hile most of Chile celebrated a national holiday in mid-September 2018, thousands of young Seventh-day Adventists traveled to cities around the nation, from Arica in the north to Punta Arenas in the south, to the Adventist Youth Congress held in seven cities. This year’s event was spread out across the cities of Iquique, La Serena, Los Andes, Viña del Mar, Talca, Los Angeles, and Villarrica. The volunteers reached out to communities with the love of God through acts of service.
Comfort and Support
In the arid northern lands of Iquique, young people took to the streets to offer romantic dinners on the beach, free hugs, and messages of hope. As they walked to several strategic points across the city, they shouted slogans such as “God exists, because miracles are real!”
“Today we felt very sad because our pet was run over by a car yesterday,” one local resident said, “but the young people’s support has been a blessing — I love it!”
Another group distributed food boxes and organized a children’s program for families in need.
“We went there and organized a birthday party for one of the little ones,” explained local pastor Samuel Ríos. “We also cleaned a playground, something that made us happy and filled our hearts, because we do it out of love for Jesus.”
With similar motivation and excitement, young people at La Serena visited a Roma camp to clean the surroundings and distribute food and cleaning supplies. Young people also prayed for Sarita, a 4-year-old girl with diabetes.
The young girl’s mother said she appreciated the Adventist youth visit. “It’s great that you came to visit us, to see how we live, and learn about our Roma culture,” she said, tears streaming down her face. “Please pray to God so [my daughter’s] health can improve and not depend on insulin so much.”
The Landmark Flower Clock
In Viña del Mar, young people gathered by the city’s landmark flower clock to advertise the “8 Natural Remedies” — healthy food, water, clean air, sunlight, physical activities, rest, temperance, and trust in God.
Instructions to participants were simple. “Approach people with a question or suggestion,” young people were told. “For instance, ‘Do you exercise regularly? How many times a week? I have a challenge for you: jump with this rope five times, and you can keep it.’”
Similarly, in Los Andes, young people distributed missionary books and visited hospitals to celebrate the national holiday with people who could not be at home. “I thank you for taking the time to comfort other people,” one of the nurses said. “I believe each song they sang gave hope to our patients.”
Building a Home, Embracing Immigrants
In Los Angeles, in Chile’s central region, young people got together to build a small wooden house for a low-income family. One of the young people, a young man who is studying to become a civil engineer, said he used what he has learned to lead the project. “I know how to read blueprints and a little bit of construction,” he said. “And as a young Adventist, I know we must put our gifts and talents to God’s service.”
In Villarrica, in southern Chile, young people cleaned the local beach and organized a national holiday party to get newly arrived immigrants from Haiti introduced to Chilean culture. “I can tell you love us Haitians,” said one new immigrant as he got a crash course on Chilean folk music. “I am so happy.”