Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.—Hebrews 13:16, ESV
In a world full of pain and disasters, we cannot stand still. We are privileged to be the answer to someone else’s prayer. God is calling us to share what we have for His glory.
In 2012, when Hurricane Sandy devastated parts of New York and New Jersey, many volunteers joined hands with Adventist Community Services and the Greater New York Conference Youth Ministries Department to make a difference in the lives of those impacted. I recall visiting a family that had lost everything, including the desire to continue living. Our visit to that needy family was an answer to prayer for them. They were praying for strength to continue living. They said the actions and attention from the volunteers gave them strength to survive their trauma and move on.
In another instance, we visited a family that had been without water and food. Without our knowledge, they had been crying out to God for a miracle for days. When we arrived with provisions to supply their needs, they saw agents of God. They praised the God who performed the miracle. We could not have been the miracle for which they were looking if we had not made ourselves available as God’s instruments.
Memories of Hurricane Sandy are once again vivid in my mind as I watched with horror the devastation of hurricanes Harvey and Irma. They have taken lives and destroyed many homes. In the face of these disasters, the Atlantic Union Conference youth and young adults will not stand still; we will be the hands and feet of Jesus.
In a unanimous decision, all the youth ministries directors in the Atlantic Union Conference have decided to shift all 2018 mission trips to the hurricane ravaged areas. We intend to show compassion in action. The initial “Call to Prayer and Action” conference call was supported by many administrators, youth leaders, and others ready to show compassion. Leaders from all levels of the organization pledged their support. We prayed, but recognizing the great need, action plans were laid out in conjunction with Adventist Community Services.
In the coming weeks, months, and year we will send multiple groups of volunteers to help clean and rebuild houses. Anyone who desires to be the answer to a prayer and make a difference may complete the online sign-up form (www. auyouth.com).
Monetary donations are needed to fund the rebuilding projects. Donations will be used only to build houses and help the needy communities. Assessments have been made and several projects have already been selected. By God’s power we shall be the miracle many are praying for.
The Atlantic Union Youth Ministries theme until 2021 is “Share Your Gift, Change Our World.” It is extremely relevant as we face the aftermath of these storms. Now is the time to share what we have and change someone’s world, moving with compassion, because actions speak louder than words. One might say that what we are planning is a drop in the ocean, but like someone said, “even that drop is needed in the ocean.” Share your gift and change our world!
Andrés J. Peralta is director for the Youth, Young Adult, Pathfinder, and Adventurer ministries in the Atlantic Union Conference.