Over 3,000 young people gathered for North Colombia Union’s youth and university students congress Aug. 11-14, 2022, at the Libertad Adventist School Auditorium in Bucaramanga, Colombia.  [Photo: North Colombia Union]

August 31, 2022 | Bucaramanga, Santander, Colombia | Daniel Arrieta, North Colombia Union

Thousands of young people and university students took part in a recent regional Youth Congress in Bucaramanga, Santander, Colombia. Coined as “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 Aug. 11-14, 2022. Attendees were taught how to use technology to witness, use new communication and service skills and disciple others to deepen their knowledge of Christ and fulfill the mission of spreading the gospel.

Young people traveled from throughout north Colombia to attend the congress. [Photo: North Colombia Union]

“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 activities in parks, activities for children, as well as distribution of literature in various communities.

L-R: Pastors Hiram Ruiz, public campus ministries director and Al Powell, youth ministries director, of the Inter-American Division and Mauricio Buitrago, youth ministries director of the North Colombia Union stand on stage while the pledge for the youth is recited. [Photo: North Colombia Union]

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,” said Fonnegra. “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 from the Inter-American Division, Jorge Luis Rodríguez, IADPA editor and Pastor Daniel Cayrus, chaplain from Colombian Adventist University.

A musical group leads in worship during the congress event. [Photo: North Colombia Union]

“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 who they belong to.

Youth delegates pause for prayer during the congress event. [Photo: North Colombia Union]

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 200,000 audience.

“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, watch the online transmission of the event, go to Hope Media Colombia YouTube Channel

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