March 28, 2020

Students Forgo Global Youth Day Activities to Testify Online

Laura Marrero, Inter-American Division News

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic that drove world church leaders to suspend Global Youth Day (GYD) activities planned for March 21, 2020, young people at Montemorelos University (UM) continued their impact activities online.

More than 1,600 students and young people from the Adventist community in Montemorelos had been scheduled to take to the streets to “Be the Sermon” on March 14. Instead, young people accepted a social media challenge as an alternative way to testify online throughout the week.

“In response to the sanitary measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, we had to suspend our plans for outdoor impact activities,” said UM president Ismael Castillo.

The Seventh-day Adventist university in Montemorelos, Nuevo León, Mexico, has moved to online classes to minimize the spread of the virus in the region. While many students left for home, some remained on campus and are following strict measures of social distancing, university leaders reported.

Addressing the students at a special gathering, Castillo said, “As the country is going through this difficult situation, we have to look for the moments in which young people like you are needed to serve the country, the region, the municipal district, and this community, in moments of crisis.”

Neyeni Cruz, coordinator of Doulos Youth Ministries, said, “We wanted to continue to encourage young people to ‘Be the Sermon’ and show their resilience in the midst of difficulties, using these times as opportunities to transmit hope during this special week of prayer.” Doulos Youth Ministries includes Adventurers, Pathfinders, and Master Guide clubs in the area around the university as well as local youth ministries.

Young people from Doulus Youth Ministries proposed what they called the “I Care Challenge” to include the GYD logo in their profiles in their various social media accounts, inviting others to care for the planet and to especially pray for the current situation the world is going through. Young people were encouraged to post prayers in Instagram and Facebook posts and WhatsApp groups.

“‘I Care’ for my friends was the challenge on day three for young people to come up with creative ways to greet one another, avoid physical contact, and testify more actively. On day four, it led us to care for the things we do not know about — for example, paying for someone’s bill or groceries,” Cruz said.

Young people were asked to use the Hashtags #GYD2020UM and #GYD20 during the week.

NoemíJiménez, a second-year communication student, said it was easy to be part of the online impact this week.

“I know that the impact we need to have must be constant, not just for this week, but daily. We may be the only one to share a message, photo, video, or memory verse with another person,” she said. And it’s not only about impacting other persons but also about being blessed and strengthened as one generates positive content, she added.

Kenny Pérez, who is also a second-year student and has 477 Facebook friends, said that he’s clear about social media as a means that young people must utilize more to do evangelism.

“I know my friends will be able to see my posts and maybe skip through. We just don’t know who needs to receive that message, and that’s why we need to do our part,” Pérez said. “We have the commission to communicate the message, and our testimony is part of that.”

“These types of situations help us to grow and to learn, and allow us to get out our creative ideas,” Cruz said. “These are challenging moments, and more will come our way as Christ’s second coming approaches, so these are the times to share impact activities that can show how we are concerned for our world and what is currently happening.”

The original version of this story was posted on the Inter-American Division news site.