Watermelon for a Cigarette at the Exit Festival
18 July 2012 Novi Sad, Serbia [Miroslav Pujic, tedNEWS] Every year in July, the city of Novi Sad, Serbia is host to one of the largest and most awarded international festivals of music which is held in the Petrovaradin Fortress. More than 200,000 people come from all over Europe to listen to famous musicians from around the world. The festival has maintained its mission, popularity and significance which is most eloquently illustrated by the fact that it has received many prizes from important institutions around the world. During this year’s festival, there were more than 400 performers on a total of 22 stages.
Apart from music, different type of programmes were provided every afternoon relating to tourism, games, workshops as well as providing some basic necessities for the participants who were staying in tents at the camp.
A group of young people from the Adventist Church in Novi Sad, part of the Youth Association known as Relay, took part by providing something different to thousands of young people at the EXIT festival. "We wanted to be of help to very tired people by providing a free massage, but also organising workshops to teach people how to play the guitar and the harmonica" says Djordjija Nikic one of the organisers of the Relay programme. Another very popular attraction was a programme called 'watermelon for tobacco'. When asked what that meant, Nikic explained “that this was an invitation to people to give up one cigarette for a slice of watermelon and they could come back as many times as they wanted”. “In this way we want to help people stop smoking, but also, as it was very hot we provided very juicy and sweet watermelon as refreshment" concludes Nikic. All the members of the Relay team were wearing a T-shirt with a slogan ‘Find Your Exit’.
When the participants were asked how did they like what the Relay team was doing for the participants of EXIT, their answers were very simple: “fantastic, brilliant, it was helpful, thanks a lot, come back next year...”
Pastor Janos Kovacs-Biro, a representative of the Trans-European Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church (TED) who provided training for the Relay youth initiative said that "Relay provides a platform for connecting with people through practical acts of service. The participants are meeting some of the immediate needs of people around them. Relay puts the principles learnt from Jesus Christ into practice, and this has a lasting impact. This is genuine and practical Christianity: sharing hope and showing love."
It was clear that the Relay Youth Association team was very busy throughout the festival; staying up long hours to serve and help many guests both local and from abroad. This was a perfect example of what is called ‘acts of kindness’. To see more photos, please click here. [tedNEWS]
tedNEWS is an information bulletin issued by the communication department of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Trans-European Division.
You are free to re-print any portion of the bulletin without need for special permission. However, we kindly request that you identify tedNEWS whenever you publish these materials.