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Vice Blog

BRAZIL ISSUE EXTRA - PREACHING HIGH AND LOW

May 15, 2009, 3:02pm

Oh, Brazil, and your funny God-loving ways. If it's not

children charging hundreds of dollars to watch them sermonize from a butte

, it's some guy on the sidewalk waving a sign like he's a bullfighter, just tempting you, you fleshbag of sins, to defeat him. But he will slay you with his miracles. So basically, if you have a table and a red towel you can make a church in Brazil. Anywhere. The proof is Cassiano Cândido, minister of the International Church of the Reign of God. He mounts his church in a plaza in downtown São Paulo three times a week. And then, he waits. He waits until someone shows up and put their name on a notepad. For everyone who puts their name on it, Cassiano gives blessings, free of charge.

I went there last week and found Cassiano preaching for six or seven people, all of them sitting down in a little garden on the plaza. They all told their problems, hoping God was coming with salvation. When the preaching ended, I went talk to him.

Vice: Hi. How you do your work?

Here is the church on the streets. The intention is to bring the church to the people. We observed that the people don't have time to go to church anymore. Once I stood in front of my church inviting people to enter, and they all said that even though they wanted to come, none of them could show up because they had other things to do. So we bring the church here! Now people come, give their names, and I pray for them. I take all the bad things from them so people can have better and easier days. Here we also reunite people to read from the Bible. They're freeing themselves.

How many blessings you give each day?

I stay here from 10 AM to 4 PM every time I'm here. On a good day, 50 different people put their names on the notepad. On a bad day, 30. And there's the meeting that I do from 3 to 4 PM, which you just saw.

How long have you been doing this?

It's almost a year now. Started in another place, but since the beginning of the year I'm here. The point is always be on São Paulo's downtown.

What kind of people seek your help?

There's no specific kind. Sometimes a bum comes. Sometimes a rich person. If a bum comes it's because he's hungry, because he lives on the streets, so I pray to God to take him out of this bad thing. If a rich person came, it's because the son is taking drugs, or because they're splitting their marriage, or financial problems.

But then the majority of the people who came have some kind of problem, right?

Yeah. It's drugs or depression or some sickness. Here they receive the cure right on time. Yesterday I cured three people with heart diseases. Right here in the sidewalk.

How do you know they are cured?

I asked them to run! The first one I cured yesterday was a thirteen years old boy. He couldn't run; when He did, he became fatigued. He also had some breathing problems. As soon as I gave him my blessing, he noticed that he was cured. Then I made him do the test. He ran fast and then faster, and he was really cured! It was the same thing with an old lady and a 25-year-old guy. Three people with new hearts!

Hey, wait a minute. Did you just say that you make miracles here?

It's a miracle. It's a lot of miracles. This is the church on the streets. God is making miracles in the streets. People came back to thank me, to give their testemonials to other people. There is this one lady. Massive headache problems. She took medicines for 21 years. She received the spiritual treatment and in three months all the pain went away. She even stopped taking her medicine.

What is "the spiritual treatment?"

People can free themselves from some evil with one praying. But with this spiritual treatment, they can be free from all the evil in the world. If someone has problems in their business, it can start to prosper again! You heard the lady talking about the end of her financial problems.

I did. But I don't understand what the spiritual treatment is. Is it just a blessing?

Is more like a commitment to come to our meetings every day they can. We believe in spiritual feeding. The more you hear God's words, the more you get the cure, the more your life changes for the best.

How long have you been preaching?

I've been spreading God's words for two years. But I've been doing this job unprofessionally for 12 years now.

And what did you do before?

I've always spread God's words. But, before doing that full-time, I worked as a musical producer in n studio that also makes some DVDs. But even then I spent half of my days doing music and the other half preaching.

How do you make money?

I had more money in my pockets when I worked as a musical producer. Now people give money for the church, and the church feeds me. I humbly left my job to serve God. So, if there's food, I eat. If not, I don't. But there's always food, you know?

ARTUR TAVARES