Over 200 Voice of Youth Teams Harvest more than 4,000 New Disciples
Ignited by the Holy Spirit, more than 200 Voice of Youth (VOY) teams in the Southern Asia-Pacific Division (SSD) held online and physical evangelistic meetings and harvested 4,015 newly baptized disciples. Launched virtually on January 15-16, 2021 in SSD the Voice of Youth Ignite is the Adventist Youth Ministries (AYM) response to the I Will Go initiative of the global church. So far there are 2,400 young people in more than 200 VOY Ignite teams (each team is composed of 12 members) that are reaching out to their communities. The initial number is part of the 1,000 teams the VOY Ignite Initiative envisions to commission to reach out to 7,000 new disciples from January to May 2021.
Each team has its own youth speaker, health lecturer, secretary, budget officer, and coordinators for logistics, children's ministry, Bible interests, prayer, music, and social media documentation and reporting. The SSD Adventist Youth Ministries collaborated with the Administration and various departments of the Division in training and equipping the young people for the task ahead of them. A spiritual gift assessment was also done as part of the certification training of each member before they were sent out to fulfill the gospel commission. Moreover, the SSD Prayer Network, an initiative of the Adventist Youth Ministries held days of prayer and fasting for the VOY Ignite to seek God, to surrender, and to entrust this initiative in His hands.
After the training, the Unions/Conferences/Missions conducted commissioning programs to dedicate the young people involved to the LORD before they were sent to the communities for virtual and physical evangelistic campaigns. During the commissioning, the Holy Spirit was recognized as the only one who can ignite the young people to be witnesses in their communities (Acts 1:8). “Your training in the VOY Ignite Certification is helpful but it is useless when you are not empowered by the Holy Spirit. He is your power to witness. He is the One who can ignite the Voice of Youth. You may feel that your training is not yet enough but when the Holy Spirit is with you, He will help you know what to do in time of need,” Pastor Ron Genebago, SSD Youth Servant emphasized. The 4,015 newly baptized disciples testify to the power of the Holy Spirit, and to the dedication of the young people, their youth directors, pastors, and church elders to the ministry.
The initial accomplishment of the Voice Of Youth Ignite has impacted not only to the youth involved but also the youth directors themselves, the church leaders, and church administrators.
Dr. Samuel Saw, SSD President, expressed how the VOY Ignite is a part of SSD’s purpose of existence and what it can do for the youth. He states: “Voice of Youth Ignite is a response of our youth leaders, pastors, and young people participating in God’s plans, and fulfilling the purpose and existence of SSD – “Seeking, Saving, Discipling” through Mission and Evangelism. VOY Ignite is committed on nurturing and discipling our youth to live with a focus on the mission with a priority of Christ’s soon coming. I am certain that as a result of this evangelistic endeavor, young people themselves would be brought to the foot of the cross, be transformed to higher values and heavenly perspectives, and inspired towards developing a stronger faith and trust in God through the enabling of the inconceivable power of the Holy Spirit. Each one would learn to live and walk humbly and serve joyfully before Him, finding both favors from the Lord and His people in this challenging time and unusual situation.”
Pastor Gary Blanchard, GC Youth Director, expressed his deep appreciation for the VOY Ignite. In a WhatsApp text, he expressed: “It is truly a wonderful thing to see so many young people working together in teams to share the ‘Most solemn message ever given to mortals.’ VOY is a spirit-led initiative that propels the younger generation like arrows into the world with God‘s message of warning, comfort, and hope! Because this initiative has been bathed in prayer, I believe it will be a catalyst for finishing the work and hastening the return of Jesus! Thank you SSD Youth and Youth Leaders for truly living out the ‘I will go’ challenge of The Great Commission!”
Dennielle Ceño, a youth from the West Visayan Conference and the speaker for his VOY team shared how the Holy Spirit had guided him during his preaching. He relates: “I feel very blessed when I joined the VOY as one of the preachers. While I was preparing (the message) I really felt the power of the Holy Spirit and…when I was standing at the pulpit I felt I was not alone. I felt that God was with me so that I can deliver the message to our non-Christian friends. I am so thankful to God because there are 16 souls who accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour.”
Ryan Dayaan, an Adventist Youth from Northern Davao Mission and the speaker for his VOY team, testifies: “I was one of the listeners and speakers in the VOY Ignite. Being a listener in the VOY nightly meetings blessed me with more knowledge about our Savior Jesus Christ, it strengthened my faith and hope in Jesus and helped me to grow and mature spiritually. Being a speaker in this event trained me to be efficient in public speaking.”
Dexreal Calibod, a Pathfinder from Davao Mission and the logistics coordinator of his VOY team, shares: “I’m so blessed through this program because this is my first time to join with other young people of the church. I’m thankful for this program spearheaded by SSD to train the youth on how to share the gospel with other people who are eager to hear the Voice of Jesus Christ our Savior.”
Pastor Welnie Miado, SMM Youth Director, chatted on messenger: “Pastor Ron, thank you very much for initiating the Voice of Youth. Many young people were so blessed here in Southern Mindanao Mission (SMM), General Santos City. To God be the glory! We will make this a yearly program.”
Pastor Jemsly Lantaya, SPUC Youth Director, thanked and appreciated all the young people who participated in the VOY Ignite initiative in his Union. He also invited them to join the VOY Expand next year. His union has involved 195 VOY teams which harvested 3,728 newly baptized disciples. He also reported that “On June 13-19, 2021, is the simultaneous meetings for 75 sites that failed to join last week’s schedule due to lockdown situations in their places. Please pray for SPUC.”
Dr. Bienvenido Mergal, SSD Vice President for NDR/IEL/TMI said on a phone conversation that to see young people working for the LORD is a source of joy already. We are after the Total Member Involvement. Baptisms just naturally follow when young people involve themselves in the gospel commission.”
The Voice Of Youth is an initiative of the General Conference, which was introduced during the Youth Congress held in the North American Division on September 3-7, 1947. It is 3 years older than the Pathfinder Ministry, which was launched in 1950. The VOY was the most fruitful initiative among others in terms of leading people to Christ in baptism. (Source: Baraka G. Muganda, Youth Ministry Accent, April-June 2007 Issue).
The SSD AYM will be celebrating the Voice Of Youth 74th anniversary on September 4, 2021. In this celebration, we will thank God for what He is doing in the lives of the youth, and we will hear wonderful stories on how God has blessed the young people in their involvement in the I Will Go initiative through the Voice of Youth Ignite 2021.
To God be the glory!
Pastor Petronio Genebago, SSD Youth Servant
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