More than 350 Seventh-day Adventist young people from various parts of Nepal converged in Banepa, 17 miles (27 kilometers) east of Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal, for three days of worship, witnessing, and fellowship. Guided by the theme “Anchored in Seventh-day Adventist Truth,” the October 24-26, 2019 event sought to provide young people with a distinct identity in the midst of competing Christian voices across the country.
Leaders shared that the event focused on equipping young Adventists so they can engage in transmitting God’s truth. Smiling and friendly Adventist young men and women from more than 48 churches, house churches, and companies enjoyed the opportunity of developing a better relationship with God and with each other, organizers shared.
“It was a foretaste of what it means to walk together on the way to the heavenly home that Jesus is preparing for us,” they said.
With more than 500 participants, leaders, and visitors in attendance, Banepa mayor Laxmi Narsingh Bade Shrestha officially inaugurated the Youth Congress by lighting a traditional oil lamp.
“Nepal is a secular country having different religions,” Shrestha said. “I call the people of all faiths to unite to build up the country and community so that we can be proud of our country.”
In his welcoming address, Himalayan Section president Umesh Kumar Pokharel emphasized how essential young people are for the nation.
“Young people are the bloodstream of the country, and they have come to encourage each other and energize themselves, as they learn to use their energy for the best of the nation and the church,” Pokharel said.
Presentations dealt with topics ranging from Bible theology to health to social media evangelism. There were also breakout sessions on various practical issues such as how to make friends through storytelling and then introduce them to the Bible; how to be affirmed in Bible prophecy; how to use cell phones to spread the gospel; and how to make friends using the method Jesus used with Zacchaeus.
Leaders also unveiled a book translated by Bhaju Ram Shrestha, a compilation of 103 mission stories from various parts of the world.
Community Service and Worship
On Friday morning, October 25, many felt it a heartwarming experience to see participants spread out to clean up an area in Banepa. Young and old carried garbage bags, wore masks and gloves, and cleaned the city. The Banepa mayor provided the garbage dump trucks.
Adventist young people collected more than three dump-truck loads of garbage. According to the event organizers, passersby were amazed to see these young men and women from different parts of Nepal come together and work to clean up the town. One of the Adventist organizers suggested that in light of the results, it would be very positive for every church to have a cleanup campaign in their village or town. “It conveys the message that God’s children are not just to clean up what is inside but also what is outside,” she said.
Saturday (Sabbath) services included songs, testimonies, and spiritual reflections. The Bible study lesson for the week allowed for a meaningful analogy between ancient Israel and contemporary Nepal.
“Layman Nehemiah and the priest (or mission workers) worked together to build the Jerusalem wall and the temple,” said local church leader Bhaju Ram. “Adventist laypeople and pastors should work together to build up the body and church temple.”
Charles Shultz, a pioneer of the Adventist work in Nepal, shared a few details about his experience.
“Fifty years ago, I started to plant the seeds of the gospel in Nepal,” Shultz said. “Now I am too old, so you, young people, are the future of the church of Nepal. You must finish the work that I started, so Jesus comes soon,” he added.
The event concluded with a charge to do their part in sharing the message of God’s love in Nepal. Participants left with positive comments about the experience.
“I enjoyed making new friends, especially from other parts of Nepal,” one said.
“I loved learning about distinctive Adventist teachings,” another added.
Overall, participants said they valued seeing they are part of a larger family. One of them summarized, “It encouraged me to see the Adventist Church as a whole on the move.” Plans are underway to repeat the experience in 2020, leaders said.