Adventist Youth Storm Taiwan for Service,
Fifteen Hundred delegates gain insights at world youth forum.
VOLUNTEERING YOUTH: Seventh-day Adventist young people participate in community service projects in the run-up to the World Youth Congress held in Taipei, Taiwan.ifteen hundred Seventh-day Adventist youth—one third of whom had participated in community service projects—descended on the island of Taiwan for a four-day youth conference in which the themes of service and evangelism were stressed.
The Second World Conf-erence on Youth and Com-munity Service (WCYCS) officially opened Tuesday afternoon, January 1, in Taipei, and brought together Seventh-day Adventists from a number of countries, according to the world church’s Youth Department.
“I didn’t want to sleep,” said Dean Tichborne, a youth delegate from the church’s South Pacific region. “Taiwan was awesome! I had a blast and loved it fully.”
The event’s theme—“Love, Care, Serve”—was the main emphasis of the conference, as well as the community service projects that impacted communities through the volunteer efforts of youth and young adults. According to the world church’s Youth Department, a total of 30 community service projects were conducted in Taiwan between December 24 and 28, 2007, prior to the conference’s start.
YOUTH DELEGATES: Part of the congregation of young Seventh-day Adventists at the World Youth Congress in Taipei, TaiwanAt the conference delegates were challenged, motivated, and reenergized through morning and evening worship, plenary sessions, and seminars. Every morning attendees received encouragement and additional skills to help reach communities globally from the session’s three plenary speakers: Paul Tompkins of the Trans-European Division, world church general vice president Ella Simmons, and Leslie Pollard of Loma Linda University. Devotional speakers Mark Finley, also a general vice president of the world church, and Furman Fordham, pastor of the Riverside Chapel Seventh-day Adventist Church in Nashville, Tennessee, challenged delegates “with their powerful, Bible-based messages,” as one participant said.
Tompkins said the event “was a significant event for Seventh-day Adventist youth ministry. It met the three most important needs of Christian young adults today–warm fellowship, spiritual refreshing, and an opportunity for service. It also celebrated 100 years of Adventist youth ministry in a timely and relevant manner while reaffirming our ongoing commitment to the twin goals of salvation and service.”
After observing the community service projects and the quality of the program presented by the World Conference on Youth and Community Service delegates, the Taipei County government extended an invitation to the Seventh-day Adventist Church to establish international schools in Taipei, where subjects will be taught in English. Government officials also thanked the delegates for coming to Taiwan and helping their communities in such positive ways.
PRAYER TIME: Adventist Church leaders including general vice president Armando Miranda, youth ministries director Baraka Muganda, and John W. Ash III, president of the Adventist Church in Taiwan, pray during annual drum ceremony held by Taiwanese government.Loma Linda University’s Pollard said he was impressed with the dedication of the youth who participated in the community service projects. “For the first time in my 30-year leadership career, I witnessed the awesome power of our twentysomethings and thirtysomethings unleash their enthusiasm, vision, and spirituality on a specific community,” he said. “Everywhere we turned, we saw them working on community and village projects. Hundreds of [Adventist] young people swarmed the city and the countryside in an effort to serve the needs of Taiwan. I fully believe that because of their work, the city of Taipei will never be exactly the same again. Loma Linda partnered with the Taiwan Adventist Hospital mission team to provide medical care to persons with severe mental disabilities. It was a blessing.”
According to Simmons, the event also reflected positively on the church’s youth ministries. “This success of the Youth Department is an indicator that the Adventist Church of the twenty-first century is in good hands with the youth, who, as the leaders of tomorrow, could usher the church through to Christ’s coming,” she said.
A third World Conference on Youth and Community Service is planned for Cape Town, South Africa, July 15 through 27, 2013, a spokesperson said.
—With additional reporting by Adventist World staff