Leonardo Galleni de Oliveira always enjoyed the church-sponsored Bible knowledge competitions in his town in Brazil. But a larger contest, Bom de Bíblia Universitário, held by the South American Division of Seventh-day Adventists, included contestants from eight countries, and de Oliveira was uncertain he would win.
Last December, after at least seven phases of tests, de Oliveira was announced the first place winner during a broadcast on Nuevo Tiempo, a Spanish Seventh-day Adventist television channel in Lima, Peru that is part of the Hope Channel network. His prize—tuition for one academic quarter of English as a Second Language classes at La Sierra University, along with airfare, room and board, and other expenses.
He enrolled this fall at La Sierra to study grammar, reading skills, conversation, and American culture. “I’ve been studying the Bible since I was a kid,” de Oliveira says with translation assistance from Josianne Ruberto, International Enrollment assistant.
As a career, de Oliveira works as a court clerk in the State Court of Justice of São Paulo, Brazil. He keeps in touch, while he is at La Sierra, with his parents, sister, and girlfriend through Skype.
South American Division Youth Director Areli Barbosa developed the competition to inspire college students to read their Bibles. Contestants came from Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay.