Brazilian businessman Robel Gonçalves wanted to subscribe to Sky cable television to watch soccer games.His wife, lawyer Gleyscler Belussi, resisted, afraid that the programs on other channels would have a bad influence on their children.
After much discussion the couple in Comodoro, a city near the border with Bolivia in western Brazil, agreed to subscribe to a cable television package that unbeknownst to them included the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s Portuguese channel, Novo Tempo.
The decision would change their lives, the couple said as they were baptized last weekend in the capital, Brasilia, during celebrations of the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Adventist Church’s South America. Their story was among the highlights of the division’s quinquennial council to elect local leaders and consider mission plans for the next five years.
Belussi was flipping through the channels on the new cable television package when she stopped briefly on 14, Novo Tempo’s channel. She was not impressed.
“The program that was being broadcast was called ‘Anjos de Esperança’ [Angels of Hope],” she said. “I thought it was just one more church asking for money, and soon I changed to another channel.”
Belussi had attended a Christian church for 30 years, but she had lost interest over time. She said no one in church had nurtured her spiritual growth.
But she couldn’t get Novo Tempo out of her mind. She knew the channels from many other denominations but had never seen that channel before. She decided to take another look. When she turned on the channel, she saw another program, “Arena do Futuro” (Arena of the Future), hosted by pastor Luís Gonçalves.
“I saw that the topic was prophecy, but was disappointed to learn that it was from the Seventh-day Adventist Church,” she said.
Belussi had grown up believing that the Adventist Church was a cult. But the content of the program impressed her.
So she began watching the channel and learning more about the Bible. She remembered that a long-time friend, teacher Ivonete Piovezan, was a Seventh-day Adventist who gave Bible studies.
“She looked me up and said that she wanted me to teach her,” said Piovezan, who had started offering Bible studies to friends 18 months earlier.
Belussi’s husband later joined her in studying the Bible. The couple was baptized on the afternoon of Sabbath, Nov. 7, as Piovezan joined more than 120 church administrators from the eight countries of the South American Division in witnessing the event.