From New York to Florida, hundreds flocked to the Hilton Stamford Hotel & Executive Meeting Center in CT for the sixth congress of Young Adventist Haitians in America (YAHA) on March 21-24.
YAHA, typically held every four years in various locations, was organized by the North American Division Haitian Advisory Committee and chaired by Ernest Castillo. With one of the largest demographic of Haitian constituents within the Division, the Atlantic Union Conference hosted the event in their territory. Pastor Pierre Omeler, director of Haitian Ministries for the Union, welcomed over 600 youth and young adults to the three-day weekend of seminars, worship services, and outreach.
Under the theme, “New Vision, Same Mission,” delegates were instructed, inspired, and empowered to utilize new strategies and technology to fulfill the Great Commission referenced in Matthew 28. Seminars covered a wide range of topics including youth ministry, career planning, health and wellness, dating and marriage.
A group of YAHA delegates also participated in the Compassion Rally Weekend organized by the Conference’s Youth Ministries Department, during which thousands of Seventh-day Adventists marched against violence across the Brooklyn Bridge and demonstrated acts of compassion in NY.
Some of the other highlights included a 24-hour prayer room; the YAHA Millennium Mass Choir, an impromptu baptism; and a black tie affair which honored youth in Christian service in addition to crowning Styves Romain of the Greater New York Conference and Valerie Anselme of the Northeastern Conference, the first YAHA king and queen.
The next YAHA Congress will be held in 2016 rather than 2017, after an overwhelming number of youth requested the sooner date. A location has not yet been determined but an announcement could be made before the end of this year.
For more information or updates on the next YAHA Congress, like their Facebook page or follow their tweets.