Earlier this year, Alaska Conference held a youth rally in the Anchorage area for the first time in several years.
The theme, “Connections,” highlighted how to establish true connections in today’s tech environment of social media and artificial intelligence. Youth from Anchorage, Eagle River, Palmer and Wasilla gathered in Anchorage Junior Academy’s gymnasium for this weekend event.
The rally opened with icebreakers led by Sergio Vasquez, Anchorage Spanish Adventist Church pastor and Hillside O’Malley Adventist Church youth pastor. Next, Chad Angasan, associate pastor of Anchorage Northside Adventist Church, led the group in praise music with teams comprised of area youth and local young adult leaders Zalika Bishop and Gwen De Gross.
Attendees were invited to gather into small groups and pray with one another — for many, it was a raw, healing, cathartic moment. Ryan Rogers, Palmer Adventist Church pastor, then dove into the first of a three-part message about the battle for our attention.
Listeners were taken through seven of Rogers' list of “26 Tested Truths that Help Us Connect with [God].” Takeaway points were that the best life lived is one that is connected to God, there’s a contest for our attention and connection with God is possible.
Sabbath was an all-day experience. Youth, parents and administration met at the Alaska Conference office for a short worship, and then divided into teams to pass out cookies in boxes with a message of care to homes in nearby neighborhoods. Some youth were a bit nervous at first; however, as time went on, they gained confidence and truly enjoyed themselves.
Rogers continued his series with the second session emphasizing how connection with God is desirable. He made a convincing argument as he broke down what truly matters: finding a fulfilling relationship with God. After lunch, the group went on a Sabbath hike on Flattop Mountain Trail.
Sabbath evening, Vasquez started the final session with epic games which had youth and young-at-heart alike intensely competing for a win. Praise teams then led worshipers in a passionate and God-glorifying song service.
Rogers concluded his three-part message with the reassurance that connection with God is dependable, giving one inner peace now and eternal life in the future. As the rally concluded, attendees moved outside for a special ceremony in which they burned notes gathered throughout the event on which they'd written things they felt were separating them from God.
Plans are underway to have youth rallies on an annual basis to provide opportunities for spiritual enrichment and ministry for Alaska’s amazing youth.