Adventist youth around the world deliberately missed out on hearing a sermon on Saturday, March 17, choosing instead to “Be the Sermon” in celebration of Global Youth Day 2018.
Thousands of young Adventists ran water and food drives in their communities in order to tangibly be the “hands and feet of Jesus” to their communities.
The effort, which was organized by the Youth Ministries Department of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, has grown considerably since its inception in 2013, with just 12 service projects worldwide. A mere five years later, Global Youth Day 2018 involved multiple departments of the Adventist Church and showcased hundreds of projects around the world.
Adventist youth were encouraged to share pictures and videos of their outreach activities on social media using hashtag #GYD18. They were also invited to add their projects to GlobalYouthDay.org, a dedicated website for the event.
Kehrys Sterling, an Adventist young adult from Vancouver Canada, and Sam Gungaloo, a young pastor from South England, hosted the 24-hour broadcast from the Global Youth Day set near Frankfurt, Germany. Sterling and Gungaloo played the role of cabin crew on AirGYD, a virtual airline which “flew” around the world starting off at Stimme der Hoffnug, which runs the Hope Channel in Germany. The show, which lasted over 24 hours, featured stops around the globe and was broadcast through YouTube Live as well as on GlobalYouthDay.org.
This year Adventist young people were challenged to answer a central question: “What if instead of seeing church as an entertainment outlet, we used it as a training ground to do something worth living and even dying for, just like Jesus did?”
The sheer creativity of the #GYD18 projects showed the enthusiasm with which Adventist youth worked to answer this question. Korean youth handed out water bottles with stickers sharing the Sabbath and other important truths. A group in Blantyre, Malawi, gave food and water to over 85 patients and staff at Mlambe Catholic Hospital. Youth in northeast Mexico donated blood and made fruit shakes for the public while offering healthy nutritional tips. A youth group in the Netherlands cooked food with refugees. In Birmingham, England, youth put on an art show designed to engage their community in meaningful spiritual conversations.
Young people in the Philippines visited a home for the blind. In Accra, Ghana, a #GYD18 team treated members of the public to refreshing herbal tea. Adventist youth in Delhi, India, brought food to a large group of displaced people living in the city.
A dynamic team led by the Youth Ministries Department helped ensure that #GYD18 was a success. The team included World Youth Director and this year’s AirGYD Captain, Gary Blanchard, as well as Pako Edson Mokgwane and Andres J. Peralta, both Associate Youth Directors of the Adventist Church. Broadcast engineer Daryl Gungadoo was instrumental in coordinating transmission strategy and engineering for the day of international reporting.
Sam Neves, associate communication director for the Seventh-day Adventist World Church, directed the social media and communications strategy behind the effort. He reminded a live audience of young adults at the Silver Spring, Maryland headquarters of the Adventist Church that Global Youth Day was more than just a day.
“Seventh-day Adventists are people who anticipate what the New Earth will look like and they try to make it a reality right here in the old one,” said Neves.
His words echoed those of the Youth Department leaders who reminded Adventists around the world that more than just being an event, Global Youth Day was a reminder that Adventist young people are called to a lifestyle of serving the world as the hands and feet of Jesus.
This article was written by the General Conference Communications Department and originally appeared on the Adventist News Network.
Image: Children from Ilala Adventist Church distribute food to an orphanage owned by Sisters of the Catholic Church in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania during Global Youth Day 2018. Photo Credit: Elishana Marwa.
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