"hat's what being part of the family of Christ can do - connect young adults from all around the area to learn more about their spiritual roots and each other." Pictured is one of five groups during the tour. Photo Credit: Josue Peralta
This past Sabbath, April 9th, nearly a hundred young adults and staff gathered at the church parking lot to board buses headed for a day focused on Adventist history at the Historic Adventist Village.
Led by Pastor Endi Stojanovic and a handful of young adults, the buses were loaded just before 9 a.m. and soon were off en route to Battle Creek, Michigan. Accompanying the main bus was Erhard Gallo, PhD, Theology professor at Andrews University, who enriched the captive listeners with a crash course on Adventist pioneers. He noted and made parallels as to how contrary to popular belief, they were young adults when the church began. He further stated that it was time for the young adults to step up to the plate. His humor and unique teaching style caught the interest of old and young alike.
Once at the village, the group gathered at the warm historic Parkville Church. It was soon filled with joyous tones of pioneer hymns, led by young adults in attendance. What followed was a Sabbath school which doubled as an ice breaker; groups were divided into yet smaller groups to discuss and explore the connections between some of Ellen White's visions and their Biblical basis. The already warm church was warmed further by heartfelt discussions between Christ-loving young adults.
After an insightful sermon by Dr. Gallo on the prophetic gift, the group marshaled out to enjoy lunch, and then youth-led tours of the village. Most of us were mesmerized by the intriguing stories of how peopled lived in the 1800s told at the would-be cabin of David and Olive Hewitt, the first Adventist convert in Battle Creek and the home of James and Ellen White.
At some point, one of the groups had a family from Malawi, Africa join them, a family who'd made the trip to America in large part to visit the village. The couple, Sam and Ellen along with their two young boys, was accompanied by Ellen's mother who cheerily spoke about how she'd named her daughter as Ellen White's namesake.
After the tours, it was off to the cemetery where many Adventist pioneers are laid to rest. Once there, Dr. Gallo led the large group to select resting places, telling fascinating stories many either had never heard or had long forgotten.
As the tour slowed to a close, the option was opened for a Sabbath cap bonfire put on graciously by Mark and Karen Penrod, and family of the Battle Creek Tabernacle Church. The delicious dinner was made sweeter by conversation between strangers who'd become friends in just one day.
That's what being part of the family of Christ can do - connect young adults from all around the area to learn more about their spiritual roots and each other. This trip did something a typical Sabbath doesn't offer: the opportunity to meet and connect with young adults who aren't in your immediate circle or perhaps don't even attend your church at all. Friendships were made that will mature and broaden the mesh that is Christ's encompassing love.
Josue Peralta is a writer and founder of Attractive, a web design and storytelling studio based in Wisconsin. An avid traveler, you can often find him anywhere but home adventuring with a camera in tow. When not traveling he's the host of the podcast Oatmeal at Dawn, a collection of sermons he's written and preached throughout the country. Above all though, he enjoys loving people to Jesus, his favorite pastime.