To provide the young people of the Southern Asia-Pacific Division (SSD) with a worthwhile lockdown activity on top of the 100 Days of Prayer, the Adventist Youth Ministry (AYM) has launched its “Memorize-A-Bible-Verse Challenge” on April 25, 2020. The challenge aims to encourage young people to fix the Word of God in their minds and to challenge others to do so.
The challenge began from the youth director of SSD who passed the challenge to the union youth directors who then passed it to the mission/conference youth directors who in turn presented it to the young people. As of this writing close to three hundred people including young people, parents, and children have participated. They memorize, recite, and share the Word of God from memory in English, Tamil, Bahasa, Filipino, Laotian, Kadasan, Iban, Chinese, and other languages in the territory.
There are seven steps to the challenge namely: (a) when you record a video say #MemoriseABibleVerseChallenge; (b) recite your memory verse; (c) challenge your youth directors and some of your youth leaders; (d) post the challenge on your Facebook; (e) Use ##MemoriseABibleVerseChallenge; (g) tag the one who challenges you, (h) the video will be shared on SSD youth page (https://www.facebook.com/ssdyouthdept/).
Pastor Samuel Saw, SSD president, in his sermon during the culmination of the recently concluded week of prayer referred to the Word of God as the Sword of the Spirit. He deeply appreciated the challenge of promoting memory verse to young people and children. He said, “I appreciate what some of our department directors are promoting, the memory verse especially in youth and children departments encouraging children and youth to memorize Scripture texts… But this is not for children and youth only but for all of us to fight against the evil force.”
Pastor Gary Blanchard, World Youth Director of the Seventh-day Adventist, also took the challenge by memorizing and recording Psalm 91:2, which says, “I will say of the LORD, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.” He then challenged Pastor Zlatko Musija, the youth director of the Trans-European Division, who in turn challenged Pastor Nick Kross of the South Pacific Division.
Joseph Tean, an Adventist Youth from Penang, Malaysia relates, “I don't always participate in social media challenges. So, I guess this will be the first. [I] have been tagged by Gabriel Diong and challenged by Serdang Adventist Hope Centre.” Joseph then recites: “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: Not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27). (https://www.facebook.com/joluj777/videos/10156758730826114/?eid=ARAIZ4VLnZIfTH6iktKb1-xOkLXPzpzL-K9NY5TkacC9d2_qaDB6ikSfx6KP303_uBjQ7rVGbZPz10-L)
Dr. Steve Kuan, an elder of Bukit Mertajam Adventist Church in Peninsular Malaysia Mission (PMM) joined the challenge and memorized Psalm 91. He commented, “This Psalm 91 of the scripture is very dear to me. It contains so many great promises of God we need during these last days of pestilence and tribulations. I encourage every youth and church member to remember this passage. And the great promise of God is that He will deliver us.”
Alisha Amaldas from Penang English Church testifies about memorizing Psalm 91: “I was going through difficult moments in life like my father had a mild stroke and my mom met an accident, broke her leg, and personally I am having some medical problems. All these problems or challenges make me down sometimes but when I memorize this bible verse, it strengthened me both physically and spiritually. Honestly, I was away from God for some time but through this challenge, I believe God brought me back to Him. The day after I memorized the whole chapter He urged me to memorize another chapter, and it made me connect with God more. I'm truly blessed after I've participated in this challenge.” (https://www.facebook.com/alisha.amaldas/videos/10206902108028271/)
Responding to the Bible challenge, Pastor Renie Ubara, PMM Youth Director states, “In the context of lockdown and moving forward, these are five things that I’ve been blessed with,
(a) Young people needs “young people’s venues” for their talents and knowledge of Scriptures and God to be shared; (b) Virtual or online connection is very powerful to reach up, reach in, and reach out; (c) A deeper thinking on “How we can effectively go beyond just Adventists to non-Adventists in sharing Bible verse?”; (d) The church should seriously take notice of this powerful connectivity; and (e) The Holy Spirit is leading the church to a fresher direction, “How should we respond?”
The SSD Adventist Youth Ministry had been actively promoting both the prayer initiative and the memory verse challenge as parts of leading the youth to fulfill its Vision 2020, which is: “Healthy young people who are enjoying a saving relationship with Christ, loving the Scriptures as their standard of living to reflect a Christ-like Character, passionately serving the Church and Communities using their God-given spiritual gifts, and vigorously fulfilling the gospel Commission in the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Ron Genebago, SSD Youth Director
Seventh-day Adventist beliefs are meant to permeate your whole life. Growing out of scriptures that paint a compelling portrait of God, you are invited to explore, experience and know the One who desires to make us whole.