Thousands of Seventh-day Adventist professionals and students across public university campuses throughout Inter-America had an opportunity to regroup, dialogue, and engage in community impact during this year’s Public Campus Ministries (PCM) Weekend held Oct. 15-17, 2021.
The annual weekend, celebrated around the world church, aims to connect and involve students and young professionals in mission and service in their university campuses, home churches, and communities.
Themed “Many Hands, One Community,” the three-day weekend motivated students in PCM groups to commit to engaging in long-term community outreach. Part of the weekend activities also involved students praying for their professors and letting them know how much they are appreciated.Engaging to make a difference
Online events on Sabbath, Oct. 16, featured segments of worship, moments of prayer, keynote presentations, testimonials, available resources, and networking opportunities from this year’s host location in Mérida, Southeast Mexico.
“We were very excited to see and hear from so many of our university students engaged in making a difference on their campuses and communities,” said Pastor Hiram Ruiz, public campus ministries director for the church in Inter-America. “Our aim with public campus ministries is to continue to get to the heart of young students and professionals, nurture their spiritual growth, help them be strong witnesses for Jesus on their campuses, and encourage them to be intentional about assisting those in need wherever they are.”
Setting the right priorities begins with putting God first, said Pastor Justin Kim, assistant director of Sabbath school and personal ministries for the Adventist World Church.
Seeking God first
Quoting Matthew 6, Pastor Kim reminded university students to actively “seek actively the kingdom of God and His righteousness, with all your soul, with all your power.” He encouraged them to trust God as they pursue their dreams and goals, and to understand that they have a unique opportunity beyond getting their degree.It’s about what should be central in your life before school, possessions, family and future, said Pastor Kim. “You must seek Jesus first,” he said. “He knows what you need.” He reminded students to not chase plans for just like things for they will rot, rust and can be taken away.
“We are not here to celebrate students this weekend, we want to ensure that you have the holiest and happiest life possible on this earth…a life of prayer, a life of the word, a life of service–eternal service,” said Kim.
Keeping students grounded in the Bible and active in a life of service will prepare the church leaders of the church, said Pastor Ruiz. “We want them to understand that they have an important role to play in helping the church grow, ensuring that each congregation will become a center of influence in the community, and commit to sharing the gospel wherever they go.”
The online program also featured the launch of new Collegiate Quarterly produced by the Adventist World Church called InVerse. The new quarterly for young adults is an updated, refreshed and revamped format from the previous one, said Pastor Kim who is also the editor of the young adult Sabbath School Bible study guide.Editors and staff from Inter-America’s publishing houses, IADPA and GEMA, explained the new format of the weekly bible study guide and shared available resources to help university students and young professionals with decisions that they are facing or will face on love, choosing the right partner, marriage, overcoming challenges, starting their own business, how to study the bible, learning how to witness to others, and more.
Many young professionals and students shared their testimony of how God intervened when their exams were scheduled on Saturdays, how God helped them open their own business to support their studies, as well as opening the way to career opportunities, among others.
In addition, leaders reported on the progress of the PCM Connect application which has grown to more than 1,200 users from 100 universities across Inter-America. The app will see added features that will provide posting opportunities, merchandise and more.
PCM growth and outreach
So far, there are more than 8,000 Adventist students and professionals which actively engage in 230 registered PCM groups across public campuses throughout Inter-America, said Ruiz.During the weekend, more than 50 university students in Panama traveled by canoe to various poor communities around Lake Alajuela near the Panama Canal to deliver food and clothing to dozens of families. In addition, other students began cleaning, painting and beautifying churches and the surrounding neighborhoods as part of their on-going community project.
In Tabasco, Mexico, dozens of PCM students delivered 125 boxes of food in several needy communities on Sunday, Oct. 17.
Dozens of PCM students in North Colombia entered various communities to clean up parks, plant trees and give out water to cyclists.
Elsewhere throughout Inter-America, university students visited needy communities to distribute food and pray with people.Ruiz said PCM growth has been tremendous in the last five years.
“PCM allows students and professionals to understand that they can find refuge, strength, and become a blessing for others on campus and outside of campus,” he said. It’s about setting a center of influence on campuses, bringing awareness and impacting communities in need,” said Ruiz.
Pastor Elie Henry, president of the church in Inter-America, congratulated university students and PCM leaders for their dedication and commitment in getting hands-on with impact projects.
“What a privilege to share with Christ in that inheritance, by preaching, by bearing witness, by sharing the good news and helping those most in need,” said Pastor Henry. “Thank you for serving and making a difference in the lives of people. You are heirs and joint heirs with Jesus Christ.”To watch Inter-America’s PCM Weekend online programs of Oct. 16, 2021, go to the following: