They cleared away empty water bottles, pointed participants in the right direction or greeted hungry young people with a warm “Good morning!” Without youth, there wouldn’t have been an IYC, but it wouldn’t have been possible without the helpers either.
They were on duty around the clock, and they deserve a big Thank You. Even though some went to their limits, or sometimes went without meals and even earned some incomprehension when they didn’t let young people with a green wristband use the pink route, most of them enjoyed being a part of the ICY. About 2,500 helpers volunteered between Wednesday and Sunday, and an additional 500 people were working as technicians, as reporters and as interpreters. In the catering halls, as scout or at a booth: Helpers were everywhere. In Sunday, there was a small “helpers’ party” where Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider thanked them with a heartfelt “Merci”. District Apostle Rainer Storck wished all helpers and their families God’s rich blessings for their service that cannot be measured in time and hours.
At the registration
Nadine and Jürgen from the Göttingen area and Inga mainly worked at the registration. “We are really blown away by the atmosphere and the mood,” Jürgen says. “The introduction could have been a little more detailed, but we made it nevertheless.” Inga agrees; only a few (usually older) participants had complained that the events they wanted to visit were already full. For Nadine, the most amazing thing is the number of nations present. Jürgen says that they are taking a lot of joy with them from the days in Düsseldorf. “If we were able to give a little bit of help, if we made someone happy, we are glad.”
Wielding the camera
Without them, many participants wouldn’t have seen anything and those who stayed at home wouldn’t have been able to partake in the youth convention: the technicians and camera operators. Christopher from the congregation Wiehl is one of them. The media clerk worked from Thursday until Sunday. “On Tuesday, we were on the exhibition site from 8:30 am and set everything up. It will probably take us until about 6 pm on Sunday to clear everything, maybe sooner if we are lucky.” The work of the camera operators does not end with setting everything up and filming, however. Afterwards, the film team spends many hours on their computers, until the innumerable hours of filmed material become the short but expressive films that the youth saw in the arena or that they are liking and sharing on social media now after the IYC.
One hundred paramedics and thirteen doctors were working around the clock on the IYC to make sure that first aid was possible in an emergency. Carsten from Schwabach was one of the paramedics, his wife Annegret worked as emergency doctor. “At the start, it was quiet, but later on it was more turbulent,” Carsten summarized their time. “We started out with a night shift, that binds people together. It was a great team.” As on the EYD, paramedics and doctors had a six-hour shift as a team of two, then a break of 12 hours, followed by another six-hour shift. “That ensures that everyone gets some time to rest,” Carsten says. Especially from Saturday onwards, the paramedics had a lot to do. “There were young people with stomach problems and many with sunburn,” Carsten says. “One sister had an anaphylactic shock, so it was really good that my wife has 20 years of experience as an emergency doctor.” Carsten and Annegret’s summary: a great fellowship, a great youth. Carsten: “We’ll gladly be there again next time!”
Behind the microphone
Invisible for most, but audible for a few hundred young people, Wladimir participated in the IYC. Approximately 20 interpreters made sure that young people who do not speak German were able to listen to the divine service and some other events in their language. Wladimir, Evangelist from Berlin, has been working as an interpreter for Russian at church events since 1992, as well as at the IYC. Together with the young people from Berlin-Brandenburg, he travelled to Düsseldorf with a special train on Thursday. Every day on 8 am, a shuttle bus brought him and his colleagues to the exhibition site; at 10 pm they returned to their hotel. His workstation was a small booth on the gallery of Hall 6. Outside is a screen, inside two workstations. Headphones with microphones, a console, two Bibles - one in German and one in their respective mother tongue - are ready to be used, in addition to various slips of paper, some sweets and - very important - a bottle of water. Still water. They didn’t want any interference during their work. “If you do simultaneous interpretation, you need quick thinking,” Wladimir says. “You don’t have the time to look anything up.” At each event with translation, there are two interpreters in the booth. One is talking, the other pays attention that, for example, the recording button is actually activated. From the working area of District Apostle Wolfgang Nadolny (Berlin-Brandenburg), 220 brothers and sisters from Russia, 110 from Kazakhstan, six from Tajikistan, 13 from Uzbekistan and six from Mongolia came to the IYC. The people in these countries all understand Russian. More Russian-speaking brothers and sisters who couldn’t travel to Düsseldorf were connected via transmission. The interpreters experienced the divine service in the arena from Hall 6 as well and received Holy Communion directly in the cabin. “They have never forgotten us,” Wladimir says. Usually, interpreters switch every 20 minutes. “If possible, one interpreter accompanies one ministry the whole time in a divine service, so that none of the listeners gets confused. If one translates a divine service, it is important to establish a connection with the altar beforehand and to be on the same wavelength,” says Wladimir. “We are just a tool. If someone asks us afterwards what the divine service was about, we usually don’t know. But still we feel God’s blessing already while we are interpreting.”
After the IYC, Wladimir and the others from Berlin are taking a special train back home. He and the other helpers are going back to their everyday lives. But all of them are already looking forward to their next job.