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News from around the world.

Atteridgeville, Gauteng, South Africa—Beginning Friday, July 12, 2013, at the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s world youth conference, renowned brain surgeon Dr. Ben Carson implored Seventh-day Adventist youth to exercise their willpower and remain committed to God in a series of three speeches.

Carson served for more than 25 years as the chief of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, United States, and was a key presenter at Impact South Africa. The event drew more than 3,100 Adventist youth and young adults from around the globe for two weeks of community service, workshops, and worship.

“God has given each one of us something that is extraordinarily special. It’s called willpower. You don’t have to give in,” Carson said of things than can divert young people from realizing their full potential.

“Never get too big for God, never deny God, no matter where He takes you, no matter what roles you’re in,” Carson said. “If you put Him first in your life, you will be extraordinarily successful.”

Carson and other presenters spoke to an audience of more than 18,000 youth conference attendees and community members at Lucas “Masterpieces” Moripe Stadium, just outside Pretoria.

In a sermon, Adventist Church president Ted N. C. Wilson similarly affirmed youth and urged them to continue carrying out the Adventist Church’s mission.

“We love you and we’re counting on you for the future,” Wilson said. “Impact your city. Impact your country. My brothers and sisters, impact the world for Jesus Christ!”

Gilbert Cangy, director of the Adventist Church’s Youth Ministries and organizer of the conference, said the event successfully integrated youth from around the world as a family of faith.

“We truly embraced diversity at this event,” Cangy said. “There was a place at this conference for everyone—from every country, from every culture.”

Following the morning service, dozens of attendees traveled throughout nearby neighborhoods to distribute 20,000 copies of the book The Great Hope. [Ansel Oliver/ANN]

First lady of Rwanda opens Adventist Church’s International Women’s Congress

Kigali, Rwanda—Seventh-day Adventist women hold “untapped potential” to impact their communities, Rwanda’s first lady Jeannette Kagame said at the church’s International Women’s Congress near Butare, Rwanda, on August 7, 2013.

“It is one thing to have [potential], and another to maximize it,” First Lady Kagame said. “I want you to think about what you are going to leave behind for the next generation.”

The five-day congress, held for the first time in Rwanda, drew 1,500 women delegates from 11 countries in the Adventist Church’s East-Central Africa Division.

The congresses are meant to encourage women to bring positive change to their communities, organizers said. Delegates discussed challenges facing women, including gender-based violence and obstacles to socioeconomic development. Speakers addressed emotional intelligence and offered tips on living a purposeful life.

In Rwandan culture, women are considered the heart of the home, Kagame said. “We nurture, inspire, and encourage those around us, and whether we realize it or not, we set the foundation for character

building. Society expects a lot from us as wives, mothers, sisters, professionals, and individuals,” she said.

Kagame also acknowledged the increasingly complex role that women play in Rwandan society. “We have to compete with men out there in the workforce, and at the same time assume our roles in the home,” she said.

An exhibition running alongside the congress displayed homemade food, new technology, clothing, and interior design items.

Hesron Byilingiro, president of the Adventist Church’s Rwanda Union Mission, said Rwanda was chosen to host the congress because the country is a strong advocate of women’s empowerment and gender equality.

“We expect that by the time these women leave, there will be a difference. They will leave with a lot of valuable lessons,” Byilingiro said. The principle of gender equity and equality is enshrined in the Rwandan Constitution, which guarantees a minimum of 30 percent of leadership positions to women. In some cases, the threshold has been significantly surpassed.

Esperance Ngagi Murerabana, the Rwanda Union Adventist Women Ministries director, said because Rwanda understands the notion of gender equity and equality, it has allowed women to be actively involved in the efforts toward socioeconomic transformation. “That has allowed us to be self-confident,” Murerabana said.

There are nearly 550,000 Adventists in Rwanda, which has a population of 12 million.

[Jean Pierre Bucyensenge/ The New Times, with ANN staff]


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October 2013

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