August 5, 2017

European Adventist Youth Nail Guinness World Record Attempt

Victor Hulbert, Trans-European and Inter-European Division News

A record-breaking attempt at the world’s largest nail mosaic climaxed Thursday, August 3 in downtown Valencia, Spain. A portrait of Jesus, measuring 15 x 9 ft. (5 x 3 mts.) and comprised of thousands of nails is the result of days of hammering by many hundreds of participants at the European Adventist Youth Congress.

The project was completed by local Valencians and tourists in the city square, photographed from a nearby rooftop, and then certified by local architect Juan Vicente Torres.

I think it is amazing for the people of Valencia to see the face of Jesus

The idea for the nail portrait came from two Spanish youth leaders, Rubén Guzmán and Jonatán Contero, who saw it as a way to share their love for Christ as well as promoting what the Seventh-day Adventist Church believes. “I think it is amazing for the people of Valencia to see the face of Jesus,” said Contero.

People not only saw his face, but had opportunities to talk with youth and pastors, to pick up free leaflets and books, or take their photo in front of the portrait or Guinness World Record poster. They also enjoyed Christian music as Adventist youth walked through the streets and gathered in a circle to sing in the square.

“This is very important because we can remember that Jesus did everything for us,” states Saray Martinez Fernández, a Spanish volunteer. “We want people to know and be closer to Jesus.”

Manel López, a history professor at nearby Sagunto Adventist College, was so excited about the project that he dressed up for the occasion. “I am Martin Luther. With a nail I changed history,” he proudly announced, engaging in conversations across the square.

Almost all congress participants took some time in the first three days to help hammer thousands of nails into the mosaic.

“We nailed the nails because it was a nail that was used to put Jesus on a cross. It was a nail that Luther used to put his thesis on a door in Wittenberg, to testify the about the Good News of Christ. So it’s all about Christ,” said Stephan Sigg, Inter-European region youth director. He was delighted to welcome the nail project as part of the congress activities. “This portrait can now travel throughout Spain and attract people to the story of a nail,” he said.

With so many young people excited to participate in making an impact in Valencia, Emily Amzand, from the Netherlands, seemed to sum up the feeling of many. “It’s our job to reach the world and events like this make people curious, come and talk to us, and ask questions about what we are doing here,” she said. “It gives us an opportunity to talk about our faith and our beliefs.”

And with a picture, even language is no barrier, as Johanna Bannis, from the UK, explained. As most people will recognize a portrait of Jesus, she saw the evening activity as a great opportunity to be able to share Jesus with residents.

“It’s important to get outside the church walls,” Nalishhuwa Ikachana, also from the UK, added. “By us coming out here right now, people can learn more about the church and who God is.”

The papers authenticating the dimensions for this record-breaking portrait have now been signed and submitted to the Guinness World Records authorities. The event leadership now is waiting for its adjudication.