Herbert E. Douglass, Th.D.

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Report from the first General Youth Conference (GYC) in Australia.

 

AYC (Australian Youth Conference) February 23-26, 2006

This would have to be one of the most exciting things I have seen in Australia in decades: "an army of youth" - 190 dedicated serious Adventist Youth singing, praying, worshipping and studying together! Indeed being "rightly trained" as Ellen White challenged in Education, pg. 271.

 

Many have followed with interest the satellite reports on 3 ABN and Hope of the revival among our youth called the (GYC) General Youth Conference which

suddenly burst on the scene in America and has spread elsewhere. But we asked, "Could it come to Australia?"

 

I found it thrilling to see it launched in Australia by the Gateway Church, in Melbourne, with Pastor Chester Stanley, Union Conference president presenting the welcome and opening address. It was a privilege to be a guest speaker at it along with men like Mark Finley, Louis Torres, David Asherick, Geoff Youlden, Wolfgang Stefani and some of the GYC leaders from America.

 

It seemed unbelievable to see these 190 young folk who had come at great personal expense, (those from West Australia or New Zealand paid the best part or more of $1000 in fares, hotel and conference costs) to attend this gathering that offered no entertainment or outings - only serious Bible study and meetings. From the packed 6:30am early morning Prayer Meetings through to the Workshops and last challenging evangelistic meetings of the day they were there, nicely dressed and representative of Advent Youth at their best!

 

I was also impressed with their singing. Often we have at Youth gatherings a few people at the front who lead the singing of religious-lite songs, with few of the youth in the audience singing with them. But this was different.  Each song was one with a message, usually one of the old time-tested hymns of dedication and consecration and these young people really sang with conviction! Every lip was moving!

 

As the Holy Spirit moved in a mighty way, many reconsecrated themselves to the Lord and decisions were made for baptism. Most heard a distinct call for service, to work and witness for the Lord. When Mark Finley made a call for those who would consider giving six months of volunteer service to prepare for his mission in Melbourne next year, 62 responded.

 

 These young people have now returned home with an enthusiasm and a vision to work for the Lord. One email I have just received asked for material to help prepare another young person for baptism. In another a young man working in an isolated outback town in Australia with no Adventists is asking for help to share the Adventist Message there!

 

One can not help but wonder if we are on the verge of seeing the Latter Rain poured out? The proclamation of this Adventist Message started with young people - perhaps it may be finished by them. I just wish that every Adventist in Australia could have witnessed this launching of the AYC. It would have warmed their hearts as it did mine.

 

This is just the beginning, already hundreds of young people around Australia are saving for the 2007 AYC meeting. I hope that a venue can be found big enough to accommodate them all, because in America the GYC meetings now number those attending, - in the thousands! It will happen here too!


 

Melbourne Evangelism Training Programme: February 26 - March 4.

Organised by Pastor Rod Anderson in his Greensborough church, I assisted Louis Torres for the first few days in the training of a small but interested group. I do not have the final figures for this programme as in the middle of the week I flew to Perth to promote the programme to be run there in the North Beach church, supported by the Morley church. Pastor Louis Torres then took all the sessions and meetings throughout the day and

as well as the evenings. He had a baptism on the Sabbath.


 

Perth Evangelism Training Programme: March 5 - 11.

This training programme was organised by the WA conference evangelist, Pastor Mark Wilson. It was similar to that in Melbourne with those being trained in evangelism attending the morning and afternoon sessions and then in the evening a public evangelistic programme was run.

 

Over 100 people attended the training sessions, with an average of 85 present daily. In the evening the church seating 140 was packed with an average of 165 attending. Friday night saw 210 attending with some of the overflow having to watch through the church windows.

 

On Sabbath the church of another denomination was hired so that 370 people could attend and witness the baptism of 4 souls. Over 15 made their decision for baptism and from the class who were taken out knocking on doors, another 25 interested names were passed on to the local church pastor, Pat Downey or some of the other church pastors in Perth.

 

It was a very tired but happy, Louis Torres that was put on the midnight plane from Perth to wing his way back to his Mission College of Evangelism, Oregon, USA.

 

The programmes conducted by Louis Torres were more than mere training programs or even evangelistic crusades. They also proved to be a revival in the churches in which they were conducted. Some of the older members who remember E.L. Minchin, were not amazed to learn that as a young man, Louis Torres had made his decision for Christ under the ministry of E.L. Minchin and had been mentored by him.


 

Meetings in South Australia. March 16 - 20.

In 1971-72 I was a church pastor and departmental director in the South Australian conference, so it was good to accept the invitation by friends to stop off on the way home to Brisbane and share some meetings with them.

 

I am glad that I did, because that conference was possibly the worst hit by the Ford crisis in Australia. It was exciting to share the positive things that are happening in the world church, and the fast fulfilling signs of Christ's Return.

A highlight of the visit was the attendance to my meetings of a former pastor who was one of the 180 who lost his way as a result of Dr. Ford. My heart ached as he told of how as a new Adventist he had gone to Avondale College and been very impressed by Dr. Ford. He said when he felt the church had treated Dr Ford badly he resigned from the ministry, and for the past 25 years has been wandering spiritually occasionally attending

Sunday-keeping churches.

 

He visited me the last morning I was there and we spent over two hours together, talking, studying and praying. I tried to explain to him some of the problems the church had with Dr Ford. I told him of our scholars that I had met in Europe who were amazed that Dr Ford would not accept direction or counsel from any of our scholars - especially those who specialised in Hebrew and Greek and Dr Ford was not a scholar in either of those Biblical

languages! They could not believe that a man of his calibre would refuse to acknowledge even one of his erroneous conclusions!

 

He also did not seem to know that Dr Ford now repudiates a literal six-day creation, which of course is the foundation of our teaching concerning a literal seventh-day Sabbath. Please pray for this man and so many others who for whatever reason have lost their way.

 

In the last three months I have been able to help members of four families find their way back into the organised Seventh-day Adventist church. This is the Truth despite all the failings of the church. We just have to be patient because the Lord said the Foolish would be with the Wise and the Tares would be with the Wheat right up until the Harvest!

 

Well, after a month away it was good to get home, - except that I came home to find that my computer was jammed with 263 emails. If you do not get a reply to an email you sent please send me another as it may have been one of those which did not make it after the jam-up!

 

God Bless, 

Bruce Price


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