Montemorelos University President Ismael Castillo (center) along with a group of students speak to hundreds of students on March 14, 2020, during a special gathering to impact social media platforms instead of performing acts of kindness and compassion in their communities as it was scheduled during the Adventist world church’s Global Youth Day set for Mar. 21. [Photo: Montemorelos University]

March 20, 2020 | Montemorelos, Nuevo Leon, Mexico | Laura Marrero/IAD News Staff

In the midst of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic that drove world church leaders to suspend Global Youth Day (GYD) activities this weekend, young people at Montemorelos University continued their impact activities online.  The Adventist-operated university moved to online classes earlier this week in compliance to minimizing the spread of the virus in the region. While many left for home, several remained on campus and are following strict measures of social distancing, university leaders reported.

“As the country is going through this difficult situation, we have to look for the moments in which young people like you are needed to serve the country, the region, the municipal district and this community, in moments of crisis,” said Ismael Castillo, president of Montemorelos University.

A student passes out paper to fellow students so they can begin making social media impressions during a special online campaign to impact their friends and contacts with positive spiritual messages this week. [Photo: Montemorelos University]

Castillo was speaking to more than 1,600 students and young people from the Adventist community in Montemorelos on Mar. 14, 2020, who were scheduled to take to the streets that afternoon to “Be the Sermon” by performing acts of kindness and compassion to refugees, homeless and strangers throughout the community as the Adventist world church’s Global Youth Day impact calls for this year on Mar. 21.

“In response to the sanitary measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, we had to suspend our plans for outdoor impact activities,” said Castillo. Instead, young people accepted a social media challenge as an alternative way to testify online throughout the week.

Neyeni Cruz, coordinator of the Doulos Youth Ministries who is comprised of all the adventurer, pathfinder, and master guide clubs in the area as well as young ministries in Montemorelos, said, “We wanted to continue to encourage young people to ‘Be the Sermon’ and show their resilience in the midst of difficulties, using these times as opportunities to transmit hope during this special week of prayer.”

Samuel Jiménez prepares a prayer text to share with his hundreds of his friends on social media.  [Photo: Montemorelos University]

Young people from Doulus Youth Ministries proposed what they called “I Care Challenge” to include the GYD logo in their profiles in their different social media networks inviting others to care for the planet and to especially pray for the current situation the world is going through. Young people were encouraged to post prayers on their Instagram and Facebook stories, or Whatsapp groups.

“I Care for my friends was the challenge on day three for young people to come up with creative ways to greet one another, avoid physical contact, to testify in a more active way, and day four to care for the things we do not know about, for example paying for someone’s bill or groceries for them, and so forth” said Cruz.

Young people were asked to used the Hashtags #GYD2020UM and #GYD20 during the week.

Kenny Pérez looks to the I Care Challenge of the week and searches the Bible share a message of hope to his 477 Facebook friends and a special call to his dad. Photo: Facebook

Noemí Jiménez, a second-year communication student, said it was easy to be part of the online impact this week. “I know that the impact we need to have must be constant, not just for this week, but daily. We may be the only one to share a message, photo, video, or memory verse with another person,” she said. And it’s not only about impacting other persons but about being blessed and strengthened as one generates positive content, she added.

Kenny Pérez, who is also a second-year student and has 477 Facebook friends, said that he’s clear about social media as a means that young people must utilize more to do evangelism. “I know my friends will be able to see my posts and maybe skip through, we just don’t know who needs to receive that message and that’s why it’s important for us to do our part,” said Pérez. “We have the commission to communicate the message and our testimony is part of that.”

“These types of situations help us to grow, to learn and allows us to gets out our creative ideas,” said Cruz. “These are challenging moments and more will come our way as Christ’s Second Coming approaches, so these are the times to share impact activities that can show how we are concerned for our world and what is currently happening.”

Nohemí Jiménez, a communication student at Montemorelos, jots down a few words she will pass on to her dozens of Facebook and Instagram friends during the GYD online campaign this week. [Photo: Montemorelos University]

To learn more about Montemorelos University, its programs and initiatives, visit um.edu.mx

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