The second full day (third overall, including the first evening) I faced a real struggle at AYC2017. For those of us lacking a regular intense workout, AYC2017’s full schedule, including an early morning exercise routine, gave my leg muscles some painful aches. A reminder to keep our whole being in service! What my condition meant, however, contributed to my disappointment at participating in some of the other physical challenges AYC2017 had arranged for us–a plank challenge (exercise motions) set up by the Health Ministry department. The girls showed strength as they held on for a tie with the boys, with each scoring 10 minutes for the longest plank. All this activity represents one of the more interesting features of AYC2017–activities I wasn’t expecting.
Most attendees had a good start this morning because they thought the breakfast quality better today. With our energy level up we headed to the morning journey talks. The central idea was caring for your fellow travelers. The presentation was again a three part series.
Caring for Fellow Travelers
Firstly, we need to use our ears more than our mouths and learn to listen carefully to those that surround us. This is how their needs can be spotted and supported making the listener a caring and relevant Christian.
Secondly, we must think about our legacies. What will people know you for when death takes you away? If the expectations of Paul’s life in this context puts you off, then you must turn your attention towards the often overlooked story of Tabitha, the seamstress. She is introduced in the same chapter where Paul’s miraculous conversion is described (Acts 9). Tabitha’s skillful fingers were more active than her tongue. She positively impacted an entire community and at her death they all mourned her loss. The appeal was to reflect on her story and become modern day Tabithas using our skills to creatively reach others.
Thirdly, we were challenged to face our own character flaws and weaknesses to be able to empathize with others. Doing so would encourage less prejudice against others and rejecting them, and have these feelings replaced with more mutual confessions and sharing with one another. Surrounding ourselves with people who do not shy way from gently pointing out these weaknesses in ourselves, to help us correct ourselves, is essential. Avoid people who seek only to please you.
In the afternoon and evening we broke a world record by building the largest nail-based mosaic in the centre of Valencia. It’s purpose was to direct attention towards the Story of a Nail, the cross, or Luther’s nail, in 1517. As we were waiting for the coaches to takes us there, many of the attendees, in anticipation, began singing friendly traditional songs in support of their countries. The French, Italians, Spanish and Portuguese were the most active. In their unofficial competition an atmosphere similar to one of a final world cup football match was created by the exit–which did grow to be a bit too energetic for the themes we were contemplating. Thankfully, as we got into town the tunes changed to glorifying Jesus once more.
The locals were inevitably attracted to our Guinness World Record attempt. Some were invited to nail their own nail to help form the image of Jesus. Others were nailing copies of Luther’s 95 protests on a makeshift door, and yet others were simply attracted to the music performed by different groups in the square.
The people seemed very responsive to our innovative method of evangelism, and accepted the water bottles of water we were distributing that carried a message on the front. Our enthusiasm seemed to have impressed the viewers.
Being part of today’s outreach activities with fellow young Adventists in such large numbers was truly uplifting and refreshing. There is abundant energy in young people and it can be channeled towards achieving God’s goals. Just as I am writing this blog (it’s after midnight) I can hear praise songs being uplifted to God through music and prayer.
You can learn more about the European Adventist Youth Congress here.