A close knit youths and elders from the Rennel and Bellona Province have had been agents of change in their province for the last seven years, running the annual Avaiki Adventist Youth Students Association (AAYSA) youth convention.
AAYSA consists of youths, secondary and tertiary students from Rennel and Bellona who have been engaging in community and religious work since the start of the new millennium.
A youth convention for youths during the festive season is the annual program the scholars are hosting every year.
The program was founded by Pastor Johnny Tango in 2000 during the height of the ethnic tension, one of the darkest moments of the nation’s history.
Pastor Tango is now the head of Theology Department at Fulton College in Fiji.
At its early stage, PrTango gathered young mission workers to form an advisory.
According to a pioneer of the group, Mosley Tengemoana many pastors who have been part of the convention learn from AAYSA and form similar program in their countries.
“The program has been a success,” Tengemoana said.
“We got our preachers from Australia, PNG, Fiji, Samoa and Tonga. When those pastor quest speakers saw this program a success, they went back to form it in their own countries,” he said.
Not only the program extending its hand to overseas but also it spread to other islands within Solomon Islands.
“We also pick facilities for all offices in Honiara. They go back to form youth associations in their own places,” he said.
Scholar Ellen Maru’arofa, who is the outgoing president of AAYSA, says the program’s main objective is to develop young leaders and inspire them to uphold their spiritual and cultural values.
“The main idea behind the program is for our young people to know their identity, cultural values and spiritual aspects of their lives.
“It has been a very live changing program as our youths can be easily influenced by the outside world,” Maru’arofa stated.
AAYSA has an executive who planned its events in Honiara and a home-based committee who does the groundwork at the venue on the Island.
The Sunday Star was present at the AAYSA official handing over of office to its new executive members at the Iron Bottom Sound (IBS) hotel over the weekend.
Pastor Stanely Maui, who did the commissioning prayer, encouraged the young leaders and reminding them that when God calls you there will be challenges along the way, but the most important thing is to fulfil your service to Him.
The Avaiki Adventist Youth Student Association (AAYSA) Executive 2016 wish to acknowledge the Ministry of Women, Youth &Childrens’ Affair, Rennell and Bellona Provincial Premier, Collin Singamoana and his executive and other groups for their contributions that make 2016 Youth Convention a great success.
“Your generous supports have made our goal of bringing our young people of Rennell and Bellona to get together, share and reflect on issues affecting their lives and also to be reminded of their God given purpose of their existence, to live to serve others a reality,” the statement reads.
Another convention is set for December this year.
By SIMON ABANA