SAGE Builds Blessings in Brazil

May 10, 2016 | Beverly Riter

"I’ve been praying for a church for four years every morning at 4 o’clock,” declared Otimar da Silva with a radiant smile on her face as she hugged and kissed the SAGE (Seniors in Action for God with Excellence) construction workers who had just erected the frame and installed the roof for a new Adventist church in the town of Moju near Belem, Brazil.

As the only church member, da Silva has been holding Bible studies and church services in her home while praying for a church to worship God. She is confident that she will have 30 church members within a year and 100 members within three years. After SAGE members completed their work, they left a donation so walls and floor may be constructed ahead of evangelistic meetings in two months.

Bete at the Mario Couto Church had been waiting for 14 years to get children’s Sabbath School rooms finished. She told Bob Grady, SAGE leader, that the sanctuary gets painted and refurbished, but “few care about the children’s Sabbath School classrooms.” SAGE helped finish and paint three Sabbath School room walls as well as complete the flooring.

While painting the Santa Clara Church near Benevides, Grady Stephens and other SAGE volunteers noticed the muddy front path and saw that water from torrential downpours of daily pelting rain had seeped under the church doors, rotting them.

In addition to funding the project, SAGE replaced the concrete walkway, directed drainage away from the building and replaced the double doors. When SAGE prayed to dedicate the doors, the request included that the doors will always be open and all who enter will be blessed.

Before leaving Belem, SAGE missionaries visited the local Adventist hospital, a large 2,000-member church, a large school and a natural foods store. Tour guide Schyla explained how she lived right behind the new church in Belem and she had been listening to the music from the church.

On Marajo Island, the SAGE group visited Eva Marie’s ranch, the Boh Jesus Farm, to walk the fields and wetlands to see many birds and animals. The highlight of the 15,000-acre ranch? The church next door. While inside, Al Griffone led the group in singing “The Doxology.” Eva Marie was so touched by the music that tears flowed down her cheeks as hugs were shared.

These are just some of the stories of how the SAGE group’s volunteer work was an answer to prayer and touched the lives of many people.

Elmer Barbosa, Maranatha director for Brazil, thanked SAGE for the work of constructing three churches and painting six other churches during the two-week assignment in February.

“Your example of volunteerism is the most important thing you’re leaving for the people of Brazil,” Barbosa told the SAGE volunteers as he explained that people in Brazil rarely volunteer. His goal is to encourage people there to get involved with volunteering.