Distributing free bottles of drinking water in Mexico.
Clearing roadside trash in the United States.
Staging a musical concert in the Philippines.
Passing out hand-knitted hats and scarves in Israel.
These are among the acts of kindness performed by thousands of Seventh-day Adventist students and young professionals last weekend as part of Global Public Campus Ministries (PCM) Weekend, a first annual event organized by the Adventist world church’s public campus ministries department.
Students did good deeds on their campuses on Friday, worshipped and fellowshipped on Sabbath, and reached out to their communities on Sunday. Public campus ministries also opened a new website, pcm.adventist.org, that live-streamed youth-oriented content for 24 hours from Friday night to Saturday night.
The goal: to encourage young people to change the world by following Christ’s example of empathizing, engaging, and empowering rather than being entertained.
“The greatest success is that all those who participated in the live broadcasting of Global PCM Weekend and also watched it online realized that public campus ministries is indeed a global movement transforming Seventh-day Adventists to be ambassadors and missionaries for Christ on campus, in the church, and in our community,” said Jiwan Moon, director of public campus ministries, which supports Adventist students at public universities and colleges.
Figures are still trickling in, but several Sabbath worship services were attended by hundreds if not thousands of young people, particularly in Nairobi, Kenya, where local churches were packed to overflowing, Moon said. The largest gatherings met in Australia, Brazil, Britain, Canada, Colombia, Honduras, Kenya, Mexico, Panama, Philippines, Puerto Rico, South Korea, and the United States. On social media, 1,065 users created 1,539 posts with the #GPCMW16 hashtag, creating 2,763,056 impressions.
Read also: Young and Alone on Sabbath? This Weekend Is for You
On the ground, young people distributed water to hikers in mountainous Monterrey, Mexico, on Friday, prompting smiles and requests for selfies on cell phones.
“It is quite impressive how a small bottle of water can break the ice and result in a conversation where they would want to take pictures with the public campus ministries ambassadors,” Moon said.
Young people in the U.S. state of Florida adopted a street and cleared it of trash. In the Philippines, university students conducted a concert for fellow students. In Israel, two groups of youth distributed knitted hats and scarfs to homeless people and passed out bottled water on a Tel Aviv beach.
The scarves and hats, which the young people knitted over the past month, were printed with the words “God is love” and “Hand Made,” the address of the local Adventist church, and the Adventist Church logo, said Ana Filipov, a 22-year-old nursing student and youth leader at the local church.
“It was great to be able to assist these needy people in a practical way and to evangelize those who are not cared for,” Filipov told the Adventist Review.
Sara Cassal, 15, went to a Tel Aviv beach on Friday to hand out bottles of water with slips of paper containing the text, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts” from Revelation 21:6, a short message about the importance of water, and the address of the local church.
“It’s pretty hot here now, so we thought of giving people bottles,” Cassal said.
Moon, who spent Sabbath at a worship service led by young people in Michigan, said he was especially pleased about high demand for the live-stream broadcast.
“Since this was the first Global PCM Weekend, we didn’t know how many people would participate,” he said. “However, when we heard from the webmaster that our official website, pcm.adventist.org, was having trouble handling all the traffic and we needed a secondary platform from which people could watch, we realized that we were dealing with a good problem.”