Generation of Youth for Christ in Spanish Evangelizes in Cleburne, Texas
Hundreds consecrated their lives and renewed their commitment to Christ.

BY ALFREDO GARCIA-MARENKO AND CAROLYN AZO, reporting from Keene, Texas

For four consecutive years Generation of Youth for Christ in Spanish (GYC en Español) has brought together hundreds of young people from across the United States, as well as attendees from Mexico and Puerto Rico, who convened in Keene, Texas, from June 9 to 12, 2011.

“Our youth have been directly exposed to the benefits and lovely environment of our tertiary level educational institutions,” says Yamil Rosario, general vice president of GYC en Español, who, along with his brothers—Jeffrey and Jay—is involved in the leadership and activities of GYC. Those attending this year’s congress worshipped on Sabbath morning and participated in missionary work later that afternoon in nearby Cleburne. The event was streamed live through ustream.com and recorded by the international Christian network 3ABN Latino team.   

“For this year’s event we chose the theme ‘Standing Firm, Go Forward’ because we wanted to emphasize the message that Pastor Ted N. C. Wilson presented at the last GYC congress, celebrated December 30, 2010, through January 1, 2011, in Baltimore, Maryland,” said Mark A. Valadez, president of GYC en Español, and event director.

GYC EN ESPAÑOL GOING FORWARD: Caleb Rodríguez (left) and Diana Pleités moving forward from door-to-door evangelizing Cleburne, Texas, in 102-degree weather on June 11, 2011. The homeowner thanked the youth for their visit, accepted free literature, and requested prayers for himself and his family.  Hundreds of their peers simultaneously 
witnessed in the city. [PHOTO Carcia-Marenko]
On Sabbath morning Carlos Craig, president of the Texas Conference, delivered the keynote message and a direct appeal to serious commitment to Jesus and His cause that was responded to by both leaders and many young people in attendance.

Other speakers and presenters included Ismael Castillo, president of church-owned Montemorelos University in the state of Nuevo León, Mexico; Raúl Gómez, retired former executive secretary of the South American Division; Manuel Montero, a physician and postgraduate student at Loma Linda University; Martha Muñoz, a teacher from Puerto Rico presently serving as a missionary to Korea; Isaac and Míriam López, hosts of the event at the Keene Spanish church; Salomón Espinoza, GYC en Español speaker; Jonatán Sánchez, from the GLOW ministry; Alex Ramírez and Jay Rosario, vice presidents of GYC en Español; and Mark A. Valadez, president of GYC en Español. Each one encouraged and equipped the youth for a closer relationship with Jesus and His church, and for the completion of our common mission. Alfredo Garcia-Marenko, former General Conference Youth Department associate director, encouraged the youth to work together with church leadership and be involved in their local youth societies, Master Guide clubs, Adventist Youth Leader clubs, youth federations, and the Adventist university student associations, and to use church resources, including Adventist Review and Adventist World magazines. Manny Cruz, North American Division associate youth director, sent greetings and encouraging words through a video clip played on Sabbath morning.

On Sabbath afternoon young people boarded buses with a single mission: to evangelize nearby Cleburne door to door. In 102-degree weather the youth were witnesses for Christ. In the evening session many told stories about their unique experiences.

Fifteen-year-old Jennifer Ramírez, who attended the outreach activity for the first time, shared with everyone her divine appointment: “We went on the streets, and nobody seemed to be interested in taking the survey. Finally, when we were about to leave, a young man opened his door and began talking to us. We shared the survey and noticed that he knew a lot about the Bible. He was amazed that young people would come to his door and talk to him about God. When he asked what church we attended, I told him it was the Seventh-day Adventist Church.  He told us that he used to be a Seventh-day Adventist as a child.  I told him he should read
The Great Controversy. He really wanted to have the book.” 

After Ramírez returned to church, she had the burden in her heart to give him the book before he returned to his home in California. After the evening plenary session Ramírez, accompanied by Valadez and a friend, went to the young man’s house and gave him the book. Said Ramírez, “We prayed with him. I am so excited and want to do this again!”


“STANDING FIRM, GO FORWARD”: This theme inspired 800 attendees to the 2011 GYC en Español event. 
Carlos Craig, president of the Texas Conference, delivers a message during the Sabbath morning worship at the Keene Seventh-day Adventist Spanish Church.
Eloé Esquivel, who came from Kansas, said he was blessed by attending the event. As he went to the outreach activity, he remembered the first time he was reached by the same woman who brought him and his friends to this year’s GYC en Español. Being a first-year Seventh-day Adventist, he realized the importance of sharing the Word of God. “During outreach I was able to pray with two families.  I was very excited to tell them about God, because I remembered the first Sabbath when someone knocked on 
my door.”

In one hour 369 doors were opened, 57 people were prayed for, 190 homes received literature, and local senior pastor Isaac López received a list of 63 names of people interested in receiving Bible studies.

Carolina Bonilla, vice president for communications for GYC en Español, said, “I see our youth very interested in the study of the Word of God in these last days. This weekend, many people, including myself, made a serious commitment to live actively to honor and glorify the Lord’s name. We will only know the eternal consequences of what took place here when Jesus comes. All I understand right now is that not only were people in Keene blessed, but this has opened doors for a worldwide youth revival.”

Valadez added, “I am excited to see our Spanish-speaking young people actively involved in evangelism. We’ve had more than 800 attendees this year in the Keene Spanish church, and I think we have accomplished some of our objectives in this and in past conferences. There is still much more to do on behalf of the youth. For this reason we will continue to work together with the leadership of our church.” n




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