Imagine a major national television network that features a prime-time gospel presentation every week. Unbelievable? Nope. It’s happening in South America.
Gente que Cre (“People Who Believe”) is a two-minute TV spot that airs over a national TV network in Brazil just before the sports news, and thousands of people are responding.
“We know exactly when the program is broadcast because eight telephone lines at the follow-up center ring almost at the same time and there is extra excitement in our offices,” reports Rev. Celsino Gama, the Back to God Hour’s Portuguese ministry leader, who developed the program. “We are receiving 4,000 to 6,000 calls a month. Praise the Lord!”
Brazil is a nation of contrasts: modern highways and dirt roads; sprawling shopping centers and wooden shacks; 10 million wealthy people holding power over more than 130 million who live in poverty.
In a nation of 180 million people, there are approximately 35 million who profess to be evangelical Christians, up from 5 million in 1980. Thousands more are searching for truth and direction in their lives, Gama reports. The purpose of Gente que Cre is to reach these people by presenting biblical truth in a way that is culturally relevant.
One program told the story of the Reinelt family, whose mother needed a kidney transplant. Three daughters tell how one of them gave up a kidney to save her mother’s life. As the mother tearfully expresses her gratitude, a paraphrase of Isaiah 49:15 appears on the screen and the announcer reminds viewers of God’s faithful love.
Follow-up activities from phone and e-mail responses have more than quadrupled in the past year, Gama said. People call for a free sample of the Cada Dia (“Today”) devotional booklet, and some also ask for the address of a church in their city.
“The Spirit of God is changing lives in Brazil,” Gama declares. “When millions are exposed to the message of Christ, there is hope that this nation will have a better future.”