Adventist Youth Reach Out
in ASI-linked Austrian Event

Generation of Youth for Christ holds first European summit (Posted Aug. 9, 2012)

BY MICHEL LEE, vice president of resources for GYC

More than 1,300 Seventh-day Adventist youth and young adults from 47 countries and five continents gathered July 20-24, 2012, in Linz, Austria, for the first Generation of Youth for Christ (GYC) Europe conference, a synergistic leadership and training effort between GYC in the United States, young people in Europe, and church leaders from various countries. Sabbath attendance was approximately 1,700. With such diversity among attendees, messages and sermons were translated live into several languages, including German, Italian, Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Romanian. GYC Europe was the inaugural international event for the GYC  movement. The Austrian Union served as hosts for the event.

SABBATH MESSAGE: Mark Finley delivers the Sabbath sermon to a packed congregation July 21, 2012, at GYC Europe in Linz, Austria. [PHOTOS: Evan BamBrick]
Alin Ionescu, of Romania, led a group of 60 Romanian Adventist youth on a two-day bus ride to GYC Europe in Austria. With supplies they had packed, they set up camp about 40 minutes away from the convention center and took public transportation every day to the meetings.

“For me personally, I’ve committed my life to Jesus, to serve Him. [GYC Europe] is the place where God touched my heart and changed my life totally,” said Ionescu.

With the goal of galvanizing and equipping young adults to preach the three angels’ messages to the whole world in this generation, GYC Europe offered Christ-centered messages, public evangelism activities, and practical seminars on evangelism. 

During Sabbath afternoon outreach in the surrounding city, attendees distributed 7,186 GLOW tracts and 1,284 books, many of which were copies of The Great Controversy, and administered 786 surveys. They received 72 requests for Bible studies, which will be followed up by the local Seventh-day Adventist church in Linz.

OUTREACH PLANNING: Youth and young adult attendees at GYC Europe planning their Sabbath afternoon outreach efforts.
The conference was the culmination of many years of visioning and praying by European young people who desired to see a movement similar to GYC on their continent.  

“After seeing what the GYC movement had done in the States, [we thought] if the Americans could do it, surely the people in Europe could do just the same,” said Jan Harry Cabungcal, a neuroscientist at the University of Zurich who serves as the director of logistics for the GYC Europe organization.  “We want the three angels’ messages preached to [this] generation of Europeans by our young people.”

The cultural and national diversity of attendees went hand in hand with the conference theme, “The Hour Has Come,” and with the Spirit-filled unity among attendees. Following the Saturday evening devotion, attendees from around the world formed large circles in the lobby, holding hands and singing hymns that reverberated throughout the conference center halls.

ON THE STREET: GYC Europe youth hit the streets of Linz, Austria, for outreach on Sabbath afternoon during the conference.
The GYC movement traces its roots to a small group of American college students who hungered for Scripture, desired a deeper relationship with Christ, and were committed to actively serving Him. The first conference was held in 2002 at Pine Springs Ranch in southern California and was attended by more than 400 youth and young adults. The movement has since brought thousands of young people together each year for an annual five-day conference in the United States, most recently in Houston, Texas. While GYC Europe may be the first international event of its kind, it seeks to continue in the spirit of the apostolic church and of the Reformation, according to its young leaders.

“God calls us to have the experience we read [of] in the book of Acts today, in the end-time generation,” said Gabriel Maurer, executive secretary of the Euro-Africa Division, who attended the event.

According to Justin Kim, cofounder of GYC, the large attendance and committed responses by conference attendees is evidence that young people and the GYC movement will continue to have a significant role in impacting secular, postmodern Europe.

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