Victor Kubik talks with Jorge de Campos about his recent trip to Brazil to visit church members.
[Victor Kubik] This is Victor Kubik, President of the United Church of God. Our guest today is Jorge de Campos, who is senior pastor of God's work in the Portuguese language. He is one who translates literature, pastor's congregations, and really has a lot to do with one of the most spoken languages on the face of the earth. Good morning, Jorge.
[Jorge de Campos] Good morning, Mr. Kubik.
[Victor] It's good to have you here with us today to talk about two exciting areas that you are involved in. One is in Brazil, which is a huge country, the largest country in South America, which is Portuguese-speaking. And the other, you'll be speaking about to us at a later time, is Angola where is also Portuguese-speaking in Africa. So we are looking forward to hearing from you today.
[Jorge] Thank you, sir.
[Victor] Tell us about your recent trip to Brazil. You went there as you do on a regular basis, at least twice a year or so, but tell us about this year's trip which was in April of 2016.
[Jorge] I went there for Passover. We kept the Passover itself as well as the first day of Unleavened Bread. That was in the northern part of Brazil, visiting brethren, and then after that, I went to the southern part of Brazil. I visited prospects as well as some other brethren, and we traveled by car with one of the members in Brazil as well.
[Victor] One thing that I'm always enthralled about as to where you work in Brazil is that it's really off the beaten path. It's really in a remote area. Can you tell us where it is? And how you get there?
[Jorge] It is in the northern, kind of the farthest northern part of Brazil. It actually is in the Northern Hemisphere, even though 99% of Brazil is in the Southern Hemisphere. It's bordering English Guyana and Venezuela, and it's a travel, an Indian travel area. And these people came in contact with the church many years ago, the original ones, through the English Guyana parts. And some of them immigrated to Brazil because Brazil has better conditions for travel people, and that's basically where it is, and we've got there about 40 people.
[Victor] Well, it's interesting when you tell us about how you get there because you have to take several flights, and it's quite complicated. You go, first of all to Manaus, which is a city on the Amazon river. Tell us then what you do after you get to Manaus?
[Jorge] Manaus is in the center of the Amazon. It's actually over two million people city. It's a huge city, and from there, then we take a very short flight, about an hour, to Boa Vista. And then from Boa Vista, then we hire a car. I usually have a company, a very small private hiring company, which I get a very good deal. And then I hire a car, and I go into the village. The roads are a little rough, but they in some areas are a lot better now. But yeah, it is a remote area and the brethren there only had electricity for a few years. They don't have any way of, in the village to phone, or internet, or anything like that. So they gotta go into town, which is quite expensive for them.
[Victor] You told us about these people that became Christians some time ago, and we are now connected with them. Tell us how they came to understand the teachings that we do and a little bit about their background.
[Jorge] They came to understand through the Plain Truth many years ago in English, and they were in English Guyana. And two or three of them, they are called them the patriarchs, they immigrated to Brazil. And since then, they developed and grown family. So they're all mostly inter-related, although, you know, there's been a few others that have come along as well. So that's their background.
[Victor] That's wonderful. Can you tell us some of what we have done in that area, not only from the standpoint of church and going there to visit with them and conduct the Passover and church services, but what other things that we have done with them? I'm referring to humanitarian projects.
[Jorge] Right. Correct. I understand. We did a well through LifeNets. That well is really a blessing, a tremendous blessing, for them because they've had over the last three years a huge drought, a very strong drought. And even some of the villagers came there, to them, to the brethren, to ask for water.
In addition to that, we did a cultural project, which has gone very well. They've been planting, and obviously, there were like everything, there are teething problems. But with coaching, they're now finally cultivating. They're planting. In fact, at this moment, they're planting some more fruit trees in there. They've got the water from the well, and now they're even starting to sell some of the vegetables. So it helps them to have a more balanced diet because their diet was very much tapioca-based, which is a mandioca type root. And we are trying to encourage them to have more vegetables, a healthier diet, and they're starting to take on. Initially, there was a lot "I don't like vegetables," but they can see the benefit of it, and they're taking on. And I'm very pleased that, in the end, it'll be for their own good and for their own health.
[Victor] Well, it's nice to have this more background information. I was aware of the borehole well that you have there, and the growing of vegetables. We have actually some very, very fine photos of this on our LifeNet's website, if you go to lifenets.org/brazil, we have several stories about things that we have done there.
[Jorge] Right. We've done also a big cattle project there. LifeNet's donated about 10 heads. They currently have 26 and there's a few calves due to be born as well. And some of the projects we need to get involved now is put some bit of fencing there and things like that, but they're going well. The intent is to multiply that...allow through God's blessing, that the cattle to multiply. And when the number is higher, they intend to maybe sell a few of the heads, and maybe buy a tractor that will help them in there.
[Victor] We've been so happy about the fact that that's been a big success. Can you tell us what other people have come with you for agricultural projects or for camps, maybe comment about that, Jorge?
[Jorge] Right. We had a youth camp, late last year in December. The United Youth Corps Camp was the first camp that we did, so we... Youth Corps, we went there with a few people. It was a total of about seven. We're gonna do that camp again this coming year in December God willing. Kathy and I, my wife and I are going there this year again for the Feast. Regrettably, we have not had any visitors. I call it a serving Feast, not a tourist Feast. And I think that's what many of us, we should be concentrating and doing that occasionally. So it is good for some of the brethren that can afford to go overseas. I don't mean to Brazil, but there are other Feast sites which have needs, either in Africa or in far East Asia. And it is a good opportunity for brethren to learn to serve, and to serve at the Feast. So I do encourage that for brethren to do that.
[Victor] Well, hopefully, by your talking about this, that someone listening to this podcast can past the word onto others because we would like to have people come to an opportunity for service, to do something for someone rather than going to a place just to enjoy the physical benefits.
[Jorge] Correct. Well, it's what it is. It's a pilgrim's Feast, but it is a serving Feast. And these people really enjoy seeing people from overseas and benefit. They watch like the young people went there for the youth camp, they told me, "They were just looking at us. 'Oh, that's how you actually do it. That's how you actually live it.'" And they benefited greatly by the example of others, which is not the minister. Because you know, the minister is kind of one thing, but when they see peers, people living the way, that is so instructive to them.
[Victor] Right. Well, I know we have a testimonial. One of the articles on our Brazil page of the LifeNets website is a story from those who went there for the agricultural project, and they just talked about how much they really benefited themselves by being with those people, by working with them and helping out.
[Jorge] That is all true. I tell these people in Brazil or Angola, they say, "Oh we learned so much from you," and I say, "Yes, I'm sure you did. But you know what? I've learned more from you." And it's so true.
[Victor] I've found that to be so true in other places that I've visited overseas. That I learned a lot from the people that I was supposed to be going over to teach. I know, Jorge, you are very modest in what you say. But, Jorge, I wanted to let everyone know, is one of the hardest working people I know. He has translated...how many booklets now, 35?
[Jorge] The church has a total of 35 booklets. We have 33 booklets translated, and I'm nearly finished with the 34th, which is our largest booklet, which is the New Covenant. So I'm nearly finished with that. So we'll soon have that one as well.
[Victor] And so we have a lot of material going out, the Portuguese language is a very major method of communication of the Gospel in the world. Well, you've done a wonderful job, as an instrument of Jesus Christ, in not only creating or translating the literature but also the follow-up and starting congregations. You mentioned about starting a congregation of services in central Brazil. Can you tell us more about that?
[Jorge] Uberlandia, Patos de Minas, Giovanni and his wife live in Patos. There was somebody interested in Uberlandia, which is like two hours away. So what I suggested they do is like once a month Giovanni and his wife, and daughter, travel to Uberlandia to visit this lady and son, which is also very interested. The son is only about 16 years old but is actually interested. So it's exciting to see the young people interested in God's work. And then once a month, she and her son can travel to Patos de Minas, two-hour drive, to actually fellowship as well.
And then this other lady that we visited, which is about three and a half hours further south, she also then travels. Obviously, she does not have means to travel, so she takes public transport, the bus. And the very first Sabbath, she actually caught the bus at 1:30 in the morning, Saturday morning. That's early in the morning. She got to the bus station in Uberlandia at about 7:30 in the morning. Giovanni and his wife then had driven from Patos to Uberlandia to pick her up. They then met with the other lady and son and her family for a number of hours. They listened to a DVD of mine with a sermon and then ran about 5:00. So they went back to the bus station. They took her, and then she took a bus getting home somewhere nearly like midnight.
So that is the desire and intensity of wanting to fellowship on the Sabbath. What I did say and I suggest is look, "I'm a little concerned about being a lady, taking a bus at this hours. I would suggest if we can that she would maybe do that maybe on the Friday during daytime because she's unemployed and then go back on a Sunday." And they, therefore, implemented that.
[Victor] Oh, that's very, very interesting, Jorge. So when are you taking your next trip to Brazil?
[Jorge] Well, God willing, it will be for the Feast. And then the next one will be the Youth Corps in December, the youth camp, yeah.
[Victor] Good. We'll be looking forward to photos, and reports, and everything else. We really enjoyed seeing the pictures and the fruits of the labors.
[Jorge] That is such a blessing and please keep praying, brethren. Please keep praying that God would protect these people because Brazil is a country with a lot of influence of the wrong spirit, really wrong spirit. And the society is very, very corrupt, so please pray for them.
[Victor] Okay. And that's our job is to proclaim the kingdom of God...
[Victor] ...that is a whole entirely different society. Thank you for joining us on "Inside United." Please come back again soon for more.
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