It was 9am on a Sabbath morning and thousands of Seventh-day Adventist youth were missing from their churches. Without any more information, this would be disturbing news. Actually, it was the result of a coordinated effort to impact the city of Curitiba in a powerful way.
It was the third day of the “Fortes” Camporee. The goal was mission—spreading the good news of the gospel to whomever the participants met. Coordinators organized a huge health expo featuring natural remedies: pure air, sunlight, water, rest, temperance, faith, physical exercise and healthy diet.
Seven thousand young people from the Santa Catarina, Rio Grande do Sul and metropolitan region of Curitiba took over several blocks of XV de Novembro Street in Curitiba, showing passersby healthy ways to live.
This was not a regular expo, however, with explanations and some free exams. In the section dedicated to rest, sofas were available for those who were not in a hurry. The person who decided to sit received a free massage. In addition, for those who needed a little incentive to take care of their health, several groups of young people offered hugs and fruit to people if they gave up their cigarettes. In the section dedicated to healthy diet, there was a tasting menu of easy dishes that people could make at home.
Isabel Garcia had just arrived downtown to pay a bill when she found a huge number of young people on the street. After completing the health course, she was asked about the expo. “It's something that we really need to do: cut out sugar, drink more water. I had never seen such thing, so I thought it was really cool, because these young people could be making trouble, but they are doing good for people,” she said.
Around 10:30 am, the youth concluded their activities and set out on foot to Santos Andrade Square, in front of the Federal University of Paraná (UFPR), a place used for popular events. There, they had a celebration service with the presence of authorities, such as the deputy mayor of Curitiba, Eduardo Pimentel, and congressman Artagao Junior, as well as church leaders, including the president of the Church in South Brazil, Pastor Marlinton Lopes.
The final part of the celebration highlighted Cid Moreira, one of the most famous voices in Brazil, who narrated biblical texts and an excerpt from The Great Controversyby Ellen G. White.
You can find video of the live broadcast on the official event page on Facebook, and on the Union’s webpage (Adventistas Sul). The main photos and videos linked to the event have also been published on @FortesUSB Instagram profile.