Young people from local churches and conferences across the South Pacific Division (SPD) participated in Global Youth Day (GYD) on Sabbath, March 20, by attending worship services and serving their communities alongside Adventists across the world.
A General Conference initiative designed to mobilise young people to share the gospel, the theme of GYD this year was “Reaching Out”, with a focus on community service. Although the SPD wasn’t featured in the worldwide livestream this year, many local conferences did celebrate by reaching their communities or holding youth rallies.
In Vanuatu, young people visited patients at Northern District Hospital, sharing from the word and singing songs to patients in an effort to “be the word”. They encouraged them with a verse from Jeremiah 30:17, “‘But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds,’ declares the LORD, ‘because you are called an outcast, Zion for whom no one cares.'” Other young people went out into their local communities to pray for the sick in their homes and sing encouragement to them. “We found that they were lonely and in desperate need, sickness and illness,” a Facebook video said. “So we prayed for them.”
In Fiji, action on Sabbath afternoon was spurred on by an announcement on Hope FM 107 radio encouraging Adventist young people to serve their communities. From there, young people dispatched from Tau Adventist Church, who visited Momi Village, Nadroga, with buckets of essential items to give to single parents and widows in need. In addition, church members handed out food to people from Nandua village in Fiji’s north. Since their day of service, young people have been gathering each night for a youth week of prayer, and livestreaming services to their Facebook page.
In New Zealand, more than 100 young people gathered for their youth rally the week before, on March 13, at Maranatha Church (Rotorua). Speaker Sarah-Jane Riley, discipleship pastor for the South New Zealand Conference, spoke on the theme “Faith Fuel”. Due to Level 2 COVID-19 restrictions in the country, the event was adjusted to have two sessions—one at 11am followed by lunch in the hall, and another at 3pm followed by refreshments.
In Greater Sydney Conference (GSC), more than 350 young people gathered in the Hills Adventist College multipurpose centre, after their original venue at Crosslands Convention Centre nearly flooded. Their theme for the youth rally was “Ekklesia”—the Greek word that Jesus used to first declare the church in Matthew 16—with young people gathering for the first time in many months to enjoy praise and worship by Mt Druitt Samoan Church, special items, preaching by young people Hamish Kadrian (Wahroonga church), Jessica Shipton (Kellyville church) and new associate youth director Moses Depaz.
“I love how the person of Jesus brings together so many cultures through His uniting love and empowers them to declare His goodness to the world. Church is not a building or a program, it’s us!” read a Facebook post by GSC youth director Simon Gigliotti.
South Queensland Conference (SQC) also celebrated a youth rally on March 20, with hundreds of young people gathering at 8:30am for a pancake breakfast at Northpine Christian College (Brisbane), followed by a worship service at 10am with a sermon from Pastor Andrew Aofaga Feaveai. This was followed by haystacks for lunch, and a touch-football competition the following day.
In South Australia, young people celebrated the weekend by holding an African Youth Conference, which featured vespers, a Sabbath service with a sermon from Pastor Tapiwa Mutseriwa, a panel discussion and sports night.
If your church or conference celebrated GYD and would like to share what you got up to, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out the news submission form on our website.