Real Issues REAL GOD

March 01, 2003 | Becky Rode

Rally the Troops! Wait, don’t you mean rally the youth? If you had happened upon the Auburn Adventist Academy gymnasium on Jan. 10 and 11, you would have been faced with hundreds of teens hanging out and praising God at the Washington Conference Youth Rally.

What drew all these teens to the conference youth rally? It might have been special musical guests Divine Harmony, from Keene, Texas, and The Tangerine Monkeys, a praise group from our area. Maybe it was the speakers, Pastors Ron Halvorsen Sr. and Ron Halvorsen Jr., a father and son preaching duo. Or maybe it was scripturally-based drama by Wesley Brainard. Whatever it was, everyone seemed to be having a great time. Most importantly, we could all sense the presence of God in that place as we worshipped him.

The theme for this year’s youth rally, which takes place on the second weekend in January each year, was real issues REAL GOD. It was great because it was low-pressure and teens felt comfortable inviting non-Adventist friends. Both days were filled with laughter, worship, and socializing with Christian friends.

The AAA students were gracious hosts, housing many of the more than 750 people in attendance. Kind dorm students allowed two or three strangers to descend on their room for the night.

Every meeting was great! After praise songs with The Tangerine Monkeys, teenagers were amazed by the memory of Wesley Brainard, from Charakter Ministry of the Arts, as he recited and acted out the whole book of Luke! His only script for his drama was the Bible itself. It was amazing to see the Bible really come to life before our eyes! After this, beautiful music by Divine Harmony helped to deepen the spiritual atmosphere around us. They took songs that we have always heard and loved, “Amazing Grace” and others, and, using only their voices, added their own a cappella style.

Halvorson Jr.’s messages captivated everyone. Many times he was able to get his point across through humorous and entertaining stories about such things as being trapped under a barbell loaded with weights. He compared this to how we are sometimes. We feel so weak with all of the difficult issues we are facing in our lives, but God reminds us that His strength is made perfect in our weakness (II Corinthians 12:9), all we have to do is call out for help.

Sabbath afternoon, Halverson Sr. gave his very powerful testimony about growing up as a gang member in New York. When he gave his alter call at the end, the Holy Spirit worked on people’s hearts and 80 teens decided to begin or renew their commitment to God and made their way to the front to pray.

Teens left the Youth Rally with the special reassurance that they could tackle real issues, with a very real God. •