By Ellie Hannah Elyssa Grace Zoch
|One of the Texas Youth Fest 2016 groups engages in outreach ministry during the July event.
On June 17–18, 1,200 youth from all across the state came together for Texas Youth Fest 2016. Those in attendance enjoyed Bible studies with Ty Gibson, Gabriel Perea, Piro Guzman, Sergio Ochaeta, and Gustavo Squarzon on Sabbath morning, and outreach ministries, praise and worship in the evening. And on Sabbath afternoon the Spanish and English groups broke down language barriers and came together to serve Cleveland. For me, the event was like nothing I had experienced before — and it was amazing.
On Sabbath morning, we all had to draw a number and get into breakout groups of 30-32. I was nervous because I did not know a single person in my group and oftentimes I find it hard to branch out. Thanks to this activity, however, I was able to meet some very agreeable people and started friendships with Christian folks I otherwise would not have had the privilege to meet. When it was time for outreach, our groups assembled for the work.
Outreach endeavors included sketches reenacting Bible stories for onlookers, placing posters with encouraging messages, and many other activities. On Saturday night, the groups came together and we all had wonderful fellowship while competing in volleyball and bubble soccer tournaments.
It was a great getting to know each other while helping others outside of our faith and doing so the Lord’s work. I come from a very small church, with a youth group of only seven people, including my sister and me. Coming to this conference helped me gain a much larger support system. As Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians 5:11, “Therefore, encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.”
|One of the Texas Youth Fest 2016 presenters speaks to a group in Spanish.
Through Texas Youth Fest 2016, I also learned that youth leaders and pastors are available whenever we need to talk to them. I find their counsel encouraging in my faith as well as helpful in my spiritual growth and character building. Even though this was the first youth fest in six years, I am very excited that the Texas Conference is working on making it a yearly meeting. It was an amazing and uplifting occasion that I’m sure was a total blessing to every person who attended. This event helps create enduring friendships through amazing worship and outreach — I believe that this is an event that every conference should consider hosting for their youth and young adults.
—Ellie Hannah Elyssa Grace Zoch is a 17-year-old who attends the Beaumont Seventh-day Adventist Church in Texas.