March 18—Hundreds of young adults swarmed Rabaut Park, in Washington, D.C., to offer random acts of kindness in the form of hugs and prayer and passing out free books, roses, food, water and even dog treats. Global Youth Day, a General Conference initiative, dynamically involves youth in a global movement that proclaims the everlasting gospel. Its theme, “Be the sermon,” is taken from the conclusion of the Good Samaritan parable.
“This day is exciting as it unites young people around the globe and offers opportunities to follow in the footsteps of Jesus,” explains General Conference President, Ted Wilson, who joined in the outreach at the park lead by the Potomac Conference. “This isn’t supposed to be a one-time day, but a lifetime of service and activity.” Wilson went on to say that he was proud of the representation in Rabaut Park and was even greeted by an enthusiastic young man, who didn’t recognize him.
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“My wife, Nancy, and I were a bit late, trying to find a parking place,” says Wilson. “As we walked up to the park, this young man in a blue shirt came to us and asked if we’d like some water and if he could pray for us. His prayer, and the interaction overall, wonderfully demonstrates the type of vitality young people exhibit and why it’s so necessary to have them involved in ministry.”
Volunteers came from around the conference to participate at the mega-event at the park and nearly 1,000 are reported to have reached out into their communities within Potomac, some at shelters and nursing homes. “I love doing things like this,” says one participate from the Aspen Hill Spanish church (Silver Spring, Md.). “The reactions you get from people who are so grateful for that one, small act of kindness really blesses you.”
Josant Barrientos, Potomac’s director for youth ministries says the day was a big success and that he’s proud of everyone who was involved. “Young people, you are the hands and feet of Jesus,” he says. “It was a blessing and a privilege to celebrate Global Youth Day by sharing God’s love and answering the call to be the sermon!” Several Potomac youth, along with Wilson, were also interviewed on the Hope Channel after the event.
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