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Excitment Mounts as the Global
Youth Conference Nears
lleluia, for the Lord God Almighty reigns! Words emblazoned in white against the dark screen that backgrounds the drama and fire of final rehearsals here in the Marble Arch Hall of the St. George Hotel, Pretoria, South Africa. Tonight, at 7 o’clock, against the backdrop of that glorious truth, the General Conference Youth Department, under the leadership of Elder Gilbert Cangy, launches, in this hall, its 3rd World Conference on Youth and Community Service.
Elder Tankiso Letseli, president of the Southern Africa Union Conference, the event's host union, can scarcely contain his excitement. Last year South Africa had the world agog about another international spectacle--the World Cup of Football [soccer to Americans]. But this international event is much more than skill and spectacle. "I have looked forward to this event for 24 months," he says. "My 143,000 members and I, in cooperation with Elder Paul Ratsara, our division president, and Elder Busi Kumalo, division Youth Department director, have done all we can to ensure the social, and particularly, the spiritual success of this undertaking. I expect our young people, both locally, and those who have come from all over the world, to be touched, to be changed, to be motivated for mission, as a result of this great meeting."
And the years of preparation, the careful integration of details, and these feverish final preparations, including these intense final rehearsals, strongly argue for the glorious fulfillment of Elder Letseli's deepest longings, and the answer to earnest prayers of Elder Cangy and his hard working, hard praying staff.
I sit in the empty hall--empty of spectators, but alive and overflowing already with the passion of dedicated youth rehearsing their lines for tonight's opening session: Gumboots, 15 South African youth, led by Bafana Nkosi, leaping and whistling, wheeling and chanting, pirouetting and dancing as they sing of cultural pride. And now, the congress’ Praise Team, Porsche Vanderhorst of Brinklow SDA church, Maryland, in the United States, is directing. Hear and be thrilled as they belt out the Adventist Youth anthem, "The Youth of the World for the Man of Galilee." And now I get a preview of the theme song for Impact South Africa, Jesus in the City, July 8-13, 2013. What does it say? "Christ has commanded, 'Go shine the world!'"
Wow! We get it. We know what we're here for. We have heard Thy call Lord Jesus. We are here to focus on You, to turn our eyes and ears to You, to better prepare ourselves, by Your might and power, by Your grace, to shine to the world and shine the world for You. You are Lord. And the world must know. We are here to say it and to let the whole world know: Alleluia, for the Lord God Almighty reigns!
Lael Caesar is an associate
Adventist Review editor, writing from Pretoria, South Africa