Dozens of children and young people march through the streets of communities in Frederiksted, St. Croix, as part of the ending initiatives during the “Impact 24 Your Journey to Joy” evangelism efforts and community impact activities. The march, held on Apr. 13, 2024, drew young residents and their parents to witness the music, positive messages and values upheld by the church’s Adventurer and Pathfinder Clubs. [Photo: Curtis Henry]

Several projects attract young people toward life-transforming programs.

April 23, 2024| Frederiksted, St. Croix, US Virgin Islands | Dyhann Buddoo-Fletcher and Inter-American Division News

“Young People are a Force to be Reckoned with,” exclaimed Pastor Busi Khumalo, youth ministries director of the General Conference (GC), at the conclusion of the “Your Journey to Joy” Adventist Youth Rally held recently in Frederiksted, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands.

Adventurers and Pathfinder members from throughout St. Croix march in communities in Frederiksted, on Apr. 13, 2024. [Photo: Curtis Henry]

Pastor Khumalo’s charge came at the end of a two-hour youth street march that began at Grove Park, continued through selected communities, and ended under a large tent on the premises of Central Seventh-day Adventist Church, in St. Croix, Saturday (Sabbath) afternoon, Apr. 13, 2024. The march was organized by the North Caribbean Conference in collaboration with the GC youth and treasury departments, which spearheaded the two-week Impact 24 Your Journey to Joy evangelistic series and community impact activities.

“Young people, if trained properly, will do wonders,” said Khumalo.  “Let’s understand who we are, and what we stand for as Seventh-day Adventists. When we train our young people to fear the Lord when we train our young people to know the Lord, they are a force to be reckoned with. They are weapons of mass destruction for Jesus,” he said.

Pastor Busi Khumalo (center), youth ministries director of the General Conference stands between Auckland Flemming (left),  Pathfinder area coordinator and Denae Bell (right) deputy Pathfinder area coordinator in St. Croix. Leaders led the street march through several communities to bring awareness to the community about the church’s uniformed groups in Frederiksted on Apr. 13, 2024. [Photo: Curtis Henry]

Every child a member of the Adventurer and Pathfinder Clubs

The group braved the threatening rains. With Khumalo and local youth directors leading the dozens of uniformed adventurers, pathfinders, master guides, and church supporters, and backed by the VI Pulse marching band, they all sang on the journey: ” Everywhere we go, people want to know who we are, so we tell them, we are Pathfinders!”  The march attracted scores of onlookers, including children.

Drum corps members play at Grove park to start the youth march on Apr. 13, 2024. [Photo: Curtis Henry]

“We saw them marching today,” said Kumalo, “people came out following us here. There is that magnetic pull when performers march in their uniforms and this is the ministry that we are bringing to St. Croix.”  It’s about ensuring that every child in every home can become a member of the Pathfinder club, he explained.

“If you want to change the community, if you want to change the church, involve young people in something worthwhile,” he continued. “When young people have nothing to do, they are dangerous. The devil will give them drugs; the devil will give them many things to do; that devil will destroy their lives.”

Onlookers watch the youth parade as they march through their community on Sabbath, April 13, 2024.[Photo: Curtis Henry]

Khumalo explained that in South Africa and other parts of the world, prisons are full of young people. So, he admonished, “Train up a child in the way that they should go. And when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

“We want every child in St. Croix to be a member of the Adventure Club. We have no membership restrictions…if you want your child to be revolutionized and changed, bring them to the Seventh-day Adventist Church, bring them to join the club and list your child in the Adventurer Club,” said Khumalo.

Pastor Leriano Webster, youth ministries director for the North Caribbean Conference, addresses the attendees at the youth rally held on Sabbath afternoon, under a white tent on the grounds of Central Seventh-day Adventist Church, April 13, 2024. [Photo: Curtis Henry]

Connecting with the Community and School

Pastor Leriano Webster, youth ministries director of the North Caribbean Conference, said they chose the march route because the Seventh-day Adventist church often distributes goods in the community. Webster mentioned that they offer community service to demonstrate the love of Jesus and connect with the community they are familiar with. He said, “It’s all about connecting with the community that we are very well-oriented with.”

Leading up to and beyond the street march was a total of five youth engagement projects to advertise the ‘Your Journey to Joy’ Mission Impact, said Sabrina C. DeSouza, associate treasurer at the General Conference, who took part in and oversaw the completion of the projects.

Sabrina C. DeSouza, associate treasurer at the General Conference, speaks at one of five youth engagements session held at the Central Seventh-day Adventist Church, St. Croix, Apr. 11, 2024. [Photo: Curtis Henry]

The first was the GC media team with Pastor Webster. “He got eight youths with social media accounts to promote the evangelistic impact programs,” said DeSouza. “The GC news director managed the accounts and helped the youth to push out the contents.”  The second project was the AI workshop at Central Seventh-day Adventist Church.

In addition, said DeSouza, was the Journey to Joy chapel program at  St. Croix Seventh-day Adventist School. “We had Pastor Busi Khumalo, who did a wonderful charge for the children,” she said.

A young person from St. Croix dialogues with a General Conference treasury team during a youth engagement session at the Central Adventist Church’s multi-purpose center in St. Croix, on Apr. 11, 2024. [Photo: Curtis Henry]

GC team leaders also cleaned and beautified the multi-purpose building, set up basketball backboards and soccer goals at the Central Adventist Church campus as well as held a Vacation Bible School session for children from the community.

Additionally, a group of young people were drafted to perform a skit, informed DeSouza. “This was all arranged by members of the GC team along with local conference leaders, because there was no drama club,” she added. The youth group performed at the Adventist school chapel service, and “the kids loved it,” she said.

General Conference treasury team members paint together with students at a special mural created by Mikaell MicMill a local Adventist artist, at the St. Croix Seventh-day Adventist Church on Apr. 15, 2024. [Photo: Curtis Henry]

DeSouza continued, “Pastor Webster, his daughter, is a student at the school. They did a little TV commercial. He was just getting all the kids involved in the Journey to Joy, and that was awesome!”

The fifth project was the painting of a mural at St. Croix Seventh-day Adventist School.

Grateful for the outreach

Jacinta Berthier, the principal of St. Croix Seventh-day Adventist School, reported that the evangelistic program was successful despite the weather conditions. “I think the weather affected more students not coming out to the evangelistic programs, but I think it was successful because two of our students got baptized at Bethel Adventist Church during the Vacation Bible School program,” she said.

Two treasury staff members clean up the floor of the multi-purpose room at Central Adventist Church in St. Croix, on Apr. 11, 2024. [Photo: Curtis Henry]

One in four students who attend St. Croix Seventh-day Adventist School are not members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

“I am very thankful that the organizers included the school and that the impact did not just remain in the church,” she said.

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