– by Daniela Díaz
This January, 235 young people and 116 youth leaders from Latin America’s Central Zone of Kairos were gathered in Tegucigalpa, Honduras to take part on the third Youth Conference titled: Tu Momento (Your Time) 2017.
The venue was Campus el Tabor, Valle de Ángeles’, the same one used for the conference in 2013. Young people from Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua and Guatemala were gathered.
The event, that lasted four days, invited the young people to take action and to be a part of God’s mission not only in their own personal lives but in the broader mission of the Sword of the Spirit from this early time, to make the most of their youth to serve Him. God told them” This is your time”.
There were three simultaneous events: a conference for the 15-18 year olds and two camps (one for the boys and one for the girls) for the 12-14 year olds.
The event was led mainly by university students that have given their lives to God and are serving the young people for him. Pablo Madrigal and Daniela Bravo were in charge of the conference. The speakers were Lester Lacayo, César Corrales and Horacio Vega from the community Ciudad de Dios (Nicaragua), Sara Fonseca, Marco Madrigal and Miguel Vargas from the community Árbol de Vida (Costa Rica) and Melina Montero from the community Fuente de Vida (Costa Rica).
During the conference, the young people were encouraged to set a personal goal for themselves, and they also committed to organizing a group project, by local communities, that they will run during this year. There was also time for recreation and games.
Each of the five sessions had a main theme. Each of the sessions included a talk, a prayer time, and some other activities like workshops, discussion groups and games. The young people could choose between three workshops of 3 sessions each: 1. sexuality, 2. social media and 3. relationships & decision making .
The first theme was The time we were assigned to live in. It was about them living in a time full of opportunities, a time when they have more career options than ever before, when women have rights, when people have access to a large amount of information because of technology and that information obliges them to take stands and define what they believe in. But they also live in a contradictory world, full of wars and crises. All this helped them understand that it is in their hands to seize the opportunities and advantages, confront the crises and accept the time that is theirs to live and to do something with it. This session also invited the young people to lay aside all material things, relationships and other things that may hinder them from moving forward.
The second talk was titled The Power of Being Young and the speaker gave some examples of young people who have done great and impressive deeds in their youth. They achieved that because they made the key decisions in a key time. The world has a stereotype of young people but that doesn’t mean we have to be like the stereotype, we can decide to be different. It was also mentioned that the advantages of being young are infinite but they won’t last forever, they have to be used now! This talk called the young people toward excellence, because they do things for God and he is excellent.
The third session was called Shalom Project. It was about God calling each and every one of the young people there – at that very moment. It was not a coincidence that they were there. They all have a call to live community and engage in the vision that they all belong to a great wall, the bulwark to strengthen God’s people, and that they have a place in that bulwark that no one else can fill.
The fourth session, Your Time was a very powerful prayer meeting divided up into men and women. The Lord healed many wounds and called people to take their place in the bulwark personally, and to respond, each from their own place.
The last one was called The Day after Tomorrow. The speakers talked about how God had acted throughout the conference and how he had renewed hearts, but that God did not want all this to be just a memory, but a in their lives. That when they get home they would continue striving in his power against the evil in the world. The speakers also encouraged them not to forget all that they experienced and all that they received. There were many examples of words spoken by God to young people like Jeremiah, Joshua and Timothy.
There was one extra session where the young people had a space to devise ways to improve the youth groups and outreaches in their local communities. It was an extended time where they got together with a leader to help them to express their ideas better.
The Lord has done great things for the young people of our communities and they left the conference with new gifts, encouraged and equipped with the weapons of God!
Gabriel Pinel, Victoria de Dios, Honduras.
Without a doubt, God has a perfect plan for our lives. When I was invited to the “Tu Momento” Conference I wasn’t planning on going. I didn’t feel like it and had a sense of unworthiness. However, the day before the conference I changed my mind and I said ‘yes’ to the Lord.
Four days had passed and I still didn’t have the answer I was looking for. There was a prayer time where men and women were set apart and it was then that God, through my brothers and my own prayer, gave me the answer I had been looking for, for more than two years. I realized that we need to trust the Lord with all of our lives and say ‘yes’ to him with certainty that it is the only way he can direct our lives perfectly. Every morning, when I wake up, I thank God for changing my mind and giving me the strength to give him my firm ‘yes’.
Maria Angelica Garay, Ciudad de Dios, Nicaragua.
We were in a prayer time and I wasn’t feeling anything. I could see many people crying or slain in the spirit and I asked the Lord to feel something special. I asked the Lord for a specific sign and he granted it, in that moment I felt a tingling in my back and it was very clear that God gave me that sign not to prove that he was there, but to remind me how special I am to him because I am his daughter and he loves me.
The conference was a great experience. It wasn’t until this moment that I understood that God had saved me from a life in the world and that he wants my ‘yes’ to be able to do great things with me. If I give my ‘yes’ to him, it will be the best decision of my life.
I hope to be able to share this treasure with my friends to let them know how great the Lord is and that if they join his plan, they will lack nothing in the world.
Aldo Arana, Ciudad de Dios, Nicaragua.
The conference in Honduras was a life-changing experience. I would live it a thousand times again without a doubt because I experienced the Lord in an incredible way.
I thank God for all the experiences, for all the people I met who helped me get closer to the Lord throughout the conference, for all the talks and games that helped me getting to know more people. All these highlighted the fact that following Christ is worth it, and that we must not surrender in the race of life whose goal is heaven, and that we need to be the light of the world to be an example of radical Christians, active people who give it all to follow Christ.
María Paula Brenes, Árbol de Vida, Costa Rica.
I was delighted by the prayer times, they were very powerful and God spoke to me quite a lot through them. The Holy Spirit was present giving many gifts, and we prayed over one another.
I remember feeling God asking me to pray for people, so I began looking carefully and when I saw someone and my heart would beat harder I felt I needed to pray for that person, and I did. I repeated this several times.
In one prayer meeting, the Lord gave me a word saying, “You were meant to be together. Listen how you clap and sing together as one person. Have no doubt that you are part of my people and this is a people I made to stay together.”
The Lord changed my heart. Now I do something I was struggling a lot to do: I am praying every day.
Mario Rietti, Victoria de Dios, Honduras.
The conference was striking because I held a grudge in my heart. Each talk made it clearer that I must never give up, that I have to be a radical man, that I have to make a commitment to the bulwark and to myself, and stay faithful in the battle.
The most shocking moment for me was the men’s prayer time because it was in that moment that all my brothers were on fire, enjoying the presence of the Lord.
Esteban Brenes, Árbol de Vida, Costa Rica.
This ‘Tu Momento’ Conference was that “breakthrough moment” everyone always talks about in their testimonies. I saw and felt the Lord working strongly, not only in me, but in the unity of my group of friends.
Daniela Díaz is a young person from the Arbol de Vida Community in Costa Rica. Photographs courtesy of the event’s organizers.