Report: World Youth Advisory

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From the inception of GYC back in 2001, our goal has always been to work with the Seventh-day Adventist church at every level and in every way possible. Though not officially part of the church structure, we have always been more than just a supporting ministry; we have been a very supporting ministry. This has been shown by, among other things, the fact that many of our top church leaders, including former General Conference President Jan Paulsen, as well as the current president, Ted Wilson (not to mention a host of others) have spoken at our events.

Thus, we were very happy—and took it as a strong affirmation of our ministry—when GYC was invited to participate in the World Youth Advisory near our nation’s capital in March of this year.  The advisory, which is held once every five years (after each General Conference session), was a meeting with the GC youth directors and all the division youth directors from around the world. And we, from GYC, were there—a strong signal that the church wants to work with us in the common goal of empowering our young people to be on fire for Jesus and for our witness to the world of His Second Coming.

During the advisory, the directors all went out to eat, and Yamil Rosario, Sebastien Braxton, Amy Sheppard, my wife and myself were invited. We had a great meal, and then a two-hour discussion about GYC.  No question, we all came away with a deeper understanding of each other and with intentions of finding ways in which we can all work together under the guidance of the Holy Spirit to work with our church in as a whole in proclaiming present truth.

The meeting concluded with the leaders of GYC being surrounded by the division and GC youth directors, who offered a special prayer of dedication and success for us. This was definitely a highlight of my presidency of GYC.

I appreciate the focus of the church youth leadership, their dedication to our mission and message, and their prayerful submission to seeking God’s will in this important work. I was very thankful for the opportunity to be there. As I said, it was a highlight of my presidency at GYC, and the beginning of something that will greatly benefit not only our youth, but our church as a whole.

Here I Am Jesus, Send Me

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Here I am Lord, send me. It sounds cliché when it comes to speaking about mission trips, but it moves my soul when I know that it was the cry of my heart and God answered it so faithfully. There I was on my couch, knowing in a few weeks I was heading to Honduras with the GYC INTERmission board to plan for the upcoming mission trip. I was excited and yet unsure.

“God, I have no money and I am not sure if you called me to go to Honduras. Maybe I led myself. I’m not sure.” As I prayed to the Lord, I claimed a Bible verse from Matthew that says, “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” (Matthew 21:22)

“Jesus, honestly, have me go where You have called. Make it clear, Lord, so that I would follow Your will not my own. I love You and so I’m asking You to please send me where You would have me to go. Here I am Jesus, send me.”

Within 3 hours of praying, as I went to camp meeting and as I was walking, I heard a man call my name. “Diana.” I saw him and it was a pastor I had only met once and did not know well. We spoke and then he asked me what I was doing in August. I informed him I would be gone to Honduras in the middle of the month and could not help with any evangelistic efforts during that time since I could not commit for a full month of Bible work. He then said that was perfect as he was inviting me to preach a series in Honduras that would end a day before the GYC INTERmission meeting. I was blown away. “Wow, Lord, no way! I have not told anyone my plans yet, but You know the plans You have for me!”

He then said that was perfect as he was inviting me to preach a series in Honduras that would end a day before the GYC INTERmission meeting

I skipped and sang out loud on my way to my friends. It was as if Jesus had sent me a love letter and I could not contain telling the world! Not only that, but when I came back from the mission trip He led some of his servants to cover all my costs! Going to Honduras confirmed in my heart how God had not only been moving my heart to help God’s children in Honduras, but that He had called other young Christian soldiers to the same location!

The presence of the Holy Spirit was working so vividly in Suyatal, Honduras that it made me realize that God has been preparing the people of the community to surrender all to Him for some time. The best part is He wants to use you and me to help be guiding lights for them! I challenge you to pray and ask God if He is calling you to Honduras this summer. I am excited to hear how He will answer your prayers as He calls you to join this mission trip that will transform each of us!

2011 Ecomm Retreat

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Minnesota is not exactly the first place on most people’s list to visit the first week in February—unless it’s for a cause. That’s why the GYC Executive Committee found itself in Minnesota February 2-6, 2011. After a month, it was time for us to get together and debrief the No Turning Back Conference, processing the feedback we received and discussing improvements for future conventions. We also brainstormed projects and opportunities for action that GYCers can stay involved in throughout the year.

On Sabbath, we worshiped with the Dodge Center Seventh-day Adventist Church. We were excited to contribute to the local church by leading out in Sabbath School and actively participating in every part of the Divine Service.

Perhaps the most cherished time of the retreat was the time spent in the Word of God together. In anticipation of the 2011 Conference, members of the Executive Committee took turns leading the rest of the team in Bible study on different aspects of the Holy Spirit. If this short series of studies is any indication for what’s to come, GYC 2011 will be a blessed experience as attendees from across the globe study the Holy Spirit together.

In One Place

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Those Crazy Millerites. . .

It’s been almost 170 years now since the Millerite movement swept through New England with their powerful tent meetings. Those were exciting times. Intense preaching. Radical commitments. These people were yearning for the kingdom of God. They were a force to be reckoned with and would eventually catch the attention of the media. The prominent members of this group would soon become household names across America.

These people were yearning
for the kingdom of God.

In the November 17, 1842 issue of The Midnight Cry Joshua V. Himes described the conviction and fervor that characterized the movement: “We sacrifice time, health, money, personal comfort, and all earthly possessions, to the cause.”  “We have held 30 camp meetings within the last four months.” It’s easy to miss the significance of that. Wrap your mind around it. We’re talking 1842! First of all, that would be amazing even in our day. Yet this was done in difficult circumstances, with poor transportation, and without the modern technology which we take for granted today. That’s awe-inspiring determination. Even the worst enemies of the Millerite movement were willing to admit that.

Why the emphasis on meeting together? Why the urgency on assembling the believers? Is there a connection between their conviction that the Lord was coming soon and their desire to unite together under one tent? Is there a relationship between a passionate love for the truth and an eagerness to join forces with like minded believers? Yes! It seems like this is what Paul had in mind when he wrote: “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together. . . but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10.25

The Day is definitely approaching. And as we get closer to the end, God will bring more and more young people together from every corner of the earth. This is an essential ingredient to how the Holy Spirit leads a movement. But why?

Remember Your Brotherhood

“Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.” 1 Peter 5:9

It’s interesting to notice the context that these words live in. Peter is addressing Christians who are struggling through persecution and have been scattered throughout the world. He’s speaking to people who are engaged in a struggle for spiritual survival in an unfriendly world.

This verse follows the apostle’s often quoted warning about how we need to be “sober” and “vigilant” because the devil is trying to “devour” us like a “roaring lion” (1 Peter 5:8). It’s with this in mind that 1 Peter 5:9 comes into focus. It presents a compelling motivation for us to resist the devil and remain faithful. What is that motivation? “Knowing.” Knowing what? Knowing what is being “experienced by your brotherhood in the world.” In other words, being aware of your fellow soldiers out there! That awareness is essential to our own survival and perseverance in the faith.

Most of us live in our own little circles. We attend our individual churches. Often, all we see is the Laodicean environment immediately around us. It can get lonely out there. Sometimes it’s discouraging. Sometimes it feels like there are few other young people who share our burden to do something meaningful for the Kingdom of God. It’s easy to forget that there are more committed young people than what we see.

And then there’s GYC…

Not just another gathering. But a special reminder that ours is a world-wide movement! We come for a gasp of fresh air. To be refreshed. Inspired. Encouraged. Challenged. I need this because what awaits me out in the world will demand all the guts and glory I can muster:

“. . . to fight the battles of the Lord when champions are few–this will be our test. At this time we must gather warmth from the coldness of others, courage from their cowardice, and loyalty from their treason.” (5T 136)

That’s the real world we live in. Those are the brutal facts. But at GYC we can turn that on it’s head. We gather warmth from the warmness of others, courage from their courage, and loyalty from their loyalty!

I need to rub shoulders with my mission minded brethren from South America. I want to meet those walking testimonies of faith and sacrifice from my people in Africa. I want to shake hands and pray with excited young people from Asia and Oceania. I want to walk through those booths and learn about more ministries starting up throughout Europe.

This fires me up! It makes me want to do more damage on the devil’s kingdom!

See you in December!

GYC Report from 2010 GC Session

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As President of GYC, I was sent to the GC Session to represent the vast network of young people who make up GYC. But it’s from the perspective of a regular Seventh-day Adventist layman that I want express my views. And that’s because, of all that I saw, few things touched me more than the fact that, however impressive our church structure is – it’s the lay people, youth included, who are the heart and soul of God’s Remnant.

For starters, unless you’ve been to a GC Session, you can’t even begin to grasp the sensory overload. Even for a young person such as myself – immersed amid the sights and sounds of smart phones, iPads and iPods, laptops, etc. – it was, at times, overwhelming.

It was overwhelming in an inspiring way, because amid all the energy and hubbub, you could sense the dedication, the commitment and the enthusiasm of our members. And though the place was teeming with “church bureaucrats,” I still came away convicted of the role laity has in doing the work that God has called us to do.

I was also impressed by the sheer volume and diversity that makes up the Adventist church. It’s amazing, laypeople and church leaders from all over the world, from all walks of life, people who would have nothing in common were it not for the truths that we have been given.

I also couldn’t help be amazed, too, at how the church operates. It was the democratic process at work, big time. It was fascinating to watch, in fact, the delegates – which included lay people – vote down a measure that the church leaders had really wanted to pass! That’s democracy, and our church without a doubt has it.

The highlight, though, was Elder Wilson’s sermon Sabbath morning, and his appeal to the church to move forward in the truths that we, as a people, have been given. You can read the sermon, you can see it online, but it was thrilling to experience it in person. The place sizzled; that’s the only way I can describe it.

There’s a lot more I could talk about. But, again, in the end, it’s the lay people working with our church leadership who are going to accomplish through God’s grace the mission that we have been given. Thus, I appeal to all the young people involved in GYC to dedicate themselves to the mission Elder Wilson outlined that amazing Sabbath morning at what was, truly, an epochal General Conference Session.