Young people defy the corona virus
The last youth event together—in many places it has already been one and a half years since then. The joy of reunion is all the greater when a local gathering becomes possible again—even if it comes with many protective measures.
Making music together, enjoying activities together, or attending youth services together—many of these things have not been possible over the last one and a half years. It should come as no surprise that many young people were thus happy to take advantage of any opportunities that arose in locations where restrictions were eased in 2021.
Smaller youth conventions, given the restrictions of COVID-19
It was under the motto “Here we are — Here we go!” that young people from several districts in Switzerland gathered in various different locations on 21–22 August. Each location offered a workshop on the subject of “Sharing joy and sorrow”. The rest of the programme was different, however, depending on the location. In the districts of Bern North and Schaffhausen, for example, the youth toured the attractions of the respective districts in small groups, and then presented them to one another in an amusing—and yet informative—manner. In Toggenburg, the youth had the opportunity to interview Apostle Matthias Pfützner, and in Bern, the young people organised a scavenger hunt which gave the them the chance to become better acquainted with the city and with one another. On the Sunday there was a district-wide youth service conducted by District Apostle Jürg Zbinden, which was streamed via IPTV to all locations of the youth convention.
Numerous young people from Guinea turned up for the two-day youth weekend on 28 and 29 July. One exciting programme gave the young people an opportunity to deal with topics related to teaching and their life of faith. On the Sunday the shared divine service was based on a Bible text from John 1: 9: “That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.” The young people learned that they are called to reflect the light of Jesus. However, this also means that one cannot present oneself to others as the light, but that one must make it clear that Jesus Christ is the light. It is He who makes it possible for human beings to find their way to God. The officiant called upon the young brothers and sisters to let the light of Christ shine brightly in their lives, and to allow themselves to be led by it so that they do not have to stumble “in the dark”.
Outdoor youth services in Northern and Southern Germany
Outdoor divine services are always exciting, especially for the younger generation. In the German cities of Bremen and Plauen, youth leaders planned church services in special locations: one on a farm and another in a quarry. The latter location received some rain, but even that did not tarnish the joy of the young people. They also dealt with nature indoors. Under the motto “Be God's ambassador in the creation”, they had already collected articles on travel, sustainability, and environmental protection before the event, and went on to deal with the topic of responsibility for the creation in the service.
In Bremen, the youth were indeed able to attend the divine service outside in a horse pasture as planned. The young people and confirmands had brought picnic blankets from the comfort of which they were able to watch the service. The members of this “picnic congregation” took with them the message that they can profess their love for God by implementing and keeping the commandments, and thereby experience joy in Jesus Christ.
Benefit concert in aid of flood victims
To gather donations for flood victims in Western Germany—but also to finally have an opportunity to make music together and bring joy to their listeners again—the young people of the Darmstadt district in Germany organised an open-air concert on an outdoor stage on 6 August. When the rain finally stopped, it had already started to become dark. Undaunted, the young people simply set up some candles and thereby created a warm and cosy ambiance.
Even though their rehearsals had only been possible by Zoom, the young singers still managed to thrill their audience. One of the highlights was the song “Well a man”—one of our young sisters had written lyrics describing the longing for Jesus to the tune of the current hit “Wellerman”. It was performed by a soloist accompanied by piano and percussion instruments. The young musicians bade farewell to their delighted audience with the hymns of benediction “May the road” and “May the paths”. The young people were likewise delighted after the concert, because they were able to send over 2,000 Euros to NAK-karitativ in favour of flood victims thanks to the donations of their listeners.