Thousands of young people and university students took part in a recent regional youth congress in Bucaramanga, Santander, Colombia. Coined “I Choose To Be Faithful,” the event drew more than 3,000 from throughout the northern part of Colombia to meet at Libertad Adventist School on August 11–14, 2022. Attendees were taught how to use technology and new communication and service skills to witness and disciple others to deepen their knowledge of Christ and fulfill the mission of spreading the gospel.
“A congress in Colombia always gives us the opportunity to project ourselves into the future, to evaluate what has been done, and be able to have our young people active [in the church],” said Pastor Mauricio Buitrago, Youth Ministries director for the North Colombia Union and main organizer of the event. The opportunity to gather was delayed because of the pandemic, but gathering in-person together was a real special treat for the entire delegation, he said. “Many who are attending come from places where their churches have 20 or 30 members, and a congress lets them see that we are a large and strong church.”
The program included worship, praise, prayer sessions, training, and study of the Bible during the four-day event. Young people also took part in testifying through cleaning efforts in parks, activities for children, as well as distribution of literature in various communities.
Yeison Fonnegra, a delegate from the East Central Colombian Conference in Barrancabermeja, said it was his first time in such a large congress and an unforgettable experience. “Being part of this congress has enriched me as we share with the culture of our country, listening to speakers, connecting with each delegate, and enjoying the singers. It has been so edifying for my life and has strengthened my faith.”
Keynote speakers included Pastors Hiram Ruiz, Public Campus Ministries director, Al Powell, Youth Ministries director for the Inter-American Division, Jorge Luis Rodríguez, IADPA editor, and Pastor Daniel Cayrus, chaplain from Colombian Adventist University.
“I want you to think that your life should embody the life of Christ,” said Ruiz. “Your presence at university will make a huge difference, but you need to draw close to people, tell them who God is to you.” Ruiz reminded young people to become ambassadors for Christ wherever they find themselves.
Pastor Alejando Medina Villareal, author and faculty member for the postgraduate program at Montemorelos University in Mexico, reminded attendees that a youth congress helps them know who they are and to whom they belong.
The program was carried live online through the Hope Media Colombia television and radio stations in North Colombia, covering the cities of Medellin and Bucaramanga with an estimated audience of 200,000.
“It is necessary that in the end times in which we are living that young people make the decision to be faithful to God and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit,” Buitrago said.
To view the videos and watch the online transmission of the event, go to the Hope Media Colombia YouTube Channel.