Helping people meet Jesus goes beyond an invitation to go to Sabbath morning worship services. It is necessary to bring our neighbors to a deep knowledge of the Word of God, so they may have the freedom that comes from the divine promises. For this reason, the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Brazil developed the Mana Project. Its characteristic name takes us to the biblical story of the bread that God sent from Heaven to feed His people. Adventists understand the study of the Sabbath School Lesson should be prioritized as a daily spiritual food which is sent by God to draw us closer to Him.
Someone who understands the importance of this project is Lindalva Pereira, 47 years old. She is a director for one of the Adventist churches of the Northern district of Vila Nova, in São Luís, Maranhão state. Everyone who enters her church notices her at the back, seated at a small table in the church’s reception. Her goal: to take the Word of God to the largest possible number of people. “I heard that the Conference will donate a church for the district that signs up the most people for the Mana Project, and we have waited a really long time for a temple where we can worship.”
“This year, in the Caleb Mission Project (a project of young people who dedicate their school holidays to the mission of preaching the Gospel through social actions), we brought several people to baptism, and now we are leading a group that needs a church building to go to because our district church is too far from here,” Lindalva explained.
“It was then that our district pastor, Wellington, called me and told me he had a challenge for me. I took it, and every Wednesday and Sunday, I put a table at the church’s front door and begin to promote the subscriptions to the Mana Project. If someone cannot go to church, I call them or go to their home,” said Lindalva, who has already gotten 165 subscriptions. “With God’s help, I intend to get more enrollments by the end of September and thus gain our long dreamed-of church.”
In this same spirit, a great movement to foster the study of the Sabbath School Lesson was carried out on Sabbath August 31, in São Luís, Maranhão. The Sabbath School Congress gathered almost 1,100 people, including directors, secretaries and department elders, at the Recreational and Training Center of the Adventist Church in the region. The main goal, besides improving every Sabbath School Unit, was to motivate people to participate in Mana Project and to organize the project at their churches.
The program was honored by the presence of the director of Sabbath School Ministries for the Adventist Church in South America, Edison Choque. He delivered two seminars on the importance of having daily spiritual food. Ivanildo Cavalcante, Sabbath School leader for the Adventist headquarters in Pará, Amapá and Maranhão, was also present and encouraged everyone to get involved in the Mana Project. “In this project I found the marks of the commitment of the members to accomplish the Great Commission by means of Sabbath School,” said Ivanildo.
This Congress was a premiere of a greater movement that would take place on the following day. Hundreds of people were involved in the challenge of this Mana Effort, on Sunday, September 1st. During a whole day, Adventist churches in Maranhão organized special places to receive those who had signed up for the Lessons. In some of these places, lunch was offered. In others, the Pathfinder Club was invited to help with the enrollments. In this way, every congregation played its part in fostering the study of the Word. As a result, 5,847 subscriptions were made.