More than 1,600 Adventist young men and women from across the Southern Asia-Pacific Division (SSD) were recently challenged to ask for wisdom at the SSD Youth Leadership Summit at Central Philippine Adventist College, in Bacolod City, Philippines. Event organizers encouraged the youth to bravely ask God for wisdom and faith to do mission and take up the responsibility of being the next leaders of the church.
“Ask 2019” is part of the five-year theme of the SSD Youth Department, “Pass it on.”
Gary Blanchard, Adventist Church youth director, shared his excitement as he encouraged delegates to face these challenges and live radically for mission.
“We have to ask ourselves what we want to do for the Lord,” Blanchard said. “God has placed a passion and desire in our hearts to do something. What does He want you to do? Whatever it is, do it with all your heart. Live dangerously for God!”
SSD president Saw Samuel, himself a youth leader, expressed his appreciation to the young people, who came to spend a week asking God for discernment as they prepare for mission.
“The Adventist youth in our division have chosen the right word, the right theme to empower our young people to ask faith and wisdom from the Lord,” Samuel said. “This is the time to ask for God's leading to know our identity, to stand for the truth, and to live in hope and faith in Jesus,” he added.
SSD executive secretary Rudy Baloyo shared his thoughts on how young people can start a movement and make a difference for Jesus.
“It is valuable for our young people to ask for more faith, but not just any faith. [They must] ask for a true faith founded in Jesus,” Baloyo emphasized. “The Bible says that without faith in Him, we cannot please God. The young people of this generation should ask for the right kind of faith that will empower them and strengthen them, and that is in Jesus.”
Delegates to the youth leadership summit joined various activities and attended breakout classes to get acquainted with ways that their skills can be utilized to serve the church.
The SSD Youth Department partnered with the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) to empower youth to become a volunteer workforce that can be tapped by the agency during relief operations.
Other church entities like media ministries, health, communication, One Year in Mission (OYiM), and Integrated Evangelism Lifestyle (IEL) collaborated with the youth department to present options for service that would allow young people to integrate it into the life of the church effectively.
Besides the morning and evening devotionals by several guest speakers, evening sessions included special programs that showcased the various cultures across the region. Delegates were also divided into small groups and invited to fellowship with young people from other places, learning lessons from each other as part of their journey of faith.
On the sidelines of the event, devotional speaker Wilson Aritonang, from Indonesia, explained that the whole purpose of asking from God is to make known and show the glory of God in our lives. “If we understand that, we will see something more than we could have ever imagined, that God has in store for us,” he said.
SSD youth director Jobbie Yabut expressed his satisfaction for the summit but at the same time acknowledged the role of many parents who supported their children in this missionary endeavor.
“This meeting with young people would have never been successful were it not for the parents,” Yabut acknowledged. “They are the ones who dedicated their sons and daughters to become part of the movement that will prepare them for leadership,” he said.