No cake; no party. Adventist young people prefer to commemorate their day in a different way: getting their hands dirty and doing good. Global Youth Day (or World Adventist Youth Day, as it is known in South America) was celebrated on Sabbath, March 18, 2023. It mobilized millions of people around the world in solidarity and community service actions.
The motto “Love is Action” drove the activities this year. This motto reflected the idea that the Gospel is not just words; it must be expressed in practical actions, attention, and care for others. In local Adventist churches, young people organized themselves to visit nursing homes and orphanages, donate blood, distribute items (food, clothes, shoes, hygiene kits, toys, and blankets) to welfare institutions and homeless people, etc.
According to Carlos Campitelli, Youth Ministries director for the South American Division, this movement has social characteristics, but it is still missionary work. “The young person always associates the Gospel with practical actions of solidarity and volunteering. They need to feel useful, active in a project that generates impact and change. This is very important,” he says. “But we cannot forget that, in assisting the community, we must also reach it with the message of salvation. Jesus did that; by attending to people’s needs and healing them, He also brought about a transformation in their lives. The healthy and intentional combination of social actions with the preaching of the gospel is the most powerful method our youth can use to bring people closer to God.”
This movement has impacted social media. The official hashtag, #GYD, connects photos and videos posted around the world. Young people are encouraged to post their actions, both to inspire other internet users to also practice good and know they are not alone but a part of a worldwide chain of solidarity.
More information about Global Youth Day can be found on the Instagram profile @jovenesadventistasoficial. Promotional and support materials are already on the website adv.st/diamundialja.
The original version of this story was posted on the South American Division Spanish-language news site.