Young people from across the South Pacific have been commissioned to share their faith and change their world on the final night of the six-day youth congress on January 5. More than 1100 young people responded to an appeal to commit, recommit and re-focus their lives to Jesus and His mission on the Friday evening, followed by a day of worship, commissioning and celebration.
So many young people have expressed their gratitude and delight with what they have experienced and connected with here—and that has been gratifying for us as leaders.
“The commissioning was a highlight, engaging all our leaders and young people in the world-changing mission of the church,” says Dr Nick Kross, director of youth ministry for the South Pacific Division. “So many young people have expressed their gratitude and delight with what they have experienced and connected with here—and that has been gratifying for us as leaders.”
Dr Hyveth Williams preaches in the Sabbath morning worship service at the South Pacific Division congress. [Photo courtesy: Ben Beaden]
The main congress speaker Pastor Sam Leonor, chaplain of La Sierra University, California, challenged congress participants to be not only disciples of Jesus but also apostles. “I hope these young people will see their local context as a place God has put them to do something big,” he says. “But I also hope they will see that when we worship together and act together, we can change the world.
“This event has been a great ‘slice’ of the church,” he adds. “We’ve had so many different kinds of people and cultures represented and I think there’s something holy about that. It is good for these young people to look around and see what the Church really is. Living together for a week as the church has got to be empowering.”
A choir from Papua New Guinea sings on the final night of the South Pacific Division congress. The 700 delegates from Papua New Guinea comprised almost half of congress participants. [Photo courtesy: Ben Beaden]
The 1500 congress participants worked together again on the last afternoon of congress—writing out the entire Bible by hand, with the pages to be bound as a memorial to the congress. “People really got into it and it was a great achievement of this congress,” reports Dr Kross. “We have had a focus on the Word of God and this was a way to highlight this and get our people engaged.”
Some 1500 congress participants worked together to hand-write the entire Bible in about two hours on Sabbath afternoon, January 5. [Photo courtesy: Tony Knight]
Together with the commissioning, he says the march against hunger was one of his congress highlights. “At one stage, I stopped and looked back at our marchers and seeing the line that stretched almost a kilometre back with banners and all those young people, I felt a sense of pride in our young people and what they were doing.”
But, according to Dr Kross, many of the important achievements of the congress are yet to be seen. “It is hard to measure or explain inspiration, so the real outcome of this congress is not necessarily what we see here but the small and great things that will happen in places across the South Pacific,” he says. “We have empowered these young people and we will continue to support them in their involvement in the mission of the church.”