Social and evangelistic initiatives plant new churches and lead 312 people to baptism.
Downstream on the waters of the Madeira River, a tributary of the Amazon River in Brazil, the Seventh-day Adventist “Floating Church” carried out hundreds of evangelistic and social actions in eight coastal communities during 2021, leaders reported. The Adventist-led outreach has reached far-off communities such as Caiçara, Canumã, and Abacaxis, in Borba and Novo Aripuanã, in the Brazilian State of Amazonas.
The activities began in March, when the boat left the hub city of Manaus and headed toward the municipality of Borba, about 90 miles (145 kilometers) upstream from the capital city of the State of Amazonas. The boat reached the community of Caiçara, with 270 inhabitants.
The small village has only one school. When students finish elementary school, they have to go to Borba to attend high school. Some never attend high school. Reflecting on the needs of the young people, Floating Church leaders offered vocational courses to these communities. Offers included courses in basic computing, healthful cooking, body image and personal grooming, and guitar and voice techniques to encourage the residents’ continuous development.
For coordinators, leaders explained that it is a way to bring opportunities, especially to young people. “They end up being lazy because they don’t have leisure or study options in that small village,” pastor Herbert Frank Souza said. “It is the reason they make the most of anything we offer them.”
The Floating Church team’s work usually starts with health-promoting actions, including health education courses and distribution of healthful-food baskets. In 2021, the Floating Church teams performed more than 600 medical, dental, and psychological initiatives of social care, leaders reported.
Planting Adventist congregations and helping build new churches usually mark the conclusion of the Floating Church’s work in the community.
Floating Church evangelism team, in a group photo with people who have been prepared for baptism [Photo: South American Division News]
Celebration of baptisms after Abacaxis evangelism in Novo Aripuanã [Photo: South American Division News]
A brand-new church building followed the planting of an Adventist congregation in the Canumã community in Borba, Amazonas, Brazil. [Photo: South American Division News]
Leaders added that in 2021, the Floating Church also enlisted the help of volunteers from the One Year in Mission (OYiM) program. The young people who committed one year of their lives to support Adventist mission coordinated church leadership training activities. They also helped with Sabbath School and small-group initiatives.
Those involved with the OYiM projects, which include a new challenge each year, celebrated 2021 as a year of overcoming, Souza acknowledged. “We went through a difficult year, in which everything was uncertain, but God led every step we took,” he said. “Our goal was to plant three new churches, and with the Lord’s hands guiding us, we succeeded.”
The mission teams helped coordinate the construction of new church buildings in the communities of Caiçara, Canumã, and Abacaxis. Those buildings, which have a modern layout, are ready to receive church members, who have already been meeting in groups.
Together with the social actions, leaders reported that the Floating Church reach had a definite evangelistic impact in the region. “Hundreds of Bible studies were given to people living in small communities along the coast,” Floating Church leaders reported. “The evangelistic initiatives that accompanied social action initiatives resulted in 312 baptisms.”