March 18, 2014

AMICUS Volunteers Celebrate Global Youth Day in Metro Manila Park

On March
15, 2014, the country's premiere national park became the site of one of the
more than 100 acts of kindness conducted by Seventh-day Adventist youth through
metro Manila.

Park, in the heart of the city of Manila, was one of the sites for the second
annual Global Youth Day celebration of the Southern Asia Pacific Division. The
event aimed to promote compassion as a lifestyle by encouraging youth to
"be the sermon" via random acts of kindness throughout the city.

82-year-old Mang Noel reacts upon receiving a flower and encouragement cards from a group of Adventist youth celebrating Global Youth Day through acts of compassion in a Manila park, March 15. [Photo: RJ Almocera]Representatives
from AMICUS, an organization for Seventh-day Adventist youth studying in
secular universities in the Philippines, distributed roses, bookmarks, and
coupons to unsuspecting strangers strolling around the park. The bookmarks had
the words, "God loves you," while the coupons bore positive
statements and instructions to the recipient to pass the kind deed forward. The
group prefaced the gifts with singing and an offer to pray for recipients.

The group
also set up a Call and Text Booth in the middle of the park
and invited people to contact their loved ones anywhere in the Philippines for

believe in the power of communication, and we want people to reach their loved
ones. And because God's love is free, our service today is free as well,"
Raffy Hormaza, one of the youth leading out in the booth, said.


Among the
recipients of the group's act of kindness was Mang Noel, an 82-year old who
frequents the park with friends and was touched by the attention from the
AMICUS volunteers as they sang to and prayed for him. After receiving a rose
from them at the end of the prayer, Noel kept repeating, "God bless
you," as he immediately paid the good deed forward by giving each of the
volunteers a brief arm massage. The smile on his face and the twinkle in his
eyes expressed his gratitude profoundly.

A group of
students working on a school project in the park were also treated to a
serenade and prayer. When asked how they felt, the students responded
enthusiastically. "I didn't expect to receive a rose today (after
the prayer) - I'm very touched,” commented one of the students. “Very few
people do things like this nowadays," she added.

blessed to give than receive

After they
fulfilled their good deed quota for the day, it was no surprise that the people
who benefited most from the event weren't the receivers, but the givers.

didn't join programs like this before because I felt shy, but today I
experienced just how good showing compassion to strangers feels," observed
Tristan Duaso, an AMICUS volunteer.

His fellow
youth echoed his sentiments. One commented that "I used to think you can
only show love and compassion to people you're in relationships with, but now I
learned that giving love to strangers is just as meaningful. One mother cried
when we gave her a rose. She said it was her first time to receive one, and it
made her feel very loved."

The group
wasn't alone in the celebration of Global Youth Day. They were joined after
noon by more than 1000 youth from different churches all over Metro Manila for
a Compassion Walk from Luneta Park to Harbour Square, where the event
culminated in a program that was broadcast live through Hope Channel.