11th annual youth rally is Friday

LIHUE — David Leong likes watching young people change their lives.

For the pastor at Kauai Bible Church, that’s the most rewarding part of helping organize the islandwide youth rally.

“We see people come and there’s a lot of tears sometimes. Then the revelation light goes on inside that God has something better for them,” he said.

Leong has been involved in the planning of the rally since it began 11 years ago. He said the inspiration came from Roy and Dely Sasaki, of Kauai Island Ministries, who wanted to do something for the island’s youth.

“I volunteered to support them,” he said. “I’ve always been interested in helping young people. They’re always so honest and fresh.”

Grace Peralta will be emceeing this year’s rally. The 21-year-old describes it like church, but everyone is young.

“I was a part of my youth group at (Aloha Church), and they encouraged all of us to go,” she said. “It’s such a cool experience because it’s a bunch of young people. The number one thing is loving God, and it gets you fired up.”

The free rally is scheduled 5:30 p.m. Friday at the Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall. It includes worship, testimony, music, prizes and an address by Matt Higa pastor of New Hope Kauai.

Youth 11 years old and up are invited. Parents are welcome.

“Our emphasis is on God and on Jesus, and bringing young people into His presence,” Leong said.

The theme of Higa’s talk is, “You are what you eat.” Higa said that phrase takes on a physical and spiritual meaning.

“What you put into your body is what you’re going to get out of it,” he said. “What you ingest and put in your hearts and minds, that’s what we become.”

This is the first time Higa has been the rally’s keynote speaker. “I asked them if they were sure they wanted me,” he said. “I can be out there sometimes. And this isn’t going to be a regular church, Christian message.”

Because the rally is trying to appeal to the younger generation, Higa knew he had to think outside the box to deliver a message they would listen to.

“Youth don’t really just want to sit around and tell them what they’re doing wrong and what they need to do get it right,” he said.

So, Higa is bringing in props and visuals.

“It’s about telling them what they want to hear instead of what I want to say,” he said. “That’s more important.”

Leong expects between 300 and 400 people to attend the rally.

“We’re making a difference in the future of our world because if we can affect young people, we can affect everything,” he said.

Higa hopes young people will be empowered to transform themselves and the world.

“We’re all in this together, and we need to be in this for the greater good. That’s everyone’s calling,” he said.

Peralta enjoys the rally because it’s inclusive.

“I just love being in fellowship of other believers,” she said. “Kids get to see each other and find a common ground with what they believe in.”

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