Matheus Moraes is an 11-year-old rock star for God. He started preaching when he was six. In 2006, at the age of nine, he preached 250 sermons all over Brazil. Vice magazine talked to Matheus Moraes and two other child preachers in the country. The conversations are bizarre, sad, and, at times, profound. Here's an excerpt:
Vice: Was there anything especially religious about your birth?
Matheus: I was born in Rio on the 18th of May, 1998, after a promise. God sent a prophet to earth who told my mom that she would get pregnant very soon and that the baby she was going to give birth to would have a very special gift. He would be a son of God.
At what age did you start preaching?
Officially, I started preaching in 2003. My parents told me that I mumbled Bible phrases when I was a baby—even when I wasn’t able to read. I spent most of my childhood in church and had a pretty close connection to the pastor. At some point he asked me if I would like to give sermons, and so I started to walk the path to God.
Do you have a lot of fans?
Every time I go back to a city there are always people with signs and posters. They ask me for signatures, too, and bring me gifts. Most of them buy my DVDs, and that is really good because I can make some money and give it to my parents.
Here's Matheus in action: