Adventist Youth Make
a Statement in Orlando
United Youth Congress Convenes April 6
BY CARLOS MEDLEY, Online Editor, Adventist Review
More than 3,400 Black Adventist youth, youth leaders, and chaperones, converged on the Orange County Convention Center for the United Youth Congress, which opened April 6 in Orlando, Florida. Delegates came from throughout North America, as well as the Bahamas, Cayman Islands, and Africa.
Zach Hunter gave the keynote message [PHOTO Kenn Dixon].
Sponsored by Black Adventist Youth Directors Association (BAYDA), the convention showcases acts of service
as an essential factor to bringing young people into a closer relationship with Jesus Christ.
With the theme “iServe Movement,” the program opened with a message from Zach Hunter, a modern-day abolitionist. At the age of 12, Hunter initiated the “Loose Change to Loosen Chains” (LC2LC) movement, which raises money to help free 27 million enslaved persons today in Africa and other parts of the world. Through the Internet, the LC2LC movement has helped hundreds of elementary, high school, and college students raise money and awareness about modern-day slavery.
At the age of 15, the Colorado youth wrote his first book, Be the Change, a call for teenagers to make a difference in their world. Now, at age 19, Hunter has published three books and he constantly travels sharing his testimony and serving as a spokesperson for several ministries. He has also been an official guest at the White House.
In his message, Hunter cited Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglas, and William Wilberforce as his personal heroes because they became change agents in eradicating slavery in Great Britain and the United States.
Pastor Mike Polite presided as master of ceremonies for the opening night. [PHOTO: Kenn Dixon]
While Hunter doesn’t believe that he can personally eradicate slavery by himself, he believes his generation can finish the task.
He noted the Apostle Paul’s counsel to Timothy that young people should set an example for their elders and not let people intimidate them because of their youth. (1 Tim. 4:12)
Hunter urged his youthful audience to take the time to find what they are passionate about and to use that passion to serve God.
Wednesday’s opening session was followed by a day of community service on Thursday morning. The delegates participated in more than a dozen projects. “This is not just an event,” says Vandeon Griffin, BAYDA president and South Central Conference youth director. “We want to establish a culture of service so that when delegates leave hear they’ll know that they have to do something for the Lord.”
The conference continues through Sabbath April 10 and includes several workshops, preaching services, a Pathfinder parade, and recreational activities.