16 March 2016 | Novi Sad, Serbia/Dunkirk, France [tedNEWS with Adrijana Grujić] At opposite ends of Europe two groups of people went out of their way to make a significant difference on Valentine’s Day, 14 February.
Youth in Novi Sad, Serbia visited the busiest park in the city to share a ‘big heart’ with the population, while the ladies of Newbold church, England, crossed the channel to the Dunkirk refugee camp in France to hand out 100 roses – making each woman in the camp feel special in the midst of the mud and squalor they face on a daily basis.
This is the second time that Adventist youth have chosen to put the kind of love described in 1 Corinthians 13 into practice and spread God’s love on Valentine’s Day. In addition to the ‘big heart’ picture frame, the youth shared their musical talents with guitar and saxophone, gave heart shaped balloons to the children, and handed out badges and pocket calendars that shared the Apostle Paul’s description of love.
One special attraction was a sharing box where passers-by could select and keep a positive message. The only cost was that they should then write a message in return and post it in the box for someone else. The aim was to encourage young men and women to learn what real love is all about.
TED Youth director, Janos Kovacs-Biro, joined in the activities and complemented the youth for “using every opportunity to mingle with people and come close to them.” He was delighted to see the public’s reaction as, he said, “this brought a smile to the face of so many people, made children happy and provided us with opportunities for good conversations about lasting relationships, including the eternal friendship with God.”
Meanwhile, amidst the squalor and mud of the Dunkirk camp, a group of ladies from Newbold church met with migrants from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and North Africa who desperately look for opportunities to make it across the channel to England. While the Newbold and Dunkirk Adventist churches take responsibility for providing food at the camp every Sunday, on Valentine’s Day they added the special gift of a red rose for the many women who find themselves stranded there.
The result was more smiles and a continued ability to build relationships and give hope. Newbold church volunteers travel to Dunkirk most weekends carrying cooking equipment and supplies such as rice, spices, dates, tea and a substantial amount of fresh fruit. Over previous months they were able to deliver tents, plastic sheets, rope, clothes, blankets, coats, shoes, boots and other useful items including a small amount of specialist, high impact pediatric nutritional products. With the hand-out of roses and the occasional hug, the Valentine’s Day visit brought an extra dose of joy. [tedNEWS]
tedNEWS Staff: Victor Hulbert, director; Esti Pujic, editor
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