Global Youth Day (GYD), a special Seventh-day Adventist annual day dedicated to outreach and service included record-breaking baptisms in Zambia. GYD, celebrated in March every year, drives hundreds of thousands of Adventist young people around the world to show Christ’s love in their communities. The events of the special day in Zambia moved thousands to give their hearts to Jesus, a regional church leader reported.
GYD 2021, held on March 20, overlapped with a special Youth Week of Prayer (YWOP) and Homecoming Sabbath (HCS), well-known initiatives across the Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Division (SID) church region.
“Every year, local church regions rally young people to get involved in these events,” Busi Khumalo, SID youth and chaplaincy ministries director, said. “This year, despite the ravaging impact of COVID-19, our young people were actively involved in these initiatives.”
The theme for GYD in 2021 was “Reaching Out to Colors, Cultures, and Communities.” According to Khumalo, in Zambia and other countries across the region, young people intentionally reached out to all communities, especially those marginalized. The most impressive result of the youth participation, however, was that many young people dedicated their lives to Jesus, he said.
“Zambia [Adventists] went beyond the obvious and expected because we saw staggering figures of youth baptisms after the Youth Week of Prayer,” Khumalo reported. “Homecoming Sabbath was also a hive of activity in Zambia as thousands were baptized.”
According to Khumalo, Lusaka Conference in the Southern Zambia Union Conference (SZUC) reported 1,900 baptisms during HCS, adding to 1,000 baptized across the SZUC territory. In the Northern Zambia Union Conference (NZUC), leaders reported the baptisms of 12,000 young people, a record for youth ministries in the SID. “What I find even more astonishing is that more baptisms are expected to take place soon,” Khumalo said.
Khumalo said he celebrated the fact that the current COVID-19 pandemic did not deter Adventist Church leaders and young people. “[Leaders] said they attribute this ‘baptism explosion’ to several factors, including dedicated young people, committed leaders, and God’s intervention,” he said. “Every region is doing its best to prioritize youth participation in the mission of the church.”
The SID comprises 12 unions and one attached field, with a baptized membership of more than four million. Zambia has the largest membership in the SID, with a membership of more than 1.2 million.