a trio of visiting scholars—and appreciated their country’s first Bible conference so much that they asked for it to be organized every year.
About 60 Bible workers and pastors attended the conference in Laos in late August as the Seventh-day Adventist Church stepped up efforts to share Jesus in a part of the world that was off-limits for decades. Similar Bible conferences also were held in neighboring Vietnam and Cambodia.
Organizers said the event was remarkable because even though most of the attendees were illiterate, with little education, they understood the message as it was presented.
“Furthermore, they enjoyed it so much that they requested more conferences on an annual basis,” one organizer said.
Plans are already under way for another conference next year.
— Andrew McChesney, news editor, Adventist World
Germany: Congress Seeks to Empower Women
More than 700 women from 20 European countries gathered in Germany for a first-ever conference aimed at nurturing their needs and empowering them to assist other women in the Seventh-day Adventist Church and their own communities.
The four-day Inter-European Division Women’s Congress, which ended September 9 in the German city of Schw?bisch Gm?nd, included plenary presentations and 17 workshops and a flash mob against violence.
Conference organizer Denise Hochstrasser also underscored the need for women to play an active role in their communities.
“Men and women need each other,” said Hochstrasser, a Swiss native who heads the Women’s Ministries Department for the Inter-European Division.
Hochstrasser knows firsthand: After studying business at Newbold College in preparation to become a pastor’s wife, she ended up devoting more than 25 years to Adventist women’s needs after the premature death of her husband.
— Inter-European Division staff and Adventist World staff