If you visit Antonio Alves Costa, affectionately called Mr. Nego, it isn’t long before you’ll hear one of his many experiences of sharing books. As a beekeeper and a well-known man in the small city of Igarapava in the state of São Paulo where he lives, he begins to talk to people and ends with the classic phrase: "I want to give you this book as a gift."
One day he found a client in the center of the city selling honey. She was happy to see him, for she was already reading the book he had given her. The woman, who also has Adventist relatives, soon showed interest in beginning Bible studies.
On another occasion, returning home by bus after visiting relatives who live in Ribeirão Preto, Nego prayed that God would place someone sincere at his side to whom he could give a book. When a woman sat down, he told her about the request he had made, for someone to sit next to him who needed that literature.
In this way, he shares more than 1,000 books annually. On May 25, he was honored by the church he attends for the work he has done since the start of the Impact Hope project.
As a pioneer of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the region where he lives, as soon as the year begins, Nego begins planning his distribution. "As soon as the book for Impact Hope comes out, he insists [for] me to get one so he can read. He will only hand it out after he reads the entire book," says Daniel Manetta, Igarapaya church pastor.
Before members began distributing Impact Hope books this year, Manetta invited the beekeeper to tell about his work and share some of his stories. Costa was touched by the honor and highlighted the importance of dedicating himself to bringing hope to his community.