November 17, 2022 | Medellin, Colombia | Daniela Arrieta and Inter-American Division News

Hundreds of adolescents took part in a region-wide reading competition in northern Colombia which culminated with a final event and a top winner recently. The initiative meant to motivate the reading of spiritual growth books organized by the children’s and adolescent ministries of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the North Colombia Union.

“One of the main objects for this initiative is for the children to read books published by our church because there is wisdom there,” said Zoaida Pérez, children and adolescent ministries director for the North Colombia Union.

The reading initiative was the first this year to engage 12 to 17-year-olds in churches and church schools in the region, she said. Youngsters read “The Party Boy” written by Alejandro Medina published by GEMA Editors in Mexico, is based on the bible story of Samson, the “Hercules” of the Old Testament.

Nearly 300 people gathered at the Botanical Garden’s Jose Manuel Restrepo Room in Medellin, Colombia, on Sep. 24, 2022, to witness the final competition of the reading initiative for adolescents across the region[Photo: North Colombia Union]

“With this type of competition, the motivation grows, and the trust is that when all of us join together for the good of the young people, creating materials that can aim to educate and help young people, I believe we are fulfilling the mission,” said the author of the book who was a keynote speaker during the final competition.

Nearly 300 gathered at the Botanical Garden’s Jose Manuel Restrepo Room in Medellin on Sep. 24, 2022, to cheer on and watch the grand finale competition among eight finalists who were representing the local fields in the region. Students enrolled in several Adventist schools also took part in the competition.  In addition, 320 students from a public school committed to reading the book during the school year thanks to an Adventist teacher who told them about the reading initiative, said Perez.

More than 480 participants studied the book since the beginning of the year, competing in their churches, districts and local fields before the final test at the union level. Fifteen-year-old Brenda Cortéz of the East Conference took the top spot answering the most questions correctly in the shortest amount of time, followed by Mariana Márquez of the South West Conference and Sebastian Rincón of the Central West Conference, who took the third place.

Brenda Cortéz, a 15-year old from the East Conference took the top spot during the reading competition. She answered the most questions correctly in the shortest amount of time against seven of her peers. [Photo: North Colombia Union]

“Reading this book has helped me grow a lot because it leaves us great teaching because despite the fact that Samson made mistakes, God’s mercy and forgiveness was shown,” said Elizabeth Méndez, a student representing the Adventist School on the San Andrés Island.

For Duván Oquendo, a parent, it’s important to instill the reading habit in young people. “My son acquired a lot of knowledge through this book, learning how Samson, made mistakes because he disobeyed God and his parents,” said Oquendo. “If our children learn to read these types of books, they will acquire principles and values very useful to them.”

“The results of this event was so positive and interesting and challenged leaders to continue working in favor of adolescents so they too can develop a relationship with Jesus and be ready to live in heaven with Him,” Perez said.

Author of the book studied this year Alejandro Medina of Mexico speaks during the event in Medellin, Colombia. [Photo: North Colombia Union]

Children and adolescent ministries leaders are in the process of selecting what will be the book to study for 2023.

To learn more about the Adventist Church in the North Colombia Union, its initiatives and activities, visit

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