Every two years, the Youth Evangelism Congress, organized by Lake Union, puts in practice a simple concept to furnish our youth “army.” The concept is simple. For every dollar voted for an evangelism project by a local church board, the Youth Evangelism Congress will match the amount with another dollar, for up to $50,000!

Unstoppable

The good news is that young people have been and still are a fearless army for God, and it takes more than a global pandemic to stop them! The bad news is that many times this army was facing the enemy without “weapons” or, better said, “resources.”

Ellen White once said, “With such an army of workers as our youth, rightly trained, might furnish, how soon the message of a crucified, risen, and soon-coming Saviour might be carried to the whole world!” (Education, p. 271)

I believe that as a church we are pretty good at training them because young people bring new energy to local congregations, and rightly trained they must be, but what about “might furnish”? We expect much from them, but how could we furnish them?

Every two years, the Youth Evangelism Congress, organized by Lake Union, puts in practice a simple concept to furnish our youth “army.”

The concept is simple. For every dollar voted for an evangelism project by a local church board, the Youth Evangelism Congress will match the amount with another dollar, for up to $50,000! That means $100,000 dollars exclusively for evangelism projects developed by senior youth and young adults in Lake Union.

As far as we know, there is no precedent in the world where Adventist youth are receiving this kind of support, and we are happy, because this joint effort has made possible, so far, a total of 72 evangelism projects for a total amount of $353,872, divided into the four editions of LUC Youth Evangelism Congress (2013, 2016, 2018, 2020).

To better understand the dimension of this financial support, each evangelism project approved in the 2020 edition of the Youth Evangelism Congress had an average total budget of $6,500. Imagine what young people in your church could do with that, but most important, imagine how valuable they will feel with such support and vote of trust.

There are several experiences to share, from traditional outreach efforts to original and unique ideas. Some succeeded immediately, some seem without fruit, but only in Heaven will we be able to measure all this.

One of these stories occurred in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, where 26-year-old Joshua Guerrero brought an application in 2020 for a “Campus House at University of Wisconsin– Stevens Point.” In 2018 he had presented their first project, but this one was bigger.

To the question, “What is your project about? What is its aim or purpose?”, he answered, “The purpose of this project is to provide a space where college students on our public campus can explore and seek Jesus in a non-threatening environment. Having a campus house/center creates this environment where students not only have a safe place to open up and explore God but also see what living as a Christian is like. As a result, these students can be equipped as leaders and disciple-makers for Christ that winsomely share and live His beautiful truth and vibrancy of the Adventist Church message as found in the Word of God.”

Probably their dream for the rental of this place for evangelism didn't start in 2020, but the vote of trust and the budget were available at that time.

 Youth, young adults and mentors unite to pray at the 2020 Lake Union Youth Congress in Shipshewana, Ind.
Youth, young adults and mentors unite to pray at the 2020 Lake Union Youth Congress in Shipshewana, Ind.

Their full story that blessed their university campus can be found in “Public campus ministry in Wisconsin makes adjustment and reaps windfall” (Lake Union Herald news online, August 12, 2021).

In the same way, but this time from Michigan, Cady and Khaikhai Cin (siblings), Lian Cing and Joseph Kual (siblings), and Tuan Pau came to the 2016 edition of the Youth Evangelism Congress with a dream: to launch the Myanmar Community Service.

They just needed the funds and trust of the church for this ministry, oriented to assist their fellow refugee community in Grand Rapids and Battle Creek. They applied for funds in 2016 and 2018, and received enough to launch their dream.

At that time, their team was working for over 400 people providing any kind of support that a refugee will need. It is possible to imagine that with the strike of the pandemic this ministry could disappear, but that was not God´s plan.

This is part of a report we received in August 2021 from Shirley Finneman, director of Battle Creek Adventist Community Services and Disaster Response, who supports the initiative of Cady and Khaikhai.

“This year their pastor was ordained, and he is in the middle of evangelistic meetings in Grand Rapids. A few weeks ago, in Battle Creek, they had a Youth Camp, and six young people were baptized.”

Worship leaders at the 2020 Youth Evangelism Congress
Worship leaders at the 2020 Youth Evangelism Congress

The list of activities they keep doing is endless and has spread across the U.S. and Myanmar.

"Cady has gone up the ranks to HR at her work. On the side, she runs the Community Services still helping people with paperwork, etc.

“Right now, she is helping with the children in evangelistic meetings in Grand Rapids. On the side, she and others have, after counseling with the NAD, started a private organization to help people in Myanmar to cope with COVID-19.”

Their support for Myanmar during the pandemic was a challenge due that the military government in that country banned doctors from helping COVID patients. But what we can mention is that many miracles happened, and the will to help this ministry is UNSTOPPABLE.

That is precisely what our theme is for the 2022 LUC Youth Evangelism Congress: UNSTOPPABLE. And with all due respect for the pandemic, with God’s blessing, we need to keep our senior youth and young adults Rightly Trained, and Furnish them for the mission.


Nestor Osman, LUC Youth Evangelism Congress director