Salvador, Brazil, is known for its vibrant culture, architectural wonders, and beautiful beaches. With a population of some three million people, it’s the fourth largest city in the nation.

Although the Adventist Church has experienced significant growth in Salvador, there are still unentered areas in this city. Global Mission is working to establish new groups of believers in areas where there is no Adventist presence, such as Josenildo’s neighborhood.

Josenildo was known as a drunk whose bad habits disrupted his family life and the whole community.

1 Since Josenildo met Jesus, he smiles a lot!
2 Arivaldo, right, and Josenildo studying the Bible.
3 Josenildo and his neighbors meeting in his home on a Friday evening for fellowship and Bible study.
4 Josenildo worshiping with his new church family.
5 Josenildo praying with his neighbor about his concerns.

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Arivaldo, an Adventist, lived nearby, and he encountered Josenildo on his way to work. He knew Josenildo was looking for a job, so he offered him a position building churches with his construction company.

It didn’t take long for the two men to become friends. Arivaldo treated Josenildo with respect, which made Josenildo wonder why he was always so kind. Over time, Arivaldo asked Josenildo whether he was interested in Bible studies, and the two began reading the Bible together.

“Before I met Jesus, I didn’t have happiness,” Josenildo says. “But when I came to know Christ, my life was transformed.”

Josenildo was baptized, and he changed for the better. His family was so inspired by his transformation that they, too, gave their hearts to Jesus. Even the neighbors noticed the difference. When the usual loud music from his home stopped one day, everyone wondered whether he was OK. When they checked on him, they saw that Josenildo was a changed man. He spoke kindly to them and treated them respectfully, and they wanted to know what had inspired these changes in his life.

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Josenildo used this opportunity to minister to his neighbors. Every Friday night, they gathered in his living room to talk about their week. They shared their concerns, requests for prayer, and praises. Josenildo pointed them to the Bible, showing them a Creator who cared deeply about them. For the children, Josenildo’s daughter lead an activity in the hallway.

This group has grown close, and as a result, 10 people have already been baptized, and more are studying for baptism!

Small groups like this one are the core of church planting in Salvador. Small groups of new believers develop into congregations, and these congregations divide into more small groups that spread throughout the city.

Five years ago, church leaders in Salvador’s state had an ambitious goal of building 1,000 churches in five years. They reached their goal, and every building represents an ever-growing congregation of believers who, like Josenildo, have been changed by Jesus.

“Jesus is good,” says Josenildo. “He transforms lives. And just as He transformed my life, He can transform anyone’s life.”

No matter the struggles someone may face, Jesus has the power to transform that person’s life. And more lives are impacted as churches are planted throughout the world. Thank you for helping us change lives by supporting church planting through Global Mission!

Ricky Oliveras Office of Adventist Mission