02 August 2022 | Lahti, Finland [Vanesa Pizzuto]
Over 2,500 young people from across the Trans-European Division (TED) and the Inter-European Division (EUD) gathered today at Lahti Sports and Fair Centre, in Finland, to take part in the European Adventist Youth Congress (AYC22). The nearly twice-postponed congress is finally here, and the excitement is contagious!
Sunshine, clear skies, and an army of over 100 volunteers welcomed participants to AYC22, the largest gathering of Adventist youth in Europe. From 2 to 6 August attendees are invited to “Plug in”, to take the opportunity to connect with God and one another.
International speaker, David Asscherick, shared a powerful opening message on the importance of unplugging and resting. “We are collectively losing the ability to rest,” Asscherick warned. Yet, resting and periods of intentional boredom are “positively correlated with creativity, generosity and purpose.” To rest in God, “we need to know that he is good and can be trusted,” Asscherick assured. In further presentations Asscherick will also explore how to “plug in to serve”, “to share” and “to live.” Morning devotionals will be led by Daniel Bosqued, Sagunto Adventist College president, who will share insights from the Gospel of John.
Judging by the opening programme, the music of this congress will be unforgettable! The band, led by Niklas Rantanen, a young Finish professional, aims to provide a “variety of styles and genres” to engage a young and diverse audience eager to sing along. The theme song Source of Life is a beautiful piece, which inspires youth to not only love God, but serve others.
Planning the Congress
AYC takes place every four years. However, it was postponed in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “We thought we may have to postpone it again, due to the conflict in Europe,” said Dejan Stojkovic, TED Youth director. “To be here is nothing short of a miracle, we are grateful to all who made it possible, especially the volunteers.”
It Won’t Take 40 Years
In his welcoming remarks, TED president, Dr Daniel Duda, shared how it was while as a young person attending an EUD Youth Congress, that he felt God’s calling into ministry, which would later lead him, years later, to become the president of the TED. “It won’t take another 40 years before one of you is in my position,” Duda assured the youth. “And it won’t be only men, it will be women too.”
What to Expect from AYC22
- Challenges and fun activities to impact the community and make new friends including some Finish cultural experiences, Impact Lahti, a 5K ‘Run to Help’, and an Exhibition of Nations.
- Dozens of workshops available on a variety of topics, including understanding the Bible, particularly in relation to sexuality and disability. Also, can journaling in response to reading the Word help it come and stay alive? How can we understand God’s will vs. our own will?
- Live interpretation available in 10+ languages during the main sessions – and how thankful we are for those with the gift of tongues!
- And for the first time ever, AYC22 is to be a hybrid programme that can be watched live on YouTube and Facebook.
Tune in to be inspired – as today’s generation of European Adventists connect with God through worship, share together, and express their commitment to God for a lifetime of service.
To read more about the planning and launch of AYC22, Marcos Paseggi, visiting AYC22 as Senior correspondent for the Adventist Review, shares his insights.
[Photos/Video: Daniel Kluska]