GAiN Conference Day 2

A recap of Day 2 of the 2017 GAiN Conference in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

The second day of GAiN, Thursday, August 10, was dedicated to exploring three Adventist institutions in Brazil: Novo Tempo (the South American Division’s media center), Casa Publicadora Brasileira (the Brazilian Publishing House), and the South American Division’s new Technology Institute (IATec).

Fourteen tour buses were dispatched to the various hotels to carry the over 850 attendees to their destinations. On Wednesday it had been announced that the pickup times would be staggered and the various buses would arrive at the three locations at different times so as not to overload any one location with too many people. However, it was not communicated until 10:30 p.m. Wednesday night what time each bus would arrive for hotel pickup. Most attendees went to bed not knowing what time to plan for and so set their alarms to be ready for the originally announced 6:30 a.m. pick up time. After waking at 5:00 a.m., I discovered our bus would pick up at 8:30 a.m. This gave me plenty of time to catch up on various work-related activities before boarding the bus for the tour.


Field trip day plan, courtesy of Sam Neves, GC associate communication director.

Our group was scheduled to visit the publishing house first. A two to three hour drive separates each of the three locations. After driving for about two hours, we pulled up at the gate of the UNASP campus that is located in downtown Sao Paulo, where the new technical institute, IATec, is located. This caused a bit of confusion all around. Was the schedule wrong? Are we visiting IATec first? Is this just a much-needed bathroom break? No one seemed to know. We sat in the bus admiring the impressive iron gate that borders the campus. A bookstore located across the street features a muraled wall with books flapping their covers and “flying” across a blue sky. Street vendors were set up selling fruit and artistically decorated desserts. After five minutes of seeing the sights from our bus windows, we were off again, still unsure what had just happened.

Another two hours later, we zipped by the Brazilian publishing house, heading 20 kilometers past before finally turning around to head back. One thing was certain already: our most comprehensive tour of the day would be the Brazilian countryside. Fortunately, Brazil is a beautiful country with expansive rolling hills, deep red soil, sugar cane fields, and orange groves. A herd of water buffalo including a few calves, could be seen bathing in a small pond along one road. As a first time visitor to Brazil, I appreciated getting to see more of the country than just the conference locale.

Once we finally arrived at the publishing house, our tour guide informed us that Casa Publicadora Brasileira is the largest Adventist publishing house in the world, with over 500 employees on-site and another 60 or so working off-site.


Photo courtesy of Casa Publicadora Brasileira.

The highlight of the tour (in addition to the bathroom break) was seeing the extensive printing press that takes up the vast majority of the building. The Brazilian publishing house offers a large collection of works for adults and children, as well as Portuguese Bibles. Watching the Bibles being printed and pages sorted was a mesmerizing experience and attracted quite a gathering. It was a little unsettling to see stacks of Bible pages spread out on a worktable, and to have that physical realization that at least in one way, a Bible is a book like any other – that must be printed and assembled and bound by heavy machinery and human hands.


Bible pages printing. Photo by Alisa Williams.


Printing textbooks. Photo by Alisa Williams.

We had about an hour to tour Casa Publicadora Brasileira and grab the provided sack lunch before boarding the bus again for another lengthy drive. After three more hours on the road, navigating construction and rush hour traffic, we arrived at Novo Tempo, the Brazilian Hope Channel. It was closed, as administration staff had left at 6:00 p.m. and it was now almost 6:30 p.m.


Novo Tempo at night. Photo by Alisa Williams.

Fortunately, a few employees involved in the various evening show productions were still around and after some discussions about who could set aside their duties for a few minutes to give us a tour, we were ready. We split up into two groups (English speakers and Spanish/Portuguese speakers), and received a “speed walk” tour through the expansive facility.


Behind the scenes at Novo Tempo. Photo by Alisa Williams.

Novo Tempo is an impressive example of a cohesive mission being executed in a masterful way. From the pristine studios and artfully decorated sets to the production and post-production areas, to the passionate employees bringing the message of the Adventist Church to an entire country, Novo Tempo is an organization that is igniting the Adventist faith. It was impossible not to be excited by the far-reach of Novo Tempo and the difference its creating in people’s lives by bringing Christ’s love into Brazilian homes.

Our bus driver, we discovered, watched Novo Tempo regularly, though he is not Adventist. On discovering this information, one attendee encouraged him to tour the facility with us and bought a DVD for him from Novo Tempo’s gift shop.


Looking down on a stage set being built. Photo by Alisa Williams.

We had about an hour at Novo Tempo and then we took our sack lunch supper to the buses and settled in for our three hour drive back to the hotel. We arrived after 11:00 p.m., physically exhausted but mentally energized from the two tours.

I reached out to Sam Neves, associate director of communication for the GC, to find out what happened with the third tour to IATec that never happened. He provided the following response:

We were never going to enter the Adventist Technology Centre (IATec). We only had time to drive in front of it and see the building from the outside whilst watching their institutional video inside the buses. However, the bus drivers did not receive clear instructions from their company so there was some confusion on a few buses. Most understood, but unfortunately, not all. It looks like your bus didn’t.

Despite the confusion, 10 hours on a bus does provide a great opportunity to bond with fellow Adventists from across the globe. Everyone took the day in stride and much laughter, many conversations, and a few snores could be heard throughout our travels.

I will be reporting on each day’s events for Spectrum. You can also follow live updates on our Twitter feed at @spectrummag. The official hashtag for the conference is #GAiN17

Alisa Williams is managing editor for SpectrumMagazine.org.

Main Image Credit: gain.adventist.org

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