Voices From the Dome: Daniel Wahlen

Hopey!” Kids and adults alike clamor for a photo with the large yellow Hope Channel mascot. I peer out through the one-way mesh and “meet” Adventists from all over the world. I feel like a large stuffed toy—pulled, pinched, and hugged. Sometimes it’s amusing when well-known people I admire unwittingly snuggle up for a picture. The world certainly looks different from inside the costume.

But I’m not always “Hopey.” As an 18-year-old Seventh-day Adventist, it is inspiring to see the world church come together here in Atlanta. The halls teem with people juggling meetings, concerts, exhibits, and other exciting GC activities. It’s wonderful to be able to meet church leaders and discuss the future of our church. I have been able to converse with Pastor Mark Finley, Elder Ted Wilson, and Hope Channel president Brad Thorp—all in the same day!

The GC session is also a big family reunion. I find myself embracing old friends whom I haven’t seen for several years. I realize that the Adventist world is growing—and I’m happy about the continued emphasis on spreading the good news.

During the session, a highlight for me was the SONscreen Film Festival, sponsored by the North American Division to support young Christian filmmakers who use the powerful tool of visual communication to share the gospel.

The films shown at the festival included a documentary on missionaries in Chad, a modern retelling of the parable of the prodigal son, and a piece titled “Washed Away,” showing the cleansing power of God and invoking interest in the book Steps to Christ by Ellen White.

Back at the dome, the democratic spirit expressed during the elections and debates was enlightening. I appreciated the support for Adventist youth and education, expressed by the delegates’ voting to affirm the important 2004 Affirmation of Creation statement. I am grateful for this action to keep our institutions a safe place for my friends and me as we enter the world of higher learning.

I am reassured by the session’s emphasis on mission, as well as reformation and revival. We are all charged with a mission—whether we are church leaders, musicians, writers, filmmakers, or church members with other spiritual gifts, we all have a mission to spread God’s love and message throughout the world. I know that I will come away from this General Conference session more inspired to get the job done and forever “Proclaim God’s Grace.”

Daniel Wahlen, a recent graduate of Rio Lindo Academy who plans to study film production at Southern Adventist University

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