Youth Week of Prayer (YWOP) is an annual event organized by the department of Adventist Youth Ministries of the General Conference of Seventh Day Adventists. YWOP is intended to be a week where youth can experience revival and offers opportunities for youth to connect with each other, grow in their faith and serve their communities.
This year we will be hosting this event between May 15- May21. The traditional conference calendar that we usually follow has these dates as March 18-March 25 but because our church has been impacted by not only COVID 19 but the fact that our church as group does not have a physical place of worship it has been difficult finding venues and slots in our church calendar to carry out our plans. Therefore, we alternatively opted to host this important event during NZ's Youth Week which we feel fits the goal of our YWOP and helps encourage our young people to take on challenges, share ideas and to focus on the positive aspects of being a young person during these unprecedented times.
This annual celebration promises to be impactful for youth worldwide. This year's theme is "love is a verb." Every evening throughout this event our youth have planned to hold 2-hour character development sessions at a local venue based on our theme and guided by materials and resources that have been provided by our Seventh Day Adventist NZ Conference and followed by light refreshments and fellowship (https://youth.adventistchurch.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/12/2023/02/LOVE-IS-A-VERB-Final-Version.pdf?fbclid=IwAR0p4ATc7LSD0qRdJ_ihcAgpkX5g32hTH2My6Fb4uK5J56c1I-O2r8yM0U0). At these sessions we will be preaching to youth in biblical, relevant and illustrative ways sprinkled with healthy and short humorous moments hoping to be an instrument of blessing for many who attend.
These sessions emphasize our message and are the main attraction however, throughout the week we have planned a number of activities to appeal to not only our youth but also to the community. These include 2 public outreaches (Food parcels & Aiding a Homeless Shelter), Fundraising event, youth sports day/BBQ, a game night, a pamper day and a possible trip to the Manukau water park. These activities have been planned to correspond directly to "love is a verb" and the individual readings that take place on each day.
This will be the first YWOP that our church youth department has hosted in 2 years due to unforeseen circumstances. Our young people have become disconnected and more reserved. With this plan we hope to encourage and promote both the importance and strength of our younger generation within our traditional Samoan church as well as within our community. Our YWOP will focus on bringing our young people out of their shells and encouraging them to share what they feel and how they think – not only helping them gain confidence and self-esteem but giving us (youth committee team and elders) insight on how to appeal to them more and implementing support systems they need or wish to see. We want to bridge the gap between our young people and the older generation in a safe place where they feel free and supported to do so.