ATCU's Youth Delegates Join Thousands at World Youth Congress
25 07, 13 12:03 Filed in: Youth
Communication Department, ATCU
On Wednesday, June 26, 2013, seventeen youth and youth leaders from the three countries within the Atlantic Caribbean Union (ATCU) began their journey to South Africa to participate in the much anticipated 3rd World Congress on Youth and Community Service (WCYCS). After an average of twenty-one hours of flying time, the delegates from the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands, and the Turks and Caicos Islands arrived in Cape Town, South Africa to begin the first phase of the WCYCS, which was a week of community service projects.
Upon arrival, they were received with open arms by the leaders and members of the churches from the various districts in the community. The warmth and hospitality of the host families quickly made up for cold weather that would be experienced throughout the trip.
The group from ATCU participated in two community projects. The first was the Vacation Bible School which was held at the Seventh-day Adventist church in the Khayalethu district. The second project involved the fencing, clearing of rubble and debris, and the painting of the children’s Sabbath school rooms at the Good Hope Seventh-day Adventist High School and the adjourning Kuils River Seventh-day Adventist Church. According to the statistics on the Impact South Africa website found at www.impactgcyouth.org , there were more than 65 community projects in both Pretoria and Cape Town, South Africa.
After an eventful week of community projects, the delegates flew to Johannesburg/ Pretoria to participate in the youth congress. Thus, on Monday evening, July 8, after an impressive and inspirational opening ceremony, Gilbert Cangy, youth ministries director for the Adventist world church, declared the congress officially opened. Using the theme “Jesus is in the City,” Gangy challenged each delegate to show Jesus to the people in South Africa and also in the places where they lived.
The sessions were held at the St. George’s Hotel outside the city of Pretoria. There were 3,200 persons from 97 countries registered as official delegates. Each day began with devotions and plenary sessions. Activities continued in the afternoon with workshops and concluded with Spirit-filled and thought-provoking evening sessions. These were interspersed with creative reports from the 13 divisions of the world church
The featured speaker was David Asscherick, co-founder of ARISE, a missionary training center located in Sonora, California, U.S.A., During his nightly presentations, Asscherick , a former punk rocker, now gospel minister, expounded on what he termed several non-negotiable truths, one of which is that “God is Love.”
There were numerous other speakers including Elder Ted Wilson, president of the Adventist world church, and Dr. Ben Carson, noted neurosurgeon. Elder Ted Wilson challenged the youth of the Seventh-day Adventist church to be involved in the mission of the church. Dr. Ben Carson inspired the young people as he recounted many experiences as a neurosurgeon.
On Sabbath morning, July 13, the 3,200 delegates were bused to the Lucas “Masterpieces” Moripe stadium located in Atteridgeville, a suburb in Pretoria, where they were joined by church members from around Pretoria for Sabbath worship. Pastor Ted Wilson delivered the message to the worshippers and Dr. Carson again shared his testimony.
In the afternoon, the delegates, wearing their blue t-shirts with the theme “Jesus in the City” imprinted on the back, scattered throughout the surrounding communities of Pretoria and distributed approximately 20,000 copies of the “Great Hope.” They also prayed for and offered encouraging words to the residents.
On Saturday night, during the closing ceremony, the attendees waited with bated breath as the announcement was made that the next youth congress will be held in 2018 on the continent of Europe. The exact date and country will be announced later. Thereafter, the thousands of delegates from around the world, including the delegates from ATCU, left South Africa, eager and charged to take the message of “Jesus in the City” back to their churches , schools, work places, and their countries.
Contributions by Jewel Ewing, youth delegate from the Turks and Caicos Islands Mission, and Ivor Harry, youth ministries director of the Cayman Islands Conference.