COMMITMENT

IN THE BUSINESS OF GIVING

Milton Afonso was born into a very humble home on December 12, 1921. Even as a child he was committed to helping with the family finances. After school, he would leave his home, barefoot, to sell candy. This introduction to commercial and marketing

experiences was key to his becoming an efficient salesman. Later he would

become good at selling books which would help pay for his studies and

ultimately change his destiny.



His father, José

Afonso, had dreamed of being rich. In his attempt to have even a remote chance

of seeing that dream become a reality, he spent most of the little money he

received on lottery tickets. What was left of the money was spent on alcohol. One day his father did ‘win’ something at the lottery office. It was an invitation he was given there to attend a series of religious lectures. When Milton’s mother saw the invitation she took her young son, and together they attended an evangelistic meeting. It was at this time that he was introduced to the message of hope and became a Seventh-day Adventist.



In 1971, at age 43,

Milton Afonso was no longer a poor boy but neither was he a rich man. He and

his wife lived conscientiously and raised their children with dignity. He owned

his own home, a car and other assets, which were administrated with frugality.

At that time Milton gathered all he had and ventured into a market that he

thought was promising. He founded Golden Cross International Medical Health

Care, which began with only five employees. From 1973 until 1985, the company

became the leader in the industry in Brazil and in all of South America.



Milton, however,

did not want to be “just” a businessman. He wanted to be like “an angel” in

people's lives, and he would find different ways of doing that. One way was, to

keep a special team in his hospitals who, for no charge, would give special

attention to the emotional health of the patients. With such daily care,

patients and their families heard the gospel of love and hope. Many times,

through the social-welfare services provided by the hospital, Golden Cross,

again at no charge, also attended to the needs of thousands of desperate people

who could never have afforded even one appointment.



The impact of these good-hearted acts of generosity is impossible to measure, but lives have been change for now and for eternity."

Milton

Perhaps because of

his own impoverished childhood, Milton cared a lot about orphaned children. He

built, and invested in, shelters and specials schools for orphans and abandoned

children. He not only provided a safe

haven for them, such as a roof over their heads, clothes to wear and food to

eat, but he also sought to ensure an environment which would help them to enjoy

their childhood with dignity and have access to education.



Today Milton Afonso confesses that when he was

a college student, he was particularly touched by the plight of orphans. His own difficult childhood experiences were

not forgotten. He knew that education could transform the reality of a

marginalized child into one who could have true dignity and his or her needs

met. This is what drew him to so many

children and young people. He had the

great desire to give them a reason to have hope, and at the same time, an

opportunity to grow.



Over 70,000

under-served youth have received financial support for their education owing to

his generosity. There was a time when

Dr. Afonso donated over two and a half million dollars each month to fund the

studies of seven thousand students. These were students who, otherwise, would

never have had the opportunity to do a degree course and experience the joy of

achieving their educational dreams. The impact of these good-hearted acts of

generosity is impossible to measure, but lives have been change for now and for

eternity.



It is the love of

God, flowing through Dr. Afonso, that has helped a charity organization with a

car here, donated a wheelchair for a needy person there, funded a poor

student’s studies, built a house for an elderly lady and paid for medical

treatment for the disadvantaged. It is God’s love that has prompted him to

financing the editing of a book to be published, a journal to be produced, a

DVD with spiritual messages to be developed and to fund a TV series. Each donation is given for the purpose of

helping others. It is his desire to be a

true ‘angel’ of love. It’s as though

generosity has always been his main business.



In 1992, with the

conviction to share God’s message of love and salvation, he began putting

together a worldwide television network that has the potential of sharing the

message to the world. To accomplish this dream he provided the finances for the

use of a 20 mega-hertz satellite band for ten years. Expensive, yes, but with

belief in the message and faith in God’s generosity it became clear that it was

the right thing to do. The blessing of

God upon the financial growth of his company has enabled him to do this. After

all, this was a project that would help bring hope to thousands, if not

millions! Furthermore, Milton also

donated property for the purpose of establishing the accompanying television

studio complex. The complex would, of

course, need new television and radio equipment and that too was provided. God,

through His generosity to Milton, and then Milton’s generosity to the Church,

has helped provide the new television and radio network in South America. Novo

Tempo, meaning ‘New Time’, was born.







Today, despite his

age, Dr. Afonso still dreams about the future of the work of God, and of seeing

more people saved for His kingdom. Currently, he is pursuing the building of

three mega churches. The designer for the project was the most prominent

architect in Brazil—the late Oscar Niemeyer, who had been the chief designer

for the city of Brasília, the capital of Brazil. Dr. Afonso wants to build

these three houses of worship as monuments to the Adventist Church in Brazil in

recognition of God’s generosity, and to the expanding ministry of Novo Tempo. He feels that both the message

and the country need an architectural reference to the church of God. He declares

that while he was not been blessed with the gift of preaching or singing, God

has been generous to him by giving him the ability to contribute

financially. With this in mind, it is

his desire to always be generous for his God is generous. The more God grants

him, the more he can give. He ends by saying:

“I always want to be a channel through whom God can work to bless

others.’’  



"Currently,

[Dr. Afonso] is pursuing the building of three mega churches. The designer for

the project was the most prominent architect in Brazil—the late Oscar Niemeyer,

who had been the chief designer for the city of Brasília, the capital of

Brazil.

Dr. Afonso wants to build these three houses of worship as

monuments to the Adventist Church in Brazil in recognition of God’s generosity,

and to the expanding ministry of Novo

Tempo. He feels that both the message and the country need an architectural

reference to the church of God."

Milton Afonso
This tribute to Dr. Milton Afonso, businessman and exemplary

benefactor of the work of the Lord, from Brazil, was written by Pastor Elmir

Santos, the Stewardship Ministries Director for the Southeast Brazil Union

Conference, and author of several books, including:
A Rich Man; My First Hour; Second Tenth; Victory; You Can Get There, and The Parable

of Wealth.

'+element.CommentMessage+'