Guam Adventist Academy Upper School students spent 4 days this past week learning, analyzing, and reflecting on the reality of depression and anxiety in their lives and/or the lives of people they care about. Pastors Luis Mafnas and Mesikt Idechong conducted seminars on the importance of a positive self-concept, differentiating between depression and anxiety, recognizing signs of the conditions, and possible ways to prevent or control it. Each seminar concluded with a breakout activity. On the first day, Pastor Mesikt discussed what made each person unique. He encouraged students to discover and accept the positive aspects of their lives.
The students divided into smaller groups so they could share what they appreciated most about each other. The next day, Pastor Mesikt discussed how hope comes in different forms. In China, a man referred to as the “Angel of Nanjing” has helped to save the lives of more than 330 people in the span of 11 years. After his powerful presentation, Pastor Mesikt again divided the students into smaller groups and had them discuss two questions: (1) Who are you an angel to? (2) Who’s the angel in your life? This underlining idea that there are always people in our lives who want and wish the best for each and every one of us. Pastor Mafnas took the reigns on Thursday and explained how to be aware of God’s presence in times of despair (and any time in our lives). Applying the concepts from the allegorical narrative The Pilgrim’s Progress, Mafnas encouraged students to count on God’s promise of hope and not to be distracted by attempts at discouragement in life.
The breakout activities were powerful for the students as they shared stories about how either they or others they knew experienced depression or anxiety. One of the students announced that he was so grateful for the seminars because he knows many teenagers are experiencing depression. Another student shared that a former classmate committed suicide last month. She emphasized that when a person takes his or her own life, it’s not just that person who is impacted, but his/her family and friends.
Thank you, Pastors, for the uplifting series! It was a blessing!