No. 1. Temuco Evangelistic Campaign-172 Converts
"Behold the beauty of the Lord" says the psalmist. We can say that we have witnessed this, for God has blessed us during the evangelistic campaign conducted by Pastor Salim Japas, evangelist of the Austral Union, in the city of Temuco, in the South Chile Conference.
1,200 a Night
The people were attracted to these meetings through the customary publicity, and, in addition, a survey was conducted that reached at least 7,000 people. The average attendance at the meetings was 1,200 each night. From the beginning, there were five meetings a week, each of which was given twice.
We thought the attendance would drop when the Bible classes began, but fortunately it remained practically the same. We had 1,163 students enrolled who received their Bibles at the end of the series of classes. Only 160 of these were Adventists.
The students seemed to have a deep desire to know the truth from God's Word—the fountain of divine revelation.
More than seven hundred people attended the first meeting of the evening. It was thrilling to see them raise their Bibles in a happy greeting. As they turned the pages, looking for the texts, the sound was like music to our ears.
The impact of these meetings reached a wide circle. We heard many favorable comments regarding the presentation of our program and the contribution of the Adventist Church to the city of Temuco. On the other hand, certain religious organizations began to attack us in an organized and systematic way. From some pulpits Pastor Japas was denounced as the antichrist. They said: "The antichrist has come to this city, and he drives a small red car."
At the first baptism, twenty-eight persons were united to the church. On this occasion, 162 responded to the altar call.
At the second baptism, twenty-one joined the church and ninety indicated their desire to be baptized in the coming weeks. The workers and members were impressed to see that representatives from some of the best families in Temuco decided to unite with the people of God. It was evident that with this campaign we were reaching the middle class, and the prospects are very encouraging. Up to the present, we have baptized a total of 172. This was an accelerated summer effort and it gave good results.
All the members of the Temuco church as well as the administrators of the South Chile Conference and the other workers in the office, gave their enthusiastic support. Eight workers joined forces with Pastor Japas as his immediate colaborers and they have demonstrated a true love for souls as they struggled to cope with the avalanche of work.
It would not be an exaggeration to say that this evangelistic campaign marks the beginning of a new age in the history of our conference. The technique used—in the publicity as well as the Bible class—opened doors of great possibilities. We thank God for this, and also the multitude of lay members and leaders who have been thinking about us and praying for us.
RODINSON VALLE JOS, Minister South Chile Conference, Temuco
No. 2. Crusade in La Plata-100 Converts
La Plata is a modern city of 350,000 in habitants. It is the capital of the province of Buenos Aires, Argentina, and is famous for its university.
The Adventist church has existed in this city for forty-five years. The church building had deteriorated through the years, and to make necessary improvements, the local members donated 500,000 pesos (approximately $3,500) to finance the work.
First Time in History
The evangelistic campaign had interesting characteristics. For the first time in the history of Argentina, Adventist lectures were given twice to accommodate the crowds that desired to listen. We had planned to hold meetings for two weeks, but the interest was so great that they were continued for three months. During this time, every Saturday and Sunday night the message was delivered twice. The evangelistic team visited more than six hundred people who had left their names, indicating they would like to have a call from a Christian worker.
After this, a Bible class of thirty lessons was begun. We gave a Bible as a gift to all who attended twenty-five of these classes. It was thrilling to see the interest of the people as they followed the lessons, eagerly looking up the texts in their Bibles. At the end of the course, 206 people received Bibles.
In the first four months of the campaign, a number of baptismal services were held in which forty were added to the church. In December, 1963, the goal of sixty was reached. In the first days of 1964, the number baptized reached one hundred.
Pastor Rasi's Funeral Wins a Soul
Among those baptized there are three citizens of Cabo Verde, a Portuguese possession in Africa, also a number of university students. In the last baptism, a retired schoolteacher who lives across the street from the church, joined the church. She attended the funeral of Pastor Mario Rasi and since then she has never missed a meeting. On Sabbath there are so many members and interested people present for the services that the brethren have been thinking of organizing a new church in this city. —CARLOS E. AESCHLIMANN Evangelist, Buenos Aires Conference
No. 3. Crusade in Sao Paulo-231 Converts
Sao Paulo is an industrial center of rapid development, which has more than 4 million inhabitants. There are more than 70 churches and groups of Adventists in Greater sao Paulo, a total of ten thousand members.
Plan, Execution, and Result of the Series of Meetings
First of all, thousands of small handbills, giving the time and station of the Voice of Prophecy and Faith for Today programs, were distributed, and the members were encouraged to send them out also. Two Sabbaths later, a group of thirty church members and three Bible instructors visited the homes inviting the people to enroll in the Bible correspondence schools offered by the radio and television programs. In a few weeks they secured five hundred enrollments. For three months the church members and workers not only called to pick up the lessons but also helped the people to fill in the lesson blanks.
After these three months the public meetings were begun by the radio-television department secretary of the Sao Paulo Conference, who was also the speaker on the television program, Faith for Today—Pastor Alcides Campolongo.
One week before the first meeting, the speaker sent a special invitation card to the students who had been visited weekly by the radio group. They were invitations to lectures being sponsored by the Voice of Prophecy and Faith for Today programs. From the first meeting the hall was filled.
When the subject of temperance and health was presented, the people were invited to attend cooking classes held on Thursday evenings before the meeting. These were directed by the wife of the speaker, and on Sunday afternoons, for two months, an Adventist physician, Dr. Ajax Silveira, spoke on the problem of alcoholism and smoking. The results were encouraging. A child evangelism program was conducted also by Mrs. Campolongo every Sunday.
When the speaker gave the message on the second coming of Christ, he used the familiar theme song of the Voice of Prophecy program and illustrated it with attractive slides. In this way the listeners could easily identify the lectures with the radio and television programs they had heard in their homes and also with the lessons they had studied each week.
After three months of meetings, the workers and laymen were glad to see 350 new people attending the Sabbath morning services for the first time in the Seventh-day Adventist church. I witnessed the scene. The church in Pinheiros received its just reward. It was filled with joy and new believers!
The third Sabbath the newly interested people attended a Seventh-day Adventist church. A young woman was baptized in the church baptistry and after the service, when Pastor Campolongo asked how many would like to be baptized as she had been, more than two hundred people rose and came forward.
In the largest baptism in our history 231 persons received the rite at which five pastors officiated in the Central church, the largest in Sao Paulo. It should be mentioned that a retired pastor gladly financed the evangelistic meetings with more than one and a half million cruzeiros. He had the satisfaction of being one of the pastors baptizing the people. The 231 came from different churches: 146 from the Roman Catholic Church, 12 from the Presbyterian, 12 had no previous church affiliation, 10 from the Spiritualist organization, 11 from the Baptist, 10 from the Pentecostal, 4 from the Methodist, 2 from the Mormon, 2 from the Congregacao Crista do Brasil (a Pentecostal group), 1 from the Greek Orthodox, 1 Israelite, and 20 children of Adventist parents. Pastor Campolongo expects to baptize many more people in coming baptismal services.
Last-Minute News: Pastor Campolongo has just held a second baptism in which 49 were added to the church, making a total of 280 thus far. He expects to baptize 100 more.
From 150 to 380
The church is continuing with its dynamic missionary work. I had the pleasure of attending this church for the impressive celebration of the Lord's Supper the Sabbath after the baptism and heard the deacons say, "We have never had so many." The church that had had a membership of 150 now has more than 380.
The servant of the Lord says: "Hundreds and thousands were seen visiting families, and opening before them the word of God. Hearts were convicted by the power of the Holy Spirit, and a spirit of genuine conversion was manifest. On every side doors were thrown open to the proclamation of the truth. The world seemed to be lightened with the heavenly influence. Great blessings were received by the true and humble people of God. I heard voices of thanksgiving and praise, and there seemed to be a reformation such as we witnessed in 1844." —Testimonies for, the Church, vol. 9, p. 126. ROBERTO R. AZEVEDO Departmental Secretary South Brazil Union