Adventist young adults in the Southern Asia-Pacific region (SSD) teamed up with mission-oriented young professionals from across Indonesia, Myanmar, and the Philippines for ten days of volunteer work, November 7-18, 2018. This year’s Mission Adventures trip is the second of its kind in the region.
The call for adventure took delegates to the city of Makassar, South Sulawesi, where, according to local church leaders, the need to reach out is immense, and the opportunity to serve is great. As Indonesia's fifth-largest city, Makassar, with a population of 1.6 million in 2013, is nestled within the 10/40 Window, a region where a large percentage of the world’s population lives but few are Christian. It seemed to be the right place for young individuals who are eager to come out of their comfort zone and do something radical for Jesus, leaders said.
Thirty-two delegates signed up for the 2018 Mission Adventures, which started in Makassar and finished in the Toraja region, 190 miles (about 300 kilometers) north. Activities included medical mission, a youth-to-youth student mentoring program (Youth2Youth), restoration projects at Toraja View Academy (TVA), healthy living workshops for residents in and around TVA, and discipleship and nurturing workshops for TVA students.
Youth2Youth Student Mentoring Program
The Youth2Youth student program prepares young adults to mentor younger generations for ministry and mission, organizers said. The program was conceived as an answer to the growing challenge of young people who stop attending church. The SSD Youth Department deemed this program to be one possible tool to help keep a future generation of leaders in the church.
A number of studies show that one of the reasons young people decide to stop attending church is that no one contacted them after they stopped. Here, church leaders said, is where mentoring comes in, so that both the mentee and the mentor are honed for future leadership. Mentors are trained to deal with the spiritual, moral, and leadership aspects of individuality, while mentees are prepared for mission and organization management within their own spheres.
“The Youth2Youth Student Mentoring Program is a good program for the advancement of youth services of reaching up, reaching in, and reaching out,” said Beverly Yaofifi, one of the 2018 Mission Adventures delegates. “To be able to mentor others, one must allow [oneself] to be trained and be immersed in God’s presence.”
“For me, we cannot impact our society unless we first start within ourselves,” Yaofifi concluded.
According to organizers of the trip, one of their goals is to expand the mission trip program to other areas in the coming months.
Toraja View Academy
Toraja View Academy (TVA), one of the oldest academies in East Indonesia and the only boarding school in the area, is known for its quality of education, local church leaders said. The academy has served as a stepping stone for most missionaries and theology graduates from the region.
Mission Adventure delegates, in partnership with TVA students and administration, worked to renovate and remodel parts of the academy. The activity served as an inspiration for TVA’s more than 400 students who are becoming equipped for the Lord’s work, leaders said.
“Working for the Lord has never been this good,” said Alvianus Saleppang, Mission Adventures coordinator for Indonesia. “All the delegates from different countries and all the students and administration are doing all the dirty work for one purpose. Mission Adventures will never be the same without the opportunity to do service and experiencing it.”
After five days of construction, volunteers had flattened out a field on the academy property, built a concrete stage, and painted the walls of the academy buildings.
Senior Youth Leader Curriculum
Introduced during the early part of the 10-day mission trip in Makassar, the Senior Youth Leader (SYL) Curriculum immerses the delegates in church life situations to develop leadership skills. The SYL curriculum was launched earlier this year by the Adventist Church’s Youth Ministries Department during the Youth Leadership Congress in Germany as the church’s response to the growing need for young leaders.
Mission Adventures 2018 delegates had the opportunity to be the first batch of participants in the SSD territory to complete the SYL curriculum and the first to be certified. They are now tasked to train other young people in their respective local conferences, missions, and churches to take organizational responsibilities, leaders said.
“We have a lot going on during this 10-day journey with spiritual formation, personal development, leadership equipping, and social justice awareness,” said Anthony Stanyer, Mission Adventures Coordinator and Adventist Youth Consultant at SSD. “In a time when our church is becoming concerned about the mass exodus of young people and the rate of disengagement, Mission Adventures is one of the platforms filling a void for the 18- to 35-year-olds, so they can find empowerment and ownership in the movement of the Adventist Church.”
SSD youth director Jobbie Yabut seconded Stanyer’s comment. “The SSD Church Membership is [largely] made up of individuals under 39. This makes our division a young division, and we have an opportunity to maximize on this," he said. “[Mission Adventures] is keeping true to our five-year theme of Pass It On. It is exactly what we are doing. Through Mission Adventures we are empowering the generation Y to become more intentional in leading and mentoring the generation Z Adventists.”
As part of this year’s Mission Adventures program, delegates visited tourist attractions in East Indonesia. Next year’s trip will be to Thailand, October 9-19, 2019.
"I hope that all young Adventists can do the same as we did,” said Maryone Walintukan, one of this year’s Mission Adventures delegates. “It does not mean that you have to join Mission Adventures to be able to do that. Just do what you can and with what you have for the people around you.”