Fourteen years ago, a group of young college students came together and began praying for God’s guidance as they planned the first GYC conference. Today it has become one of the largest youth movements in Adventism, and has inspired thousands to reclaim their Adventist identity and become involved in ministry and mission around the world.
For the current GYC executive committee, the questions that weigh heavily on us are: How can we share our burning passion to see the gospel encircle the globe? How do we connect the annual conference experience with everyday living? How do we empower young people to work with and become active in their local churches, schools, and mission fields? We don’t have all the answers, but we want to give it our best effort!
One such effort is a new pilot program we announced this year called GYC Ambassador. Through partnerships with other mission-minded organizations, including It Is Written, Amazing Facts, GLOW, Disciples, ASI, and others, we are able to provide resources that offer information and tools to enable them to become successful in reaching others for Christ. Seventy-five GYC Ambassadors, who now serve in nine different countries, signed up at GYC Louisville to commit to doing ministry in their local area this year. Through monthly training webinars, mentoring calls, and peer-based support, we are already seeing God work in powerful ways!
Kamali, who is participating from Georgia, shares her experience:
I became an Ambassador with the intention of sharing the wonderful experience I had and the wisdom I gained from GYC, with the youth of my church. Before beginning my mission as an Ambassador, there were a few things I was apprehensive about. I wondered how I would be able to start a successful Bible study small group. Would anyone even be interested in attending? How would I be able to keep the momentum of the group going?
The first step I took was prayer, as I knew God had led me to take this opportunity to further His work and win souls for Him. I didn’t feel experienced or “good enough” to take on such a feat, but I have allowed God to show His strength through my weaknesses and lack of experience. For the first week of hosting my small group, I didn’t expect more than one or two people to come, if any, but seven people showed up! I even heard later that they really enjoyed it! When the second week of the small group came, I had allowed some fear to creep back in again and didn’t expect anyone to return. I thought they probably had better things to do. However, the same seven people showed up again and they brought four more friends! Some of their friends were not even affiliated with a Christian church!
It’s been nearly three months since the first meeting and there is a consistent group of 7-12 who look forward to participating in Bible studies each week. Each week, the attendance, participation, enjoyment, and satisfaction of the group surpass my expectations. Outside observers, along with the pastors, elders, parents, and members of my church, have taken notice of how the group is growing and how the youth of the church are consistently going out of their way to participate. We will even need to move to a bigger room soon! Many people want to give me credit for what I am doing with the youth of my church, but I give all the praise to my Lord who has equipped me and granted me favor to do His good work. Praise God!
Rianna and Auner are participating in the Philippines. Rianna recently shared how God is already working:
In 2015, we felt God was calling us to serve His people in the Philippines. When we reached my homeland, the life of ministry I envisioned didn’t really turn out to be the way I expected it would be. The first few months were rough. Doubts started creeping in. We wondered if God had really called us. But we decided to live by faith and not by sight. Just as He paved the way through the Jordan River after a step of faith, I was certain He would do the same as we took a step of faith on this island.
It has now been six months since we took that step. In this time, God has opened doors for us to do Vacation Bible School programs in three different areas, youth development sessions in two locations, soccer clinics, feeding programs in an orphanage and an elderly home, AFCOE evangelism training workshops in local churches, and an evangelistic meeting. For the months of April and May, the Lord led us to run three more VBS programs and another evangelistic meeting. Oh, what a joy it is to serve the Lord!
The GYC Ambassador program has been God’s instrument in guiding our ministry. God calls all of us to finish the work with Him. We don’t need to be worried of the uncertainties because He leads those whom He calls. He has also given us the faith of Jesus to take that big step. We just need to hear the call, follow His leading, and serve wholeheartedly.
Please pray for this year’s GYC Ambassadors as they seek to reach their communities for Christ through prayer, small groups, various outreach efforts, and Bible study. Please also pray for wisdom and vision as we seek to refine this pilot program into something that can make the greatest impact possible to enable young people to get involved in year-round ministry.
serves as the Vice President of Communications for GYC. A graduate of theology from Southern Adventist University, He serves as Associate Pastor at the Richardson SDA church near Dallas, Texas. He has a passion for seeing young people mobilized for service and mission to reach the world for Christ in this generation. He also enjoys nature and the outdoors, as well as reading, technology and graphic design.