In Brazil, military service is obligatory for men when they turn 18. In Belém, Brazil, navy recruits are also required to hear Campus Crusade for Christ's Four Spiritual Laws booklet, a four-point presentation of the gospel.
It started when naval captain Vilas Boas attended a month long training session at Campus Crusade's New Life Training Center in Brazil.
The Christian officer learned the importance of winning people to Christ and building them in their faith. As the officer in charge of training new recruits, Capt. Vilas asked Campus Crusade staff member Valdí Daniel to present the gospel to each new class of recruits that went through the navy training in Belém, a port city at the mouth of the Amazon River.
"These recruits come from long distances," says Valdí. "They are away from their families in a strange place with people they don't know. That tends to create situations that lead to bad behavior."
However, in the first class, 133 of the 140 recruits indicated they received Christ after hearing Valdí and three others speak about Christianity. In the second class, 127 of 130 recruits also indicated decisions to follow Christ. Following the presentation, a local church sent each recruit a letter acknowledging their decision and inviting them to a Bible study at the church.
The recruits' responses have made a visible difference. "The captain said he can see an immediate difference in the behavior of the recruits," says Valdí. "They are much less disobedient and much more responsive after this event than before."
Another change is evident at the end of the training. The graduation ceremony for new recruits is now held at a church. Because so many of the recruits have begun personal relationships with Jesus, the graduation ceremony is now also a worship service.
The captain has asked Valdí to give the presentation to navy recruits in other cities, and there is also a possibility of the outreach spreading to the air force and the army. "This is the beginning of our military ministry in Brazil," says Hank Hornstein, who leads Campus Crusade in Brazil.