Adventist Youth Promote Health and Quality of Life in Albania

“My life has changed since I started participating in the project,” a volunteer said.

Sarah Dornelis and Natiéli Schäffer, Albania Mission, Trans-European Division, and Adventist Review
Adventist Youth Promote Health and Quality of Life in Albania
Team of volunteers in charge of the recent Youth Alive program implementation in Albania. [Photo: Albania Mission]

“What are our expectations when young people come together for a noble cause? When we believe in the influence and power of today’s generation, lives can be transformed,” Delmar Reis, president of the Albania Mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, recently said.

Indeed, during April and May, Albanian youth had the opportunity to participate in ministry through the “Youth Alive” program, a pilot initiative from the General Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church that focuses on young people and adolescents reaching out to others through actions that prioritize all aspects of health and wellbeing.

During April and May, Albanian youth ran Health Challenge, inviting members of the Tirana and Korçe communities to understand and use the eight natural remedies (pure air, sunlight, temperance, rest, exercise, proper diet, the use of water, and trust in divine power). As part of this initiative, citizens were encouraged to complete a brief survey about their quality of life, health, and habits. Survey respondents who were willing to take part in the challenge received a magazine recently published in the Albanian language covering topics on health and well-being.

Klodjana Kolec, a 17-year-old participant, shared her excitement. “When we first started, I faced a lot of rejections, but I didn’t let it discourage me. With the support of my friends and God’s help, we managed to find people who were interested and willing to challenge themselves.” Additionally, she shared how the experience “provided valuable insights into what constitutes good health.”

The Health Challenge did not take place in a vacuum but is a part of an ongoing effort to reach Albanians for Christ. “Throughout the years, various outreach activities have been carried out to foster relationships, build trust, and support the community,” Reis reported. Activities included lectures on physical and mental well-being, healthy cooking classes, health fairs, outdoor movies, and regular meetings that facilitate honest conversations on topics such as smoking, drugs, and sexuality.

Members of the Youth Alive team conduct blood pressure tests to support greater awareness of healthy living within the community. [Photo: Albania Mission]

Fatjon File, now a project leader in Korçe, is a living testimony of the impact of these initiatives. Initially he only intended to attend the meetings and volunteer for a good cause. Over time, however, he felt a deeper calling, began to study the Bible, and eventually got baptized in July 2019. Since then, he has become a church leader himself. “My life has completely changed since I started participating in the project,” said File. “I also feel that the atmosphere and energy of the members have changed,” he added.

File emphasized his gratitude for the opportunity to be a Youth Alive leader. “It’s a dream come true, a tremendous avenue for personal growth,” he said.

“Ministries like Youth Alive help adolescents and youth have better health, resulting in an increased quality of life,” Adriel Henke, Youth Alive director in Korçe, said. “This also provides opportunities for them to develop as leaders and make a difference in the lives of others.”

Reis agreed. “God has an important calling for young people, and involving them in community projects is part of God’s mission to reach people for His kingdom,” he said. “When I read the gospel, I see that healing was essential to the ministry of Jesus. When we take care of people’s physical needs, we also have an opportunity to address their spiritual needs. This is a privilege we cannot ignore.”

The original version of this story was posted on the Trans-European Division news site.

Sarah Dornelis and Natiéli Schäffer, Albania Mission, Trans-European Division, and Adventist Review