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More than 1,000 to attend Youth Congress

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, Jan. 3, 2010) - New Year’s celebration is usually a time for parties, but for the youths of the Seventh Day Adventist Church it was a time to gather for a Youth Congress.

For the first time ever the Seventh Day Adventist Church of Samoa is hosting a congress for the youths of their denomination.

Youths of the church from Australia, New Zealand, American Samoa, Fiji, Vanuatu, America, Hawaii and other Pacific nations have all traveled here to take part.

The Youth Congress which began on New Year’s Day is scheduled to run for six days to end on Wednesday.

The opening service was held on Friday evening with the keynote address by Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi.

The congress was initially planned in 2008 but due to difficulties such as the tsunami tragedy of last year it was postponed.

Government Ministries such as the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Women are to provide workshops such as Health and Youth programs and awareness programs and issues that need to be addressed to the youths

Youth Director for the Samoa SDA Church, Pastor Neru Nuuialii told the Samoa Observer that the goal of this congress is for the youths to know the importance of Jesus in their lives and to be able to testify as ambassadors for Christ through his teachings.

"The event is open to any youth as long as they pay their

registration fee," said Pastor Neru.

"Worship services, seminars, workshops and social activities are all a part of the six days of the congress."

"This is so that there is a balance between spiritual, mental and play."

"We have been trying to look at a date that fits both government holidays for school goers to come and to get them away from the worldly entertainments and to strengthen their spirituality.

"We estimate 1100 have turned up so far with the staff making up 137, but there are still more to arrive.

"Funding for the event is made possible through the registration fee plus assistance from the Samoa SDA Church and various companies here in Samoa as well as from the SDA Church Union in Fiji and Australia.

"If there is to be another Youth Congress the committee will have to assess and analyze this event, but it is likely to continue in the next three to five years."

Many did not expect to be in Samoa for the event like John Titus from Vanuatu who told the Samoa Observer that he had come over for a wedding but while he was here heard about the congress so decided to join.

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