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Roberto Rabello

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Rabello, Roberto Mendes (1909–1996)

By The Brazilian White Center – UNASP

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The Brazilian White Center – UNASP is a team of teachers and students at the Brazilian Ellen G. White Research Center – UNASP at the Brazilian Adventist University, Campus Engenheiro, Coelho, SP. The team was supervised by Drs. Adolfo Semo Suárez, Renato Stencel, and Carlos Flávio Teixeira. Bruno Sales Gomes Ferreira provided technical support. The following names are of team members: Adriane Ferrari Silva, Álan Gracioto Alexandre, Allen Jair Urcia Santa Cruz, Camila Chede Amaral Lucena, Camilla Rodrigues Seixas, Daniel Fernandes Teodoro, Danillo Alfredo Rios Junior, Danilo Fauster de Souza, Débora Arana Mayer, Elvis Eli Martins Filho, Felipe Cardoso do Nascimento, Fernanda Nascimento Oliveira, Gabriel Pilon Galvani, Giovana de Castro Vaz, Guilherme Cardoso Ricardo Martins, Gustavo Costa Vieira Novaes, Ingrid Sthéfane Santos Andrade, Isabela Pimenta Gravina, Ivo Ribeiro de Carvalho, Jhoseyr Davison Voos dos Santos, João Lucas Moraes Pereira, Kalline Meira Rocha Santos, Larissa Menegazzo Nunes, Letícia Miola Figueiredo, Luan Alves Cota Mól, Lucas Almeida dos Santos, Lucas Arteaga Aquino, Lucas Dias de Melo, Matheus Brabo Peres, Mayla Magaieski Graepp, Milena Guimarães Silva, Natália Padilha Corrêa, Rafaela Lima Gouvêa, Rogel Maio Nogueira Tavares Filho, Ryan Matheus do Ouro Medeiros, Samara Souza Santos, Sergio Henrique Micael Santos, Suelen Alves de Almeida, Talita Paim Veloso de Castro, Thais Cristina Benedetti, Thaís Caroline de Almeida Lima, Vanessa Stehling Belgd, Victor Alves Pereira, Vinicios Fernandes Alencar, Vinícius Pereira Nascimento, Vitória Regina Boita da Silva, William Edward Timm, Julio Cesar Ribeiro, Ellen Deó Bortolotte, Maria Júlia dos Santos Galvani, Giovana Souto Pereira, Victor Hugo Vaz Storch, and Dinely Luana Pereira.

 

 

First Published: July 15, 2021

Roberto Mendes Rabello was a pastor, evangelist, and pioneer of the Voice of Prophecy radio programs in Brazil.

Early Years

Roberto Mendes Rabello was born November 15, 1909, in the colony of Rolante, city of Santo Antônio da Patrulha, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.1 His parents were Oliveiros Mendes Rabello and Isabel Inácio Rabello, and he had eight siblings. The members of the Rabello family were primarily farmers, but, beginning in 1905, Oliveiros became a primary school teacher. He taught for some years and even conducted a school in his home. Roberto enrolled in it and completed his basic studies there.2

Since his parents had been baptized in their twenties, not long after their marriage, Rabello grew up in an Adventist home. When Roberto was about 11 years old, his father took him to attend a church service in the city of Porto Alegre, where some of the preachers were North Americans. Even though the sermons were translated, Rabello remembered some English words and got really interested in learning the language. At 12 years of age he began to play the flute.3

The former director of Brazil College (now referred to as UNASP-SP) invited Roberto to study there, but his parents didn’t let him go, because he was only 13. Rabello only entered the college at the end of 1924.4 By then he was 15. Accompanied by his uncles and parents, he traveled to São Paulo by ship and disembarked in the Santos harbor. During the trip he came down with typhoid fever and the arrival in Santos was difficult, but at the college he received treatment and eventually recovered. When Roberto got well enough to work, he joined other students in uprooting tree stumps where the college’s farm had cleared a forested area.5

Roberto attended the commercial course.6 During it he worked as a literature evangelist to pay his fees. His first canvassing experience was in the city of Mococa near São Paulo, and then in the cities of São José do Rio Pardo and Casa Branca.7 Around 1928, while still a student, he accepted the offer to work at the college’s finance office, where he met his future wife, Hedwig Braun. Following that he accepted the invitation to become an assistant at the main office of the Paraná-Santa Catarina Mission in Curitiba, serving there until 1929.8 In the meantime, he also was the youth department leader of the Central Curitiba Church.9

During the second half of 1929, Pastor Germano Streithorst, former president of the Paraná-Santa Catarina Mission, recognized his talent for preaching and, urging him to enter the theology program, promised to help with the necessary arrangements. At the end of a year’s study, Streithorst would then hire him as a Bible instructor. Roberto accepted the proposal and, returning to college in the beginning of 1930, graduated at the end of that year with both the commercial and theology diplomas.10

Life and Ministry

Rabello entered the pastoral ministry at the end of 1930 when he received an invitation to work in the city of Florianópolis, state of Santa Catarina.11 On July 25, 1932, he married Hedwig Braun (1911-1970), daughter of pastor Luiz Braun and Anna Braun.12 Pastor H. B. Westcott officiated.13 Born in Dusseldorf, Germany, Hedwig arrived in Brazil when she was 2 years old with her father.14 She graduated from the theology program at Brazil College the same year as her husband.15 Hedwig would help in his ministry both in Brazil and the United States, where she took some education courses. Also, she aided in the translation and typing of Rabello’s sermons16 as well as serving as a secretary at the Brazilian Voice of Prophecy beginning in 1943.17

From 1932 to 1933, Rabello was pastor and evangelist in the cities of Rio Negro, Cambará, Jaguariaíva, and Ponta Grossa in the state of Paraná and, from 1934 onward, he pastored the Curitiba Church, where he was ordained in 1936.18 The couple’s son, Claudio,19was born in Ponta Grossa and their daughter, Lucila, in Curitiba.20 In 1937 Roberto accepted a call to be a pastor of the Central Church of Rio de Janeiro and three other churches, Olaria, Niterói, and Petrópolis.21 In 1940 he was pastor at Campos dos Goytacazes, state of Rio de Janeiro. Afterward, during the first semester of 1941, he went to the United States to study theology at Pacific Union College.22

There he received the invitation that would transform his life. One evening in 1942, while he was working in the college’s garden,23 he was asked to go to Voice of Prophecy’s headquarters for an interview about recording radio programs for Brazil. At Glendale, California, he met pastors Henrique Stoehr and João Linhares and was chosen to be the speaker for the programs that would be broadcast in his home country.24 Though still in his last semester of studies, he and Henrique Stoehr started the program’s preparation right away, aiming to finalize 16 programs by mid-February.25

Under Pastor W. P. Bradley’s supervision, the trio recorded the first program of The Voice of Prophecy in the Portuguese language. H.M.S Richards wrote the first messages and Rabello, translated and recorded them. After gaining more experience, Rabello composed the scripts himself. 26 The initial plan was to produce 26 programs in one year, but in their enthusiasm, they recorded 52.27 Initially the programs focused on Brazilians, but in time they reached other Portuguese speaking countries and communities.28 The King’s Heralds provided the music. In addition to being the official speaker, Rabello had to teach the quartet the correct pronunciation of the Portuguese words, as they were all North Americans.29

On September 26 of 1943,30 17 radio stations in major Brazilian cities started to broadcast the Voice of Prophecy program.31 It went on the air in São Paulo, the first Brazilian city to transmit the program, at 11:00 a.m.32

After graduating from Pacific Union College in mid-1943, leadership asked Rabello to remain in Glendale for one year more so that he could prepare additional programs for Brazil.33 The Voice of Prophecy was the first religious radio program to be broadcast nationally.34

At first, the Brazilian Voice of Prophecy encountered some reluctance on the part of radio stations, because of its religious content. In addition to the stations’ hesitation, it had to face the doubt of some church employees who didn’t believe in the effectiveness of such an evangelistic method.35 In 1944 the Rabello family returned to Brazil36 while the Second World War raged around the globe. As a result, the family couldn’t find any ships to take them to Brazil. Because governments considered the Atlantic coast a war zone, not even airplanes had permission to use the route. The solution was to travel by plane primarily along the Pacific coast. From New Orleans they went to the capital of Panama. Two days later they reached Lima, Peru, staying there for six days. After Lima they headed to La Paz, Bolivia, and then arrived in Corumbá, Mato Grosso do Sul. After having their passports approved, Rabello and family left for São Paulo.37

In 1945 the Brazilian Voice of Prophecy established an office at the city of Niterói, state of Rio de Janeiro, in handle the letters and lessons of the Bible Correspondence School. Ilka Reis became the secretary in charge. In 20 years the number of radio stations transmitting the program increased to more than 300, which made it necessary to rent another office in Niterói. However, the program dreamed of owning their own facilities and, after approval from the South American Division in 1952, it bought land the district of Botafogo, Rio de Janeiro. In 1962 church leadership inaugurated the building with the presence of Brazil’s president Juscelino Kubitscheck38 and the King’s Heralds Quartet.39 The building comprised the offices, a recording studio, and an evangelistic center.40

In 1958 Rabello left the directorship of the Voice of Prophecy to be president of the Rio-Minas Conference,41 but continued as the program’s speaker.42 He headed the conference until 1959,43 becoming noted for his ability to solve problems.44 VOP recorded the first 20 years of the program in the United States at the National Broadcasting Company, Hollywood. Roberto would stay in the country from April to June, recording the following year’s programs.45 Rabello would read each script at least five times and practiced his delivery so that not any mistakes would occur during the recording session.46

The North American quartet the King’s Heralds47 and the soloist singer Del Delker from the English language version of the Voice of Prophecy supplied the music.48 Later the Arautos do Rei formed to become the Brazilian version of the King’s Heralds. The first group included Henry Feyerabend, Luiz Motta, Joel Sarli, and Samuel Campos, with Genoveva Bergold on the piano.49 While they sang in public on October 21, 1962, their actual debut did not take place until January of 1963. The name Arautos do Rei became official on January 9, 1964.50

As speaker of the Voice of Prophecy, Roberto Rabello traveled to many Brazilian cities and states, proclaiming the message of Jesus’ second coming. When arriving at a place, he would visit the political leaders, heads of other denominations, radio stations that aired the program, and its local sponsors. Because of the quality of its music, the Voice of Prophecy attracted great interest.51

Rabello’s contribution, both tor the SDA Church and the Brazilian radio industry, earned him a number of rewards. He received one from the Brazil Christian Communicators Association for being a pioneer of the evangelical presence on the nation’s radio and television systems. The Industry and Commerce Chamber of the State of São Paulo honored him with the Personality of Brazil prize and the Legislative Assembly of the State of Rio de Janeiro nominated him a Citizen of Rio de Janeiro. On February 2, 1982, the SDA General Conference honored him at its former headquarters in Takoma Park. The city of São Paulo also awarded him the Anchieta Medal.52

Last Years (1975-1996)

Rabello retired in 1975 after 45 years serving the SDA Church, with approximately 30 years at the Voice of Prophecy Brazil. Roberto Conrad Filho succeeded him, but he continued to assist the program by preparing scripts,53 answering correspondence54 and filling the role of former speaker.55 Together with Pastor Conrad, each fourth program had as its theme the Caixa de Perguntas [Question Box] in which they answered questions listeners submitted through the Bible Correspondence School.56

Even after retirement, Rabella continued traveling with the Arautos do Rei Quartet in order to meet the program’s listeners and supporters.57 After 14 years as a widower, on May 15, 1984, he married Hedwig Edith Anniehs, in a ceremony officiated by Pastor Ary Gomes.58 The couple stayed for many years in Rio de Janeiro, but later moved to Vista Alegre, district of Curitiba, state of Paraná.59

Roberto Rabello died August 16, 1996,60 in Curitiba, and the funeral took place at Brazil College. The Arautos do Rei quartet sang the Voice of Prophecy’s official hymn, Breve Virá (He is coming soon).61 Pastor Erlo Braun, a former member of Arautos do Rei prayed, Rodolpho Gorski presented a brief obituary, Narciso Liedke Filho gave a homily, and Ruy Nagel, former president of the South American Division, presented a tribute in name of the SDA Church, with a final prayer by José Correia.62 Pastor Walter Boger, former director of Brazil College (today UNASP-EC) and Alcides Campolongo, pioneer on Adventist television programs in Brazil, also paid tribute to Rabello.63

Contribution

Roberto Mendes Rabello left a great legacy of vision and leadership in the area of media in the SDA Church in Brazil. For more than 30 years he dedicated himself to preaching the gospel over the radio. His work wasn’t limited to just recording programs for the Voice of Prophecy Brazil. Along with the Arautos do Rei Quartet, he traveled throughout the country in order to spread the Adventist message.64 In this way he corrected many misconceptions about the SDA Church, breaking down prejudices and opening the way to presenting the gospel to many.65 By the influence of his messages, thousands of people came to have faith in Jesus’ soon return. The message declared by the remarkable voice of pastor Roberto Rabello was “a message of faith and hope that announces that Jesus is coming soon”. His influence and voice are part of the Brazilian evangelical radio’s history.

Sources

“A Voz da Profecia.” Revista Adventista, October, 1943.

Conceição, Jonatan. Fé, Coragem e Vidas Transformadas: Conheça a História de A Voz da Profecia e do Quarteto Arautos do Rei. Nova Friburgo, RJ: self-published Edition, 2014.

Fernandes, Carlos C. “Roberto Rabello Orador Emérito da Voz da Voz.” Monograph, Instituto Adventista de Ensino, 1986.

Feyerabend, Henry. Nascido para Pregar. Tatuí, SP: Brazil Publishing House, 2006.

Freire, Eguinaldo. “Vida e Obra do Pastor João Mendes.” Monograph, Instituto Adventista de Ensino, 1988.

Greenleaf, Floyd. Terra de Esperança: O Crescimento da Igreja Adventista do Sétimo Dia. Tatuí, SP: Brazil Publishing House, 2011.

Lima, Valquírio S. “Rabello.” Revista Adventista, March, 1971.

Martins, Carlos Manuel. “Roberto Mendes Rabello.” Monograph, Instituto Adventista de Ensino, 1985.

Rabello, Roberto M. “Radio and Television in Brazil.” ARH, November 10, 1966.

Rabello, Roberto M. “Vinte anos de Rádio-Evangelismo.” Revista Adventista, August, 1963.

Ranzolin, Léo. Uma Voz Dedicada a Deus: A Vida de Roberto Rabello, o Inesquecível Orador da Voz da Profecia. Tatuí, SP: Brazil Publishing House, 2007.

Notes

  1. Léo Ranzolin, Uma Voz Dedicada a Deus: A Vida de Roberto Rabello, o Inesquecível Orador da Voz da Profecia (Tatuí, SP: Casa Publicadora Brasileira, 2007), 10.

  2. Ranzolin, Uma Voz Dedicada a Deus: A Vida de Roberto Rabello, o Inesquecível Orador da Voz da Profecia, 10; Eguinaldo Freire, “Vida e Obra do Pastor João Mendes” (Monograph, Instituto Adventista de Ensino, 1988), 2.

  3. Ranzolin, Uma Voz Dedicada a Deus: A Vida de Roberto Rabello, o Inesquecível Orador da Voz da Profecia, 11; Jonatan Conceição, Fé, Coragem e Vidas Transformadas: Conheça a História de A Voz da Profecia e do Quarteto Arautos do Rei, (Nova Friburgo, RJ: self-published, 2014), 30.

  4. Ranzolin, Uma Voz Dedicada a Deus: A Vida de Roberto Rabello, o Inesquecível Orador da Voz da Profecia, 11-13, 150; Conceição, Uma Voz Dedicada a Deus, 19.

  5. Ranzolin, Uma Voz Dedicada a Deus: A Vida de Roberto Rabello, o Inesquecível Orador da Voz da Profecia, 11-13.

  6. Ranzolin, Uma Voz Dedicada a Deus: A Vida de Roberto Rabello, o Inesquecível Orador da Voz da Profecia, 13-15; Carlos C. Fernandes, “Roberto Rabello Orador Emérito da Voz da Voz” (Monograph, Instituto Adventista de Ensino, 1986), 2; Carlos Manuel Martins, “Roberto Mendes Rabello” (Monography, Instituto Adventista de Ensino, 1985), 10.

  7. Ranzolin, Uma Voz Dedicada a Deus: A Vida de Roberto Rabello, o Inesquecível Orador da Voz da Profecia, 13-15.

  8. Ibid., 13-15.

  9. Fernandes, “Roberto Rabello Orador Emérito da Voz da Voz,” 1.

  10. Ranzolin, Uma Voz Dedicada a Deus, 13-15.

  11. Martins, “Roberto Mendes Rabello,” 12.

  12. Conceição, Fé, Coragem e Vidas Transformadas, 35; Valquírio S. Lima, “Rabello,” Revista Adventista, March, 1971, 34.

  13. Léo Ranzolin, “Uma Voz para Deus,” Revista Adventista, November, 1996, 16.

  14. Conceição, Fé, Coragem e Vidas Transformadas, 35.

  15. Lima, “Rabello,” Revista Adventista, March, 1971, 34.

  16. Conceição, Fé, Coragem e Vidas Transformadas, 42; Lima, “Rabello,” Revista Adventista, March, 1971, 34.

  17. Lima, “Rabello,” Revista Adventista, March, 1971, 34.

  18. Martins, “Roberto Mendes Rabello,” 12; Fernandes, “Roberto Rabello Orador Emérito da Voz da Voz,” 3; Floyd Greenleaf, Terra de Esperança: o crescimento da Igreja Adventista na América do Sul (Tatuí, SP: Brazil Publishing House, 2011), 318; Ranzolin, Uma Voz Dedicada a Deus: A Vida de Roberto Rabello, o Inesquecível Orador da Voz da Profecia, 19.

  19. Ranzolin, Uma Voz Dedicada a Deus: A Vida de Roberto Rabello, o Inesquecível Orador da Voz da Profecia, 18.

  20. Ibid., 20.

  21. Martins, “Roberto Mendes Rabello,” 12; Fernandes, “Roberto Rabello Orador Emérito da Voz da Voz,” 3; Ranzolin, Uma Voz Dedicada a Deus: A Vida de Roberto Rabello, o Inesquecível Orador da Voz da Profecia, 150.

  22. Martins, “Roberto Mendes Rabello,” 12, 13; Fernandes, “Roberto Rabello Orador Emérito da Voz da Voz,” 3, 4.; Conceição, 20.

  23. Conceição, Fé, Coragem e Vidas Transformadas, 30.

  24. Martins, “Roberto Mendes Rabello,” 15, 16; Ranzolin, Uma Voz Dedicada a Deus: A Vida de Roberto Rabello, o Inesquecível Orador da Voz da Profecia, 25.

  25. Greenleaf, Terra de Esperança: o crescimento da Igreja Adventista na América do Sul, 443.

  26. Martins, “Roberto Mendes Rabello,” 15, 16; Ranzolin, Uma Voz Dedicada a Deus: A Vida de Roberto Rabello, o Inesquecível Orador da Voz da Profecia, 25.

  27. Greenleaf, Terra de Esperança: o crescimento da Igreja Adventista na América do Sul, 443.

  28. Ibid.

  29. Ranzolin, Uma Voz Dedicada a Deus: A Vida de Roberto Rabello, o Inesquecível Orador da Voz da Profecia, 25.

  30. “A Voz da Profecia,” Revista Adventista, October, 1943, 32; Conceição, Fé, Coragem e Vidas Transformadas, 32; Henry Feyerabend, Nascido para Pregar (Tatuí, SP: Casa Publicadora Brasileira, 2006), 97.

  31. Roberto Conrad Filho, interview by Vinicios Fernandes Alencar, Engenheiro Coelho, São Paulo, August 20, 2018; Ranzolin, Uma Voz Dedicada a Deus: A Vida de Roberto Rabello, o Inesquecível Orador da Voz da Profecia, 26; Roberto M. Rabello, “Radio and Television in Brazil, ” ARH, November 10, 1966, 18.

  32. Conceição, Fé, Coragem e Vidas Transformadas, 33.

  33. Ranzolin, Uma Voz Dedicada a Deus: A Vida de Roberto Rabello, o Inesquecível Orador da Voz da Profecia, 26.

  34. Ibid., 29.

  35. Martins, “Roberto Mendes Rabello,” 18.

  36. Ibid., 151.

  37. Ibid., 26-29.

  38. Martins, “Roberto Mendes Rabello,” 28, 29; and Conceição, Fé, Coragem e Vidas Transformadas, 50.

  39. Conceição, Fé, Coragem e Vidas Transformadas, 53, 54.

  40. Feyerabend, Nascido para Pregar, 97.

  41. Feyerabend, Nascido para Pregar, 70; “Rio Minas Conference,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1959), 156.

  42. Ranzolin, Uma Voz Dedicada a Deus: A Vida de Roberto Rabello, o Inesquecível Orador da Voz da Profecia, 151.

  43. “Rio Minas Conference,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1960), 160.

  44. Conrad Filho, interview by Vinicios Fernandes Alencar, Engenheiro Coelho, São Paulo, August 20, 2018.

  45. Martins, “Roberto Mendes Rabello,” 16.

  46. Conrad Filho, interview by Vinicios Fernandes Alencar, Engenheiro Coelho, São Paulo, August 20, 2018.

  47. Conceição, Fé, Coragem e Vidas Transformadas, 41.

  48. Ranzolin, Uma Voz Dedicada a Deus: A Vida de Roberto Rabello, o Inesquecível Orador da Voz da Profecia, 30.

  49. Ranzolin, “Uma Voz para Deus,” 30; and Conceição, 61-64.

  50. Conceição, Fé, Coragem e Vidas Transformadas, 61-64.

  51. Conrad Filho, interview by Vinicios Fernandes Alencar, Engenheiro Coelho, São Paulo, August 20, 2018.

  52. Ranzolin, Uma Voz Dedicada a Deus: A Vida de Roberto Rabello, o Inesquecível Orador da Voz da Profecia, 149.

  53. Ibid., 70.

  54. Conrad Filho, interview by Vinicios Fernandes Alencar, Engenheiro Coelho, São Paulo, August 20, 2018.

  55. Ranzolin, Uma Voz Dedicada a Deus: A Vida de Roberto Rabello, o Inesquecível Orador da Voz da Profecia, 152.

  56. Conrad Filho, interview by Vinicios Fernandes Alencar, Engenheiro Coelho, São Paulo, August 20, 2018.

  57. Ibid.

  58. Ibid.

  59. Ibid.

  60. Conceição, Fé, Coragem e Vidas Transformadas, 168.

  61. Ibid., 170, 171.

  62. Ranzolin, Uma Voz Dedicada a Deus: A Vida de Roberto Rabello, o Inesquecível Orador da Voz da Profecia, 78.

  63. Ranzolin, “Uma Voz para Deus,” 9.

  64. Martins, “Roberto Mendes Rabello,” 20.

  65. Roberto M. Rabello, “Vinte anos de Rádio-Evangelismo,” Revista Adventista, August, 1963, 17.

×

UNASP, The Brazilian White Center –. "Rabello, Roberto Mendes (1909–1996)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. July 15, 2021. Accessed December 02, 2022. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=CGNA.

UNASP, The Brazilian White Center –. "Rabello, Roberto Mendes (1909–1996)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. July 15, 2021. Date of access December 02, 2022, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=CGNA.

UNASP, The Brazilian White Center – (2021, July 15). Rabello, Roberto Mendes (1909–1996). Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved December 02, 2022, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=CGNA.