Easily identifiable by their bright blue T-shirts, they came on 25 buses to fill the city streets of Brisbane with a “flood of justice,” after hearing a sermon based on Amos 5:24. With the assistance of a Police escort, 1500 young people from 14 South Pacific nations marched from King George Square to the City Botanic Gardens on January 3 to call for more action to combat hunger in our world.
Adventism has lost its voice publicly and we need to be prepared to re-enter the public arena to speak up about things we believe in.
“It’s significant that we can get this number of young people from across the Pacific region to speak up on something more than themselves,” says Dr Nick Kross, director of youth ministry for the South Pacific Division. “This is about thinking like a contributor and a servant of others, rather than a mere consumer.”
South Pacific Adventist young people call for an end to hunger in the world.
Delegates to the six-day youth congress also had a “poverty lunch” to identify with the hungry and raised $10,000 for the work of the Adventist Development and Relief Agency to fight hunger by foregoing their usual meal. They presented this cheque to Jonathan Duffy, president of ADRA International, together with a photo petition affirming the work of ADRA.
A statement issued by congress participants recognised the reality of hunger in our world—even in a city such as Brisbane. They thanked agencies that work to care for those in need and called for others to join in the continuing and urgent work to end world hunger.
Young people from Papua New Guinea represented their church and their nation in marching to end hunger.
“Adventism has lost its voice publicly and we need to be prepared to re-enter the public arena to speak up about things we believe in,” says Dr Kross. “Micah 6:8 sums up what God wants us to do and this was one way to put this verse into action.”
“It’s exciting to see young people really want to make a difference the world and I was encouraged by the genuineness of their desire,” adds Mr Duffy. “We have not understood the power of the voice we can have in the world. Actually advocating for change is a powerful thing. But this was also a significant demonstration of what can be done. By making a small change such as sacrificing one meal, a significant difference is made when we work together.”
Adventist young people from around the South Pacific marched on the streets of Brisbane on January 3 to call for greater action to fight world hunger.
Groups of young people have also worked in the northern suburbs of Brisbane this week to collect canned and non-perishable food for use in ADRA services across the city. “This is a critical time of year for these agencies who are working to help individuals and families doing it tough,” says Matthew Siliga, coordinator of this community outreach for the congress. “So as visitors to this city, we hope to help feed thousands of Brisbane residents by collecting generous donations from the local community and delivering to these local agencies.”
ADRA Australia has also initiated a campaign to raise the issue of world hunger, launching a video—“Enough is Enough”—that headlines a social media campaign focussed on fighting hunger.
The live stream of the main programs of the South Pacific Division youth congress can be viewed at www.livingministrymedia.com.au. Check program times on that site and adjust for your local time zone.
Regular updates will be posted at the World Changes Youth Congress event page on Facebook.