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Heat and humidity prove to be no match for Alaskans’ Triennium spirit

Members of the Presbytery of Yukon 2016 Youth Triennium delegation share their experiences about the event. (Photo by Scott O’Neill)

Members of the Presbytery of Yukon 2016 Youth Triennium delegation share their experiences about the event. (Photo by Scott O’Neill)

September 12, 2016

A group of 19 young adults from the Presbytery of Yukon faced some significant travel challenges when they went to West Lafayette, Indiana, for this year’s Presbyterian Youth Triennium.

The delegation came from all parts of Alaska, from Barrow in the north to Anchorage in the south, where average temperatures in July range from 60 to 70 degrees during the day and 40 to 50 degrees in the evening. Indiana greeted them with temperatures approaching or exceeding 90 degrees and humidity that ranged from the high 70s to mid-80s each day. As if that wasn’t enough of an adjustment, the group was assigned to a dormitory without air conditioning.

Considering that all were first-timers at the five-day event, you might think the combination of weather, extended travel, and even the fact that it gets dark in the summer might have dampened their enthusiasm for worship and communion with nearly 5,000 colleagues. But the resilience of youth triumphed. Whether it was tracing and cutting out fabric so Ugandan women could sew together shoes and create their own revenue stream, meeting fellow Presbyterians from other countries, or confessing their sins in written form during small group meetings, each participant seemingly found his or her own path amid a range of activities.

Amanda, 22, a volunteer mentoring the delegation, shared what stood out to her at Triennium.

“Our church is comprised of mostly older adults. We have youth groups and I’ve been to youth conferences in Anchorage, but not many of us are Presbyterians, so it’s impressive to me to see the numbers and how involved Presbyterian youth are,” she said.

The camaraderie at the event and the connectivity of Presbyterians made the biggest impression on Tanner, 16.

“Everybody is friendly; people will walk up and just start a conversation even though they don’t know you,” he said. “In Alaska there aren’t that many Presbyterians, so you don’t have that connection like you do [at Triennium]. That’s new and unique.”

Stevie, 16, found the small group meetings and the opportunity to meet Presbyterians from other cultures fascinating.

“The global partners event stood out to me because there was someone from Japan and a few people from other countries. It was interesting to hear about different cultures and lifestyles,” he said. “They talked about what’s a normal day for them, how their school system works, and what they eat for meals. It was very interesting.”

Many in the Yukon delegation cited the passion and enthusiasm that the young adults had for worship. Kailen, 15, said one of her biggest impressions from the event was her takeaway from worship: “You can take a little from everybody—more ways to pray, how to get to know God better, get closer to him and feel comfortable with him through prayer.”

Alfred, 16, concurred.

“Worship stood out to me the most,” he said. “It was really awesome and really touched my heart.”

Scott O’Neill, Communications Associate, Presbyterian Mission Agency
Today’s Focus: Presbytery of Yukon

Let us join in prayer for:

Presbytery Staff:
Rev. Curt Karns, Executive Presbyter
Ruling Elder Sharon Rayt, Stated Clerk
Melissa O’Malley, Administrative Assistant
Mary Kron, Treasurer

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Almir Dias, PMA
Christy Dickson, FDN

Let us pray

Bless the youth in our communities who, without reservation, help others in need. Lord, keep them in your heart and give them the strength to continue their mission. In the name of Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 135; 145
First Reading Job 40:1-24
Second Reading Acts 15:36-16:5
Gospel Reading John 11:55-12:8
Evening Psalms 97; 112

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