Over 1,000 Master Guides (MG) and Master Guide trainees in the Southern Asia-Pacific Division committed themselves to support the “I Will Go” initiative of the Seventh-day Adventist Church on April 23–24, 2021. The youth leaders gathered virtually via Zoom and Facebook in a division-wide, online leadership and discipleship training. The said convention had 2,167 registered participants who quickly filled Zoom’s 1,000-attendee limit during the opening night. It had a sustained 900-plus attendees throughout the next day. During the Sabbath sessions, Facebook Live registered more than 1,000 views.
General Conference youth directors Gary Blanchard, Pako Mokgwane, and Andres Peralta (all Master Guides) graced the convention and uplifted the attendees with their messages. They also challenged the youth leaders to support the “I Will Go” initiative of the church and briefed the trainees on the updated Adventurer curriculum and the plans of the Master Guide worldwide program.
Mokgwane noted the unprecedented number of attendees during the convention: “I have never attended a live meeting that has more than 200 people.” In his message, he encouraged all Master Guides to pray fervently, fast, and focus on their relationships with God as Jesus did. He also invited them to study, memorize, and meditate on the Word of God diligently.
Blanchard warned the MGs about the Hezekitis disease. Quoting Isaiah 39:8, he clarified that “Hezekitis is when the older generation only thinks of itself and not of the next generation that is coming behind.” He challenged the MGs to think of the next generation by discipling and mentoring them. They include the young people, Pathfinders, and Adventurers.
Several MGs who are experts in their fields served as workshop resource speakers. They shared tips on remaining relevant. Bryan Sumendap, from Adventist International Institute of Advanced Students, discussed “Master Guide Leadership Empowerment During Pandemic.” Glen Milam, from the North American Division, shared the topic “Leading Volunteer Staff.” David Zebedeus, from Indonesia, reported on the Master Guides’ soul-winning activities within the new normal in Jakarta.” Faelmar Tanñada, from AIIAS, lectured on “Technology and Communication in Teaching Adventurer & Pathfinder Curriculum.” Ronald Whitehead, from Andrews University, lectured on “Online Pathfinder Ministry.”
Samuel Saw, SSD President, in his commitment message before the convention ended, reminded the Master Guides of the statement of Henri Nowen: “The greatest obstacle to loving God is serving God.” He observed that more time is spent in committee meetings, replying to emails, and other matters, but little time is spent in reading the Word of God, praying, and listening to Him. Saw prompted them to look at Jesus, who never failed to spend time with His Father despite His busy ministry. He emphasized, “Loving God is more important than serving God.”
In a response, Vanessa Fredeluces, in an email sent after the event, said, “Thank you so much, Pastor! I have learned a lot, and I am challenged to do my part as one of the Master Guides of God. I love how we prayed a lot during the whole program. May the Good Lord continually bless you and the whole MG family.”
Osvald Taroreh, from the West Indonesia Union Mission, shared, “What I liked most from the convention is that in every country, MGs and Pathfinders keep doing the mission despite the pandemic, as shown in the video reports. The convention also provided us answers to pertinent questions on our clubs.”
Jimi Pinangkaan, from East Indonesia Union Conference, shared what he learned during the convention. On Messenger, he wrote, “Be an example by reflecting a Christ-like character, and by serving the church and the communities….”
Francis Amer, Southeast Asia Union Mission youth director and the host of the convention, commented, “[This] MG Convention is indeed an eye-opener to me as a Union youth director to see that MGs in SSD are committed and dedicated to serving with the theme ‘I Will Go,’ even during this challenging time, by stepping higher into the new normal of doing the work for our youth.”
At the end of the program, Master Guides all over the SSD flooded the Zoom chat box with the phrase “I Will Go!”