Behind the walls of Rinaldo Faria’s average-looking office building in the Villa Formosa neighborhood is what he calls a “joy factory.”
For 25 years, Rinaldo has been bringing joy to Brazil’s children by producing a popular television program named “Patati Patatá” after the two clowns who star in the show. Over the years, Rinaldo has assembled 33 pairs of “Patati Patatá” clowns who take fun, educational assemblies into schools throughout Brazil.
His office is filled with television awards, photos and newspaper clippings that catalogue his success as an entertainer and producer. Yet in front of the awards lays an open Bible, making it clear that Christ–not fame, success or acclaim–is the source of Rinaldo’s joy.
“That’s my goal,” Rinaldo said, pointing to the open Book. “My goal is the Gospel.”
The workday had ended, but the sound of laughter flowed into Rinaldo’s office from a kitchen area where the clown teams and their friends and family were eating sub sandwiches, chips and sweets, then washing them down with soda.
They had gathered that Thursday evening at Rinaldo’s invitation to watch the My Hope program. Most of the guests were not Christians. Tears brimmed in Rinaldo’s eyes as he talked about sharing the Gospel with them.
“Jesus saves, heals and brings freedom,” he said. “For many years I’ve desired to start something in my home. My Hope is opening doors for me to respond to this part of God’s plan for me.”
Minutes later, the 60 or so guests settled into white plastic chairs in front of the clowns’ practice stage. Rinaldo had set up a projector so everyone could easily see the program. After the broadcast with Billy Graham, Rinaldo explained how his life changed when he turned from his sin to Christ. He quoted Romans 10:9 “If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (NIV). Then, 39 people responded to his invitation to confess Jesus Christ as Lord. Rinaldo and his wife, Nadia, were ecstatic.
“This is the first time I’ve seen so many people come to Christ!” Rinaldo said, already looking forward to the next broadcast. “I am absolutely sure more people will come to Christ tomorrow.”
The couple invited the guests to their home for the Friday and Saturday evening broadcasts. Patati and Patatá rushed into the room and reminded everyone to attend church on Sunday morning–an easy task as Rinaldo had arranged for a bus to take guests to his church.
Many guests returned on Friday and Saturday, and several of Rinaldo’s friends from the entertainment industry joined them. When the weekend was over, 78 guests had made commitments to Christ–including Nadia’s brother and sister-in-law.
One of the new believers told the Farias, “Now I understand the purpose of having Christ in my life.”
Overwhelmed by what God had done for the people in his life, Rinaldo said, “There are no words to say how happy I feel!”