Rosangela Cardoso is a youth leader and physical education teacher at an Adventist school in Tucurui, southern Para, Brazil. “Two years ago it became painful for me to breathe. At first, doctors said it was a temporary pain, a side effect of a pneumonia I had,” says Cardoso. Last year, in greater pain, she returned to the hospital. After running several tests, the doctors diagnosed her symptoms as emotionally related and gave her some medication. Her health only worsened.
A new reality
In May 2018, no longer able to cope with her situation, she again sought a physician. More tests were run and sent to São Paulo for verification. The diagnosis was confirmed—cancer of the pleura, the membrane surrounding the lungs. “I was desperate. I did not know what was going to happen to me,” she explains in tears.
At the same time, there was a youth camp in her region and she had worked hard to make it possible for her youth group to go. It was there that they learned of their leader's illness. “I was very sad that I couldn’t go. I had worked very hard to go to that camp, so I was devastated,” she says.
Cardoso moved to Barretos, in São Paulo, to begin her cancer treatment. The doctors told her that her chances for cure were very small, but she did not give up. Meanwhile, she urged her friend and boss to register for Reset, a Seventh-day Adventist youth camp in northern Brazil, held November 14-18, 2018. This event brought together over 10,000 young people from Pará, Amapá and Maranhão. To attend Reset, participants had to be members of a youth society. This is a group organized by local churches to promote social interaction, group Bible study, and strengthen community spirit.
Everyone advised Cardoso not to go. Even so, she paid for her registration, transportation and packed for the trip. She was only waiting for her doctor’s approval. She received it, and her cross-country journey began. “Being here for me is a dream. I don’t know what will happen to me, but to participate in the ‘AcampJA’ brings me great happiness,”she exclaims. “I feel that here is a fresh start for me. I don’t know why God allowed me to have this illness, but I know He has a purpose whether I live or die.”
Cardoso’s birthday happened to be during the event and her friends prepared a cake to celebrate. Odailson Fonseca, one of the Reset speakers, met her the next day. He took her onstage and told a little of her story. Tears streamed down many faces as the 10,000 young people crowding the arena spontaneously sang “Happy birthday” to Cardoso.
New Commitment to God
Cardoso was not the only one touched by the Reset camp. Matheus Gomes, 20, was touched by what he heard. He made his decision for baptism after one of the morning meetings. “I am getting to know Jesus for who He is and not for what people say He is,” explains the young man who had been a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in childhood, but had slipped away. “This time I come back in love with what I’m doing, and it is not just a routine.”
Every day the campers had different social activities and lectures on various subjects. Adventist singers Art Trio, Roberta Spitaletti, Daniel Lütke, Jeferson Pillar, King’s Heralds, Laura Morena and Rafaela Pinho, provided music for the event while pastors Fonseca, Rafael Santos and Carlos Campitelli spoke.
Reset camp caught the attention of Gary Blanchard, world youth leader of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. “I learned a wonderful thing about Brazilians: they worship God in spirit and in truth. Sometimes I had a translator explaining what was going on, but it does not matter. I was involved by the feeling that God was there, and seeing so many young people worshiping touched me,” he says.
For Eduardo Batista, event organizer and youth leader for the three states, to organize something of this size “seems like a crazy idea.’ He emphasizes the importance of a structured team to take care of everything from security, to food, cleaning, infrastructure, live broadcasts and programming.
“This four-day-challenge was for each one to start a new story with God. Many times we get lost along the way, make wrong choices for our happiness. And then it is necessary to reset, to start again, undo what was done, and God gives us this opportunity,” concludes Batista.
All programming is available on the Adventistas Norte YouTube channel, and Reset photos can be viewed on Instagram or Facebook.