Thousands of Seventh-day Adventist young people embraced service with passion, out-stretched arms and bright smiles to touch the lives of people in cities and communities across the Inter-American Division (IAD) territory on Sabbath, Mar. 16, 2019.
The annual event coined as Global Youth Day is sponsored by the Adventist world church’s youth ministries department and motivates millions of Adventist youth from around the world to unite efforts and get out of their comfort zones to “Be the Sermon” as they portray the love of Jesus around them.
This year’s focus encouraged the youth to adopt a project that caters to a patient, an orphan, a prisoner, a nursing home, a school, a park and more.
“Our youth here in Inter-America are on fire for Jesus, and we were able to witness what they have been doing and continue doing by adopting the community,” said Al Powell, youth ministries director for the church in Inter-America. Powell who oversees more than 1.5 million young people across the IAD said that the youth took to the streets to show love and compassion through acts of kindness this weekend outdid themselves during this sixth-year-in-a-row territory-wide activity since the initiative began around the world church.
The continuous live coverage of the event was carried on globalyouthday.org where activities held around the world were highlighted. Young people gathered at the media center of Bella Vista Adventist Church in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, the broadcast hub of the IAD’s 90-minute live segment, to share their experience and witness the acts of kindness that took places across the IAD territory.
Throughout Puerto Rico, teams of young people took to the beaches to clean up debris, fed the homeless and police officers, visited homes for girls, sang and worshiped with inmates at correctional facilities, offered prayers for commuters, visited homes for the elderly, cleaned up many homes and spread joy everywhere they went.
At Plaza Colon in the heart Mayaguez, more than 60 people were invited to a concert, health screenings, haircuts, clothes, toiletries and a warm meal – all free of charge. More than 100 young people spent time with the homeless and helped to make their day special in the plaza.
Andrea Collazo drove more than two hours early from Caguas early Sabbath to be part of the assistance to the homeless at the plaza on Global Youth Day. As a first year medical student Collazo quickly stepped into the health screening tent to talk to the homeless and lead them to the glucose and blood pressure tests. She spoke to them to try to eat healthier foods and find peace in knowing that God loves them and is looking out for them.
Manuel Bracero, 56, spent two years living in the streets and six months ago was able to get a room at a home for the homeless. He heard about the event through his friends who also live in the streets and made his way to the plaza to check his blood pressure, get a shirt and enjoy the music.
“It’s good to see that the church cares for us, and they have treated us with a special day,” said Bracero. “We are all like a big family and it’s good to see that my homeless friends are being cared for.”
Church leaders at the Bella Vista Church, where most of the youth volunteered for the plaza activity, are already committing to feeding the homeless on Sundays starting next month.
Collazo said for her it was an incredible blessing to be part of Global Youth Day. “This is part of a global movement, where we are all moving towards the same goal, all moving toward proclaiming His word and making sure that others come to His feet as well,” she said.
Elsewhere in Inter-America, young people marched and spread care packages, held musical concerts, shared food with needy families, painted homes, spread cheer in nursing homes and hospitals, held health clinics, planted trees, visited orphanages, and more.
Global Youth Day was the launching point for youth week of prayer, which is taking place in Adventist churches around the world. To find out more about youth week of prayer, Click HERE