Youth mobilized across South American Division to help their local communities.[Rafael Stehling]

General Conference

Young People from Espírito Santo Promote a Week of Social and Spiritual Actions in Greater Vitória

Youth Week of Prayer will unite spiritual programs in churches and social actions in Vitória and Vila Velha this July.

Brazil | Leonardo Saimon and Mairon Hothon

The Youth Week of Prayer began on Sabbath, July 9, and continues until July 16; it is a program that is set in the Adventist Church's calendar for the month of July throughout South America. In Espírito Santo, it includes not only worship services and spiritual revival but also social actions in Vitória and Vila Velha, the two largest cities in the state.

Early on Sabbath morning, volunteers were already organizing the materials that were used for the actions that took place in the afternoon and evening. In the neighborhood of Garanhuns, in Vila Velha, the faithful managed to collect almost 200 pieces of clothes and shoes for the Varal Solidário, which took place at the door of the church, at 3 p.m. The youth class was filled with materials that were to be donated. In Vitória, there were people who woke up early to prepare soup, which was distributed to homeless people sleeping in the Jucutuquara town square.

Pastor Rafael Stehling, leader of Adventist youth in the south center of Espírito Santo and one of the organizers of the initiative, explains that the Youth Week of Prayer takes place in all churches in the country and challenges young people to participate in spiritual and social programs and also serve the community.

“The Youth Week of Prayer is intended to revive the spiritual life of youth, to speak about Jesus to others, but also to make them aware of their civil and moral responsibility as citizens, reminding them of the importance of serving others. If we are more like Christ, we will want to change the reality of the other and build a better society. Throughout the month, we will have social actions in different parts of the state,” emphasizes Stehling.

The involvement of young people attracted the attention of the local media, which gave special attention to the newspaper ES1, from TV Gazeta, a Globo affiliate in Espírito Santo. See below:

The week of social actions had already been highlighted in the religion column of the printed newspaper A Tribuna in the Friday edition, 9.

Volunteering: A Way of Life

One local initiative was featured in their community newspaper. [Mairon Hothon]

One local initiative was featured in their community newspaper. [Mairon Hothon]

Social actions and Christian involvement continued on Sunday in the capital of Espírito Santo. Young people from the central church of Vitória joined together to help clean the senior citizen residence and assist people with mobility difficulties. In Vila Velha, a group woke up early and climbed Morro do Moreno, a natural tourist attraction in the state; they did it at the top of the hill.

During the week, there will be actions in a children’s shelter with respect to situations of social vulnerability, blood donation, distribution of warm clothes for homeless people, and other social efforts for children, assisted by the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) (and, most importantly, the Holy Spirit). During the occasion, young people will dress up as clowns and play with the little ones.

For Pastor Filipe Oliveira, who leads Adventist youth in the north-central region of Espírito Santo, actions that involve intellectual and moral growth bring multiple benefits, not only to those who receive, but also to those who are involved.

“When a person gets involved in volunteer work, they understand the meaning of life and change realities. Studies prove that volunteering helps to reduce stress, helps in treating depression, [and] increases life satisfaction. The benefit happens not only for the emotional, but also for the professional life of the young person. Many companies look at volunteering as a tiebreaker between candidates for a vacancy,” Oliveira explains.

The Youth Week of Prayer program is open to the public of all ages; just look for an Adventist church closest to your home and get involved in the actions. The services usually start at 7 p.m., and admission is free.

This article was originally published on the South American Division’s news site