The Matthew Wedding

By Kristen Burke   •   January 30, 2009

Three years ago, Anele Santos’ husband died suddenly. With her children grown, she could have become trapped in loneliness but instead offered to serve as full-time evangelism coordinator at Brazil For Christ Church.

Six months ago, as she continued to serve the Lord in Vinhedo, a small city an hour outside São Paulo, she met widower Manuel Santos. With the blessing of their families, they became engaged and planned a wedding for November. At about the same time, Anele’s pastor, Marcos Aurelio, asked for her help in promoting the My Hope project in their church.

Anele couldn’t help but think of the wedding guests–family members and several of Manuel’s co-workers–many who were not Christians. Could My Hope reach them if they moved the wedding to the weekend of the project? The couple decided to show the My Hope movie A Vow to Cherish during the reception.

On Nov. 8, the Gospel-filled ceremony at the church was followed by a reception at a home only blocks away. Under the stars, guests sat at small square tables and watched the film on the white stucco wall of the house. Occasional cool breezes were laden with smoke from chicken, pork and beef cooking on a large brick grill.

The film ended and Anele stood to share the Gospel with her guests, urging them to turn to Christ for forgiveness. Then, while everyone ate, the Santoses visited each table to ask what their loved ones thought of the film. Already several couples were crying and apologizing to one another, and it also became clear that the film had drawn many to Christ. On the Monday after My Hope, Aurelio reported that several guests wanted to attend church, and already a family of five from the wedding had done so and made commitments to Christ.

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