Corps cadets take part in tri-territorial youth congress

by Cari Arias –

Recently, a group of 30 Americans—23 corps cadets and seven chaperones—participated in “Make Change,” the Tri-Territorial (New Zealand, Australia, Fiji/Tonga) Youth Congress.

Most of the corps cadet delegates had been planning for this trip for well over a year. In 2006, many of them were chosen to attend the Kaivata Youth Congress in Suva, Fiji, scheduled for January 2007. Due to political upheaval, the congress was postponed for a year and later given both a new name and venue: Make Change in Hamilton, New Zealand.

Nearly 24 hours after leaving LAX, we arrived at the University of Waikato in Hamilton. The congress began with a celebration of the various cultures represented there. With excellent speakers, great music (including the Pasadena Tabernacle Youth Chorus), and amazing fellowship, Make Change truly did make change in each of our lives.

Our delegation joined the 500 Salvationists that went on to Parachute Music Festival, where we camped out in tents with 27,000 others to praise God through music. We enjoyed speakers such as Tony Campolo and Reggie Daabs, and music groups like Switchfoot and Hillsong United.

For many in our group, this was their first time out of the United States. Others experienced their first camping experience. For all of us, New Zealand was a new place and a new adventure. As a leader/chaperone, I was impressed with our corps cadets—particularly how they quickly bonded with teens from other cultures. As much as I believe we were blessed by this experience, I’m proud to say that the amazing teens from our territory were a true blessing to others!

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