On May 23, the Canada Bermuda Youth team hosted the largest online youth meeting in the territory’s history. Dubbed VOIT/SEE CONNECT, the Facebook Live/YouTube event marked the weekend that the territorial youth congress, VOIT/SEE, was to be held in Montreal until COVID-19 forced a postponement to spring 2021. More than 500 young people and youth leaders gathered online for teaching, games, music and fun.

The event kicked off with Majors Terence and Jennifer Hale, territorial youth secretary and territorial candidates secretary, respectively, live from territorial headquarters. Addressing the challenges of the pandemic, Major Terence noted, “We are believing together that God has a new story to write and new things to do,” citing the congress theme verse, Isaiah 43:19 (“Behold I am doing a new thing. Do you not see it?”).

Sheryl Slous, children and youth consultant, kept a running log of prayer requests on a “prayer wall” as participants updated the online comments. Divisional youth secretaries from across the territory then brought greetings, and two of them, Captain Jason Dockeray from British Columbia Division and Captain Indira Albert from Quebec Division, led young people in a series of online bilingual games, including “Name that tune” and “Where am I?” incorporating virtual backgrounds.

Guest musical appearances from NEON, Impact Brass (Ontario Great Lakes Division), Jude St-Aimé, and Newfoundland and Labrador’s Blue East enhanced worship.

Another fun segment included Captain Joshua Downer, divisional youth secretary, Ontario Great Lakes Division, who was featured in a series of videos on a cross-country trek to attend VOIT/SEE in Montreal. VOIT/SEE CONNECT picks up his story as he packs up for a new appointment and his family conspires to shave his beard in anticipation of a fresh start.

In a pre-recorded video, General Brian Peddle brought an encouraging message about the future of The Salvation Army, noting that he sees “youth leading worship, using their gifts and talents; youth serving and standing in the path where justice is needed; youth responding, being sensitive to God’s voice; and youth standing, expressing faith and following with no retreats.”

Guest speaker Danielle Strickland spoke about “wilderness experiences” and living in uncertain times, noting that it’s often the best place to train and prepare for God’s future. Major Rock Marcoux, corps officer, Le Phare, Quebec Division, spoke of the “God of our salvation” and the new start that is possible when we are forgiven. Cadet Amy Patrick testified to how she was at a crossroads and chose a life of faith, which has made all the difference.

In conclusion, Commissioner Floyd Tidd, territorial commander, spoke of the FOMO factor, the fear of missing out on all the events that have been cancelled or postponed due to the pandemic. But he also reminded young people not to miss out on what new things God may be doing: “I see a generation rising up to embrace the invitation to partner with him and follow him along the road that he leads. It’s a road that you won’t regret.”

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