“Stay at home, keep a safe distance!” is the headline of most recent news around the globe today. At the time of this writing, the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is affecting 213 countries; 190,871 already died and there are over 2.7 million confirmed cases, according to World Health Organization. Unsurmountable worries impact family members and some experience nervous breakdowns because of the uncertainties. Planned church fellowships and conferences, youth camping trips, and departmental activities are cancelled. It changes daily lives, businesses, work, and even ministries.
But wait! Have you ever heard of living in a COVID-free place? While the world is under quarantine and lockdown, we are greatly blessed to live in the beautiful paradise of Majuro, Marshall Islands, and yes, it’s COVID-Free! The local government proclaimed that there are no confirmed cases, but still we have to maintain cleanliness and proper hygiene in our school, our church, and in our homes at all costs.
Given this rare opportunity, we pursued plans for the Global Youth Day 2020 organized by the General Conference for March 21. The theme was “iCare to Refugees, Homeless, and Strangers” and the theme song “Love, Care, and Serve” was composed during the Adventist Youth camp in the Philippines. Uplifting the homeless with songs of cheer, reassuring strangers with a message of faith instead of fear, and giving out “iCare Baskets” made with local leaves filled with simple hygiene supplies, like hand sanitizers, hand soaps, face towels, water and oranges. Smiles and tears were all over the faces of these precious souls that God had died for, and while looking at their eyes, I personally grasped the exceptional joy that can only be found in His service.
Following the GYD20, we conducted the nightly Youth Week of Prayer with the theme “Forgiveness and Reconciliation” and the theme song “Embracing His Love”composed and arranged by our Adventist Volunteer Services missionaries, Shiela Mae Sarvida and Enock Ratemo. Indeed, prayer doesn’t change God, it changes us! It’s evident in the life-changing nightly meetings and guess what? We have been earnestly praying for you as well! We culminated on the night of March 28 at Delap SDA Church.
Furthermore, our Pathfinder and Adventurer classes and activities that started on March 7 continue, under the leadership of our 2nd grade teacher, Master Guide Engie Mae Wales.
We have this great desire that, as much as our island is spared, we will continue serving the Lord, even though trials come, we want to impart faith instead of fear. In 2 Corinthians 4:7-9 (NKJV) it says, “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.”