Sacramento-Area Youth Event Has Successful Launch

December 01, 2011

By Hulita Destiny Fakalata
Y.A. at Tongan United Methodist Fellowship, Sacramento

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:24-25)
On November 19, youth and young adults from Sacramento area churches gathered together at Sacramento Japanese United Methodist Church for a common purpose: community and the word of God. Four churches were represented: Emmanuel UMC, First UMC, Japanese UMC, and the Tongan United Methodist Fellowship.
When I arrived, I saw youth and young adults mixing and mingling (amongst food, of course!) and getting to know each other. I joined in on the fun and began asking the normal questions: "What's your name?" (even though we all had nametags: Ha, ha!), "What church are you from?" and "Are you going to school?" I immediately noticed how comfortable we were with each other. We made each other laugh and smile within minutes of meeting each other. We were a very diverse group (Asians, Pacific Islanders, Hispanics and European Americans) but we knew we were all Christians, and so we were comfortable sharing our faith and our personal lives with each other.
Adam Vargyas from the Sierra Service Project came, shared a presentation about SSP, and told us about some of the volunteer opportunities that we can do together for SSP Weekend Projects: for example, working at the United Methodist Church in Oak Park that needs many repairs. He informed us about the different work sites that SSP has over the summer, and explained how to get involved with the program. His presentation got the youth excited about working together as one body with our newfound friends.
The food that was provided for us was filling, delicious, and wonderful – and was immediately followed by a fulfilling and wonderful worship service at 1 p.m. Gayle Kurasaki, youth leader at the Sacramento Japanese UMC, led the worship with some friends from the other participating churches. We played games, sang songs, and read Scriptures (we had to pop balloons to get them). Gayle also led the sermon, and boy was it a treat! She gave us a full serving of faith and hope through her words – telling us about the faith that God has in us, no matter how small we might be.
This event was very nice and much needed. I look forward to attending the next event.
The group is planning on meeting every month for worship services and fun activities. In December the group is going bowling. If you would like to join the group (everyone is welcome!), please contact Gayle Kurasaki at
[The author is in the left foreground, in photo above.]