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Church member Mateus Castanho posing with police officers in Brasilia, Brazil, after giving them 50 books. (SAD)

Adventists Distributing 20 Million Ellen White Books in South America

A juggler in Paraguay and 50 police officers in Brazil are among the recipients.

By Felipe Lemos, South American Division

A juggler in Paraguay and 50 police officers in Brazil’s capital are among the millions of new owners of the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s missionary book of the year as church members share their faith in South America.

About 2.5 million church members hit the streets on May 27 to distribute millions of free copies of the book “Searching for Hope” (Em Busca de Esperança), an adaptation of “The Story of Redemption” by Adventist Church cofounder Ellen G. White.

In all, 20 million copies of the book are to be distributed across South America in the next few months as part of Impact Hope, an annual outreach program by the Adventist Church’s South American Division. South America is expected to account for half of the 40 million books that are to be distributed worldwide in 2017.

Division president Erton Köhler praised the small book with an orange life preserver on the cover, saying people are more likely to keep and read a book than a glossy magazine, which is what church members initially distributed when the missionary program started 10 years ago.

“People rarely throw the book away,” he said. “Giving a book shows that the church cares enough to offer something of quality.”

He said church members also prefer to witness with books because they get a more positive response from recipients.

The book is also promoted visa social media and available online as an e-book.

Mateus Castanho, a member of the Central Brasília Seventh-day Adventist Church in Brazil’s capital, thought he would only help a youth team distribute books in the city’s biggest park on May 27. But later in the afternoon he and a friend started visiting with police officers at the Brazilian federal government’s headquarters nearby. The officers expressed exhaustion and discouragement after political protests outside the building two days earlier.

“I went away, bought something to eat, and took it to them,” Castanho said. “I also gave them 50 missionary books.”

Several police officers started to read the book on the spot, and some even asked to take a picture with Castanho and his friend.

In Paraguay, accountant Jordão do Vale, 26, handed a book to a Colombian man named Didier who was juggling balls at a stoplight in the city of Asunción. The juggler immediately said that he needed a pair of sneakers.

“I don’t have any shoes with me, but if I will get you a pair if you wait here,” do Vale said.

Didier promised to wait, although he later said he hadn’t believed that the Adventist would return.

When do Vale finished handing out his books, he went home and returned with the sneaker. Didier couldn’t hold back the tears. When invited to visit the Adventist church, he said he would go with great pleasure. He showed up at prayer meeting last Wednesday and joined do Vale’s Bible study group.

In all, about 40 million copies of “Searching for Hope” in 40 languages are expected to be distributed worldwide in 2017, said Almir Marroni, director for the publishing ministries department of the Adventist world church.

He estimated that 400 million missionary books have been distributed over the past decade, including 170 million in South America.


Dayane Fagundes contributed to this report.