Scores of young people converged on Grand Bahama Island this past weekend to attend youth congress 2013.
The event hosted by the Freeport Seventh Day Adventist Church convened under the theme “The Power of One” on Thursday, July 18.
In a spectacular grand opening ceremony filled with pomp and pageantry the Orion Pathfinder Band welcomed it’s invited guests, North and South Bahamas conference officials and honoree Peter Nygard to the melodious tunes of “This is the Air I Breathe” welcoming god’s presence to the conference. As the guests entered the Grand Lucayan Ballroom where the event was held, the Pathfinders color guards under the direction of Officer Wilbert Rodgers presented the flags of nations.
Nygard, who was honored with an award for leadership in his acceptance speech, spoke of his humble beginnings and the pursuit of his dreams which lead to his becoming a fashion designer, philanthropist and multimillionaire. His core message to the delegates was if you can dream and believe, work hard and you will achieve, it doesn’t matter what circumstances you were born into you can shape your destiny.
The night came to a close with a grand gospel concert featuring internationally acclaimed gospel artist Nigel Lewis, Grand Bahama’s very own singing sensation Simeon Outten and Dove 103.7’s divine lady Vanessa Clarke. It was a fitting end to the opening night of the congress giving praise to god in music and song.
Fridays’ sessions began with devotions and mind teasing thoughts, followed by a presentation on ‘Standing Alone.’ During this session the delegates were presented with real life scenarios that would challenge them to stand alone as they represented what is the right thing for a teen to do.
They responded by sharing their own personal experiences and the way they dealt with those situations. It was an awesome time of sharing where the delegates exchanged methods of de-aling with peer pressure and life issues that they are faced with on a daily basis. The afternoon sessions gave the delegates opportunities to hear from industry professionals on budgeting and money management, education, youth and relations and the tools for today to be tomorrow’s leaders. The presenters Pastor Corey Jackson of Detroit, Pastor Paul Scavella of Nassau, Jackie Rahming of Miami Fl and Kelly Duncanson of Grand Bahama gave practical ways for the teens and young adults to make positive changes as it relates to these areas of their lives.
The delegates left these sessions empowered with tools to assist in life building ad personal development.
Sabbath school where a skit of the story of Esther was presented, there was also a power boost where several of the young people shared their testimonies of the congress and how it had impacted their lives thus far. Once again it was amazing to witness the young people’s expression of their love for god and their thankfulness to him.
Worship service began with the congress choir’s rendition ot the theme song “Greatest Days”. It was followed by a spirited praise and worship service lead by Christine Finley of the Freeport Seventh Day Adventist Church and Mr. David Williams a delegate from the United States of America. The sermon was delivered by Pastor Corey Jackson, pastor of burns Seventh Day Adventist Church in Detroit mi. His message to the delegates highlighted keeping your feet to the right path by allowing god to lead you. He spoke about Manasseh and Moses and admonished the youth to follow Moses’ example by taking of their shoes and allowing god to lead them. During the service eight (8) young person’s recommitted their lives to the lord and two were baptized that very afternoon.
Saturday evening’s session ended with the play “The School of Life” written and directed by Carleta Carolina and performed by M.O.L. Production Company. The play in addressed the issues facing teens and young adults and what the bible says about how to deal with these issues. It was an hilarious time with a strong message to teens and young adults to trust god and his word to deal with peer pressure, poverty, drugs and alcohol and other issues that teens face.
Sunday morning dawned bittersweet as participants said farewell to roommates, new friends and those travelling back to the USA and other Bahamian islands after a wonderful weekend of sharing, fun, learning and empowerment.
During the closeout the participants all expressed anticipation of next’s year’s congress and once again gathering together with youth from all over the world for an exciting and empowering time.