Southern Asia-Pacific Youth Rally Lives ‘Love Is a Verb’ Theme

Thousands of young people serve their communities during Global Youth Day 2023.

Edward Rodriguez, Southern Asia-Pacific Division, and Adventist Review
<strong>Southern Asia-Pacific Youth Rally Lives ‘Love Is a Verb’ Theme</strong>
A group of Adventist young people celebrates Global Youth Day in the Philippines. [Photo: courtesy of the Adventist Youth in Zamboanga, Philippines]

The Adventist Church in the Southern Asia-Pacific region participated in the 2023 Global Youth Day (GYD) celebration, which takes place simultaneously throughout the world. This year’s event, dubbed “Love Is a Verb,” is a call to action for young people to positively impact their communities and the world.

GYD is a unique event in which young people worldwide come together to serve their communities and spread love and kindness. The event is not limited to Seventh-day Adventist youth but is open to anyone who wants to make a difference in the world.

“The theme ‘Love Is a Verb’ emphasizes the need of putting love into action. It is not enough to merely speak about love or express your feelings for someone or something. Love requires action,” Ron Genebago, Southern Asia-Pacific youth ministries director, said. “It asks us to break out of our comfort zones and do something to serve others.”

Young people involved in GYD initiatives were able to choose among a range of service activities, including providing food to the homeless, visiting the elderly, cleaning up the environment, and much more. The objective is to make an impact in the lives of individuals who are in need.

“The future of the church is in good hands. We are raising caring members who are empathetic to the plight of human beings. The church is becoming an attractive institution for a world that needs true peace and genuine love,” Pako Mokgwane, General Conference youth ministries associate director, said. “When love is an action, what we profess plus what we do, begets authenticity; a currency that will help win more young people to Jesus. Through the church, God is raising a mighty army of youth that will finish the work. This is why GYD must not be an event but a lifestyle,” Mokgwane emphasized.

GYD also allows young people to engage with one another and form connections. Young people from many cultures and origins may work together to achieve a shared objective, fostering a feeling of togetherness and purpose.

In the central Philippines, the Voice of Youth (VOY) Unstoppable in Negros Occidental led 260 young people to Jesus during the GYD celebration. 

According to a Facebook post, young people in the central Philippines organized more than 300 GYD sites with the goal of contributing to the fulfillment of the gospel commission by sharing the message of love and salvation with their peers in the area. The VOY Unstoppable program is a youth-led Adventist Church effort in the Southern Asia-Pacific area that seeks to involve and empower young people in sharing their religion with others.

The VOY Unstoppable initiative in Negros Occidental also held various activities such as community services, health seminars, and evangelistic meetings to reach out to others.

“I believe that leading young people to Jesus is one of the best expressions of the phrase ‘Love Is a Verb,’” Von John Sanchez, Central Philippine Union Conference youth director, said.

The group’s efforts were rewarded when they were able to lead more than 200 young people to make a choice for Jesus. The GYD event was a moment of joy and celebration as the youth experienced God’s life-changing power, regional church leaders said. On March 19, some young people continued their GYD program by organizing a blood-donation drive for the community.

“The Seventh-day Adventist Church believes that young people have a special responsibility to play in improving the world,” GYD organizers said. “Young people may improve their leadership abilities, nurture a heart of service, and make a positive effect in their communities by participating in this initiative.”

The original version of this story was posted on the Southern Asia-Pacific Division news site.

Edward Rodriguez, Southern Asia-Pacific Division, and Adventist Review