WiFi-Are You Connected? South Louisiana Youth Federation
In an age when technology dominates the average lifestyle, it was only natural that the organizing committee would seize on such an opportunity to captivate the minds of our youth. However, as the scheduled weekend activities unfolded, youth were not the only ones left captivated. The theme “WIFI: Are You Connected???”
In bold orange and blue with the question in florescent green decorated the tri-fold – double-sided program. According to a humbly- elated first year president Earniesha Lott , “The aim of the theme was to bring awareness to our youth that we’re living in the last days and therefore, like never before, the need to be connected to Christ.” She went on to add that the culminating program took nearly ten months of planning which included multiple meetings, numerous phone conferences, and of course, a tremendous amount of prayer. “It was a joy to welcome the nearly filled to capacity opening night audience to the Faith church which hosted the Friday night service. “
Opening night featured youth from Lake Charles, Hammond, New Orleans, and of course, Baton Rouge showcasing their God-given talents in song, liturgical dance, instrumental music, and mime. Then it was time for the vesper thought given by outgoing youth director, Pastor Helvis Moody. Capitalizing on the theme, and with John 1:9 “The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world” as his scripture, he posed the anticipated question “Are you connected?” He followed with “In spite of our being tech savvy; like Christ, we must never change.” Using the analogy of needing the code to WIFI to be connected, we were reminded that our connection to Christ is unlimited with our bill having been paid by Christ’s blood. “We must have wireless fidelity – faithful enough- nobody where we are. Only then can we be assured of a dial up from earth to glory. “His final admonition to all was “When you’re connected, stay connected!” to a resounding ‘Amen.’ Pastors Moody and Faith’s Michael Bailey then answered anonymous questions previously submitted by youth. Elsie Thibodeaux’s Bible Bowl Spotlight, closing prayer by Bailey brought the evening to a semi-close with mass choir rehearsal for those who remained.
Sabbath’s activities were held at the Berean church where Friday night’s attendance carried over to the extent that extra seating was required resulting in chairs lining the aisles and others occupying the extra pews in the choir area. Before the divine worship service was over, the hospitality committee responsible for the attendance count reported a total of 650 in the sanctuary plus 47 children in Berean’s annex where children’s church was held. Sabbath School took a different approach in that as opposed to presenting the conventional Sabbath School lesson, 27 different children and youth representing various areas of south Louisiana presented the 28 Fundamental Beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in intervals punctuated with musical selections. Lott and her committee left the interpretation of each belief up to the children. What resulted was a conglomerate of poetry, posters, art work and speeches all depicting one of the beliefs.
Then it was Sabbath speaker Pastor Kenn Dixon’s turn. Not only does he pastor the Casalita Drive church in Garland, but he is also the Communication and Media Relations Director for the conference. As well, he is a native son having been born and raised in New Orleans. He began by praising his home federations “which have always been good; and that distinction hasn’t changed.” His message titled “Does the Devil Know You?” caught as few by surprise as some were wondering how this would tie in with the weekend’s theme. It didn’t take long for us to make the literal ‘connection.’ His pre-sermon prayer included how on the previous night, the world had celebrated evil and darkness, but followed with how dawn always follows darkness. Our attention was then directed to Acts 19:1 and the warning of dangers in Ephesus, the home of black magic used to gain health and happiness. “Because he knows he has but a short time, the devil doesn’t want to lose any he catches. We pray but our prayers go unanswered, and we wonder why?” He reminded the youth of the futility of trying to connect to Christ while listening to profanity in music, or watching violence and sex scenes on TV, etc. –all without flinching. Adults didn’t escape as he identified a salacious TV drama popular with many of them. “The devil uses the visual to confuse us into believing that what he presents is ‘just a way of life – no longer limited to the darkness of the past, but is present in mainstream homes now.’ He followed with how the devil and Jesus are after their (the youth) minds. “You can praise dance, sing or mime for Jesus without being connected. Borrowing or stealing somebody else’s signal for connection purposes is analogous to trying to connect to Christ without having a personal relationship with Him. The connection to Christ cannot be manufactured. You are labeled ‘complacent’ if for this federation you’re at the same point of the last federation. Knowing about the power of Jesus doesn’t mean we know Him.” The Holy Spirit utilized Dixon’s alter call resulting in nine youth and adults giving their lives to Christ in baptism.
When asked for her assessment of this phase of the federation, Lott’s response was “The ultimate goal was to create an atmosphere that would bring the youth closer to Christ. We praise God that that mission was accomplished.” The Pathfinder parade with area Director Leonard Cade and his assistant Elaine Harrington leading the way began after lunch. Utilizing a route that took the group through the local community gave them an opportunity not only to distribute literature but also to interact a performances by Xtreme Praise of the Maranatha Church in Alexandria and Radiant Praise of Morning Star in Lake Charles. But it was president Earniesha Lott and Sabbath speaker Pastor Dixon who had the final word as they praised God for the success of the federation and thanked the attendees for their overwhelming support. The night’s socials were a choice between a game night at a local arcade and a basketball tournament at Berean’s gym. Of course, some chose both.
We salute first year president Earniesha Lott and her team and of course, our youth and young adults who taught us that to be truly connected we have to know “We’re in the final Introspection, Intervention, and Investigation .”
By: Evelyn Edwards
Photos by: Gieno & Evelyn Edwards
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