A group of young people from throughout Puerto Rico packed their bags and tents to travel to Utuado, a mountain town in the central part of the island, to engage in mission activities and a table tennis tournament in the community, July 5-15.
The group of 19 young Seventh-day Adventists, ranging from 16 to 23 years of age, distributed food boxes to low-income families, cleaned up streets, painted homes, mowed lawns, picked up debris at parks and public places, and visited several government agencies and homes. The community was invited to two youth evangelism series, one at a community sports court and another at the Barrio Sabana Grande Adventist church. During the series, young people shared missionary books, prayed for anyone who needed prayer, and distributed hot meals.
The initiative, coined as Caleb Mission, is part of an evangelistic program of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in which young people can engage in social and witnessing activities during their summer vacation time.
Utuado mayor Jorge Pérez thanked the Adventist youth for their service in his municipality. “You have come to Utuado to bring us some fun, education, and things that can help human beings to reflect and bring the Word of God,” he said.
Similarly, Carmen Myriam González, director of the Faith Organizations Liaison Office in Utuado, said, “Utuado thanks you, Caleb Mission, and keeps the doors open because you are already part of us.”
Table Tennis Tournament
Sixty-five players showed up for the table tennis tournament and dozens from the community watched the beginner- and advanced-level participants. Music and a special devotional led by the Caleb Mission team began the event and featured Fabiola Díaz, a table tennis gold medalist from the Central American Games, and Jeriel López, a table tennis medalist from the Paralympic Games.
Winners were awarded medals, and the audience was invited to watch the film called Spin at the Angel Lile Medina Amphitheater on July 14. More than 120 people registered to watch the film and signed up to receive Bible studies. Spin is an evangelistic film produced by the Seventh-day Adventist Church and released in Puerto Rico in 2021. The story is about a teenage girl who has problems at home, joins a table tennis club, learns to play the sport, meets someone who helps her find meaning in her life, and ends up playing at a national competition.
“Thank you for blessing our town,” González said. “We have really enjoyed everything you have done and for bringing this [tournament and film] event.” González encouraged parents to motivate their children to become part of mission activities to bless others in their communities.
Utuado’s Municipal Director of Sports and Recreation Gustavo García thanked the youth group for helping during the two weeks in town. “This has been a good experience to engage in healthy competitions, and I hope you can take this initiative to other towns as well,” García said. “I challenge you to serve with passion and continue volunteering in these types of initiatives that will be a blessing for you in the future.”
In addition, Bolivar Bermúdez, vice mayor of Utuado, thanked the youth group and its leaders for their dedication to serving in his town. “Continue to do good not only for Utuado but for our country,” he said. “We need young people like you to take charge of this ship of our country, so that they can get it afloat.”
The town was so thankful to the group that one restaurant owner treated the youth group to a free lunch, and another treated them to a meal. The Caleb Mission group was also featured on the local radio station to explain the initiative and the group’s activities during the two weeks.