On April 9, Youth for Christ in Colombia celebrated 45 years of ministry. What a joy it is, to be able to say that in spite of so many things that have happened during this time, our work has been sustained and maintained all thanks to the fact that God has been in the midst of all things.
Since its inception Youth for Christ Colombia (aka JPC Colombia) has been very close to youth work through different activities such as the formation of the first praise groups in the city, where they were the first youth ministry to use drums in their musical presentations. We were pioneers in the formation of Christian youth groups outside the traditional church and created the first theater festival in the city. We were able to teach in many churches about how you could work with young people inside the churches, since in those years there was no specialized ministry for youth. Many pastors and leaders were trained in our classes and our evangelism strategies.
During all these years there have been several leaders who have spearheaded Youth for Christ’s work at the national level. The first National Director was Oswaldo Pinzón who laid the foundations of what the ministry would be like. His passion and dedication to reaching many young people through youth work was infectious.
Following Oswaldo, Keith Carson, a missionary from the United States, was at the forefront for 7 years. Keith and his family came at a very difficult time not only for Youth for Christ but also for the country, when bombings and deaths by drug trafficking were part of daily life. Even so, they decided to stay and accompany our work until there was a new National Director in place.
Edgar Sánchez and his wife, Patricia, continued the ministry and led for some years. He made a lot of emphasis on evangelism through music and traveled throughout Colombia sharing the message of Jesus.
For the last 15 years Fernando Triviño has been the National Director. Fernando was introduced to Jesus as a teenager through work that Youth for Christ was doing at his school. Fernando has led Youth for Christ in Colombia with his wife alongside, and his three children have supported him unconditionally. He has been a volunteer, musician, youth leader, member of the National Board and now National Director. He has also been part of the International Board for 8 years. Fernando has made a career in Youth for Christ, just like many other young people who have formed their leadership through the ministerial opportunities we provide.
Currently Youth for Christ works on several fronts. We do social work in a very poor neighborhood of the capital where we serve more than 200 children and adolescents of different ages through “soccer school”, time management skills and training, English classes, games, and biblical studies. We know that our work has to transcend the social level, which is why we focus on transforming communities with God’s help. We also hold fresh and dynamic youth meetings, camps, leadership training and we work to provide meaningful programs to the schools.
Thousands of young people have gone through Youth for Christ during these 45 years. Hundreds have met Jesus through us, others met their future spouses, and many others continued their journey with Jesus. Each one of them has a special, unforgettable memory of their time with Youth for Christ.
For more than a year, JPC Colombia has been rewriting and reinventing itself. We built a new Strategic Plan for the next 20 years with national leadership; new programs are being formed that will be benchmarks in the continent and we are building a new institutional horizon based on the times but always “anchored to the Rock”. We have a new Board of Directors who are very committed, new national leadership is rising, and we can look to the future with optimism and dream of what God has shown us how he will use us to take the message of Christ to every corner of our country in the next 45 years.