[Photo: Adventist Youth in Zamboanga, Philippines]

Southern Asia-Pacific

Adventist Youth in Southern Asia-Pacific Unite for Global Youth Day 2023

The event is not limited to Seventh-day Adventist youth but is open to anyone who wants to make a difference in the world.

Philippines | Edward Rodriguez

The Adventist Church in the Southern Asia-Pacific region participated in the annual Global Youth Day celebration, which happens simultaneously throughout the world. This year's event, dubbed "Love is a Verb," is a call to action for young people to positively impact their communities and the world.

Global Youth Day is a unique event in which young people worldwide come together to serve their communities and spread love and kindness. The event is not limited to Seventh-day Adventist youth but is open to anyone who wants to make a difference in the world.

"The subject 'Love is a Verb' emphasizes the need of putting love into action. It is not enough to merely speak about love or express your feelings for someone or something. Love requires action. It asks us to break out of our comfort zones and do something to serve others," stated Pastor Ron Genebago, Youth Ministries director for the Southern Asia-Pacific Division (SSD).

Young people who participated in Global Youth Day could participate in a range of service activities, including providing food to the homeless, visiting the elderly, cleaning up the environment, and much more. The objective is to make a real impact in the lives of individuals who are in need.

“The future of the church is in good hands. We are raising caring members (youth) who are empathetic to the plight of human beings. The church is becoming an attractive institution for a world that needs true peace and genuine love,” said Dr. Pako Edson Mokgwane, associate Youth Ministries director for the Adventist World Church. “When love is an action, what we profess plus what we do begets authenticity, a currency that will help win more young people to Jesus. Through the church, God is raising a mighty army of youth that will finish the work. This is why GYD must not be an event but a lifestyle.”

Global Youth Day also allows young people to engage with one another and form connections. Young people from many cultures and origins may work together to achieve a shared objective, fostering a feeling of togetherness and purpose.

In the Central Philippines, the Voice of Youth (VOY) Unstoppable in Negros Occidental led 260 young people to Jesus during the GYD 2023 celebration.

According to a Facebook post, young people in the Central Philippines organized over 300 GYD sites with the goal of contributing to the fulfillment of the Gospel commission by sharing the message of love and salvation with their peers in the area. The VOY Unstoppable program is a Seventh-day Adventist Church youth-led effort in the Southern Asia-Pacific area that seeks to involve and empower young people in sharing their faith with others.

The theme for GYD 2023 was "Love is a Verb," and the VOY Unstoppable initiative in Negros Occidental took this to heart by actively leading their peers to Jesus. They held various activities such as community services, health seminars, and evangelistic meetings to reach out to others.

"I believe that leading young people to Jesus is one of the best expressions of the phrase 'Love is a Verb,'" said Pastor Von John Sanchez, Adventist Youth director in the Central Philippines.

The group's efforts were rewarded when they were able to lead over 200 young people to make a decision for Jesus. The GYD event was a moment of joy and celebration as the youth experienced God's changing power. On March 19, 2023, some young people had a continuation of their GYD program by organizing a blood donation campaign for the community.

The Seventh-day Adventist Church believes young people have a special responsibility to play in improving the world. Young people may improve their leadership abilities, nurture a heart of service, and make a positive effect in their communities by participating in Global Youth Day.

Global Youth Day is an exciting event that brings together young people from all around the globe to make a difference in their communities. The theme "Love is a Verb" reminds the church at large that love requires action and it must be ready to go beyond its comfort zones in order to serve others. Young people who participate in service activities not only make a difference in the lives of those they serve but also develop their leadership abilities and deepen their faith.

The original version of this story was posted on the Southern Asia-Pacific Division website.