Hundreds of Seventh-day Adventist youths across East Jamaica Conference (EJC) joined thousands across the Inter-America Division and the world to impact their communities and make their presence felt in a series of activities which were planned to celebrate the annual Global Youth Day (GYD) on March 18, 2023, held under the theme, ‘Love is a Verb’.
Special emphasis was placed this year on school teachers for the important role they have been playing in educating the nation’s children. This did not however prevent the love from being spread to the sick, the elderly, shut-ins and even people in bars and pubs. The Great Controversy, which was voted Missionary Book of the year for 2023 and 2024, was also widely distributed.
Pastor Joel Jumpp, Youth Ministries Director in EJC, along with his youth ministries coordinators, organized and supported local churches in several community projects involving schools during the week leading up to Global Youth Day. These activities which included hosting school morning devotions, gift donations and renovations, greatly impacted the children, teachers and staff in these schools.
On March 13, 2023, Pastor Jumpp along with other youth leaders lead out in a devotional exercise at the Pembrook Hall High School and on March 17 the Edith Dalton High School, where copies of the ‘Great Controversy’ were distributed.
On March 16, a delegation of youth leaders and administrators from the East Jamaica Conference visited the principal and teachers of the Swallowfield Primary and Infant School with a staff complement of close to forty teachers. The team ministered in song, prayed with the teachers and handed them special tokens of scented candles along with the book of the year. As part of the line-up of activities, the teachers were also provided with free health checks and counselling by health professionals.
In explaining the concept of Global Youth Day to the teachers, Pastor Jump said “if you look at the back of the shirts we are wearing you will see the words ‘Be the Sermon’. It’s not just about talking but putting love in action as we how love others.”
Pointing to the front of the shirt he was wearing, Jumpp said, “This year’s theme is my favourite because it has a big heart at the front that says “Love is a Verb”. He went further to let the educators know that many times it is the teachers who usually give all and go the extra mile to help children learn.
“You are the ones who believe in us and see the possibilities in children. We want to tell you that we love you and appreciate you and we sincerely wish the best for you,” Jumpp said to the teachers.
Coordinator of the outreach to the school and GYD activities overall, Mrs. Cadienne English expressed to the teachers that the activities were conceptualized to show love to the teachers.
“Today we want to show you that we love and value you for the service you give to our children. We have brought doctors to do cholesterol checks, blood pressure checks and they can make a referral for you if that is needed,” she said. “We also have a special token of scented candles that were specially made for you.”
Principal of the Swallowfield Primary and Infant School, Ms. Jacqueline Bailey expressed thanks on behalf of her school family and was very pleased for being selected for the outpouring of love.
“We are very very thankful for you coming and making us feel so special. There are so many things happening in our country with teachers and as educators, we usually don’t think of ourselves or we think of ourselves last but for you guys to come and show us love in action, we are so grateful. You have made our day, you have made our month. Thank you so much and may God bless you.”
Across the constituency, approximately fifty churches in the conference reported active participation in GYD activities most of which involved face-to-face interaction with people in the community and the distribution of food packages and Adventist literature.
On Global Youth Day, teachers from schools in the community were invited to share in the worship service and be recognized by the Youth Ministries Department of the Church. At the Time of Decision tent Campaign now in progress off Mountain View Avenue, six teachers from the community were publicly recognized for their contribution to education and were presented with a certificate and copies of the ‘Great Controversy’ by Pastor Meric Walker, President, EJC.
Publishing Director of the Conference, Pastor Sadekie Beckford was happy with the uptake of the Great Controversy book for distribution by churches and he was pleased to report that over three thousand eight (3800) hundred copies of The Great Controversy book were distributed across the Conference.
At the Cross Roads Church, youths took to the streets where they participated in food and tract distribution. In Port Royal, Adventist youths converged in the park and invited community members to a health fair where blood sugar and blood pressure checks were done. Community children were given gift packages including crayons, pencils, erasers, hard cover notebooks, snacks and primary quarterly. In many communities, Adventist young people visited shut-in members and retired teachers as part of their Global Youth Day activities.
At the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Constant Spring, Adventist youths visited the Laycle Gray Early Childhood Institution and presented Certificates and Gifts to the teachers and other staff members.
“The Lalyce Early Childhood Institution has been around since 1956 and serves the community of Cassava Piece,” said Camille Hanson, Youth Ministries Leader of the Constant Spring SDA Church who took a team of young people with her on a visit to the school.
“Over the years we have had a good relationship with the school and they have had their annual graduation exercise at the Constant Spring SDA Church and they have availed the school grounds for outdoor AY Services and Street Meetings. For our Global Youth Day program it was fitting for us to recognize those who serve at this noble institution. We are grateful to have this school in our community molding the minds our of children,” she said in a post when she reported the activities of her church on GYD.
Over there at the Everton Park SDA Church, youths visited with shut-in members of the church and community, worshipped with them and presented them with care packages with toiletries and basic food items.
In the parish of St. Thomas, Youths were eager to join in the Love March to the Rudolph Elder Park in Morant Bay where the outreach activities included distribution of care packages and copies of the book “The Great Controversy”.
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