This past week over 70 youth/young adults gathered for the triennial Latin American Covenant Youth Gathering. There were participants from Colombia, Uruguay, Chile, Mexico, Ecuador, the United States, and Norway. The theme was “Formed to Transform” and the three days were filled with times of worship, teaching, dialogue, prayer, and play.
Pastor Peter Hong from New Community Covenant Church in Chicago was the invited speaker and challenged the participants to look at Scripture and what it means to be in the world but not of it. He spoke on the book of Daniel and the model that Daniel is for us as Christians. People were encouraged to look honestly at their lives, to repent of idols they might have, and to experience the amazing grace of Jesus. Along with the teachings there were several hours a day given to small group dialogue, focused on Scripture and the speaker’s message. There were also times of dialogue among the leaders from the various countries. All of them expressed the importance of having a time and space for these important dialogues. They expressed that many times youth in their countries have questions, but do not have a place to express them. So together they asked questions like, “what is the church?” “what does it mean to be formed as a disciple?” “how do we disciple others?” “what is the future of the church?”
The participants shared about the experiences in their countries. One of the participants from Mexico shared how he and a few other friends began to meet in a park for discussion about matters of faith, and slowly the group kept growing and more people began to join them. These leaders brought with them deep questions, important reflections, and new engaging ideas. How awesome it is to come together, brought together by our faith in Jesus, and encourage and challenge one another.