Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Colombian Young Adults Headed to Germany

This year, 2017, Lutherans, Catholics, and other Protestants all around the world are celebrating the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation. The Lutheran Church of Colombia (IELCO) is proudly sending three of their young adults (still considered youth here) to Germany for the year. Below is an article written by Marian Coy (president of the JLMC - national youth group) along with the three who are headed to Germany: Cristian Bernal, Vanesa Gomez and Diana Vasquez. I have had the opportunity to work closely with all three, especially Cristian (duing ProFILE 2015) and Diana (during ProFILE 2016), they all three are excellent leaders and I have no doubt will take their responsibilities seriously and make IELCO proud! The three leave tomorrow, please keep them in your prayers for safe travels as well as a wonderful year full of learning, teaching and a lifetime of memories. 

(left to right) Cristian Bernal, Vanesa Gomez, and Diana Vasquez,
photo submitted by Cristian Bernal
(Letter translated by Curtis)

The year 2017 brings with it an anniversary of global connotation, an event that changed the Germany of the middle Ages. The reform was carried out by Martin Luther, who not only changed the way of seeing the Church in society but also changed society itself and its absence of intellectual criticism of its context.

In 1517 the monk and theologian Martin Luther published 95 Theses on the system of commerce of indulgences in the Catholic Church. His criticism was directed at the preaching and practice of “indulgences” and counteracted this system with the power of faith that relies only on the grace of God. Because of this, the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) and the Protestant Kirchentag (DEKT) are organizing the commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, for which they have created the organization "r2017".

This event, being of great importance in Germany as well as globally, the organization (r2017) made a call addressed to 300 young people from all over the world, who would like to work as volunteers in the planning and execution of all the events from February to November of 2017.

In February 2016, Cristian Bernal (Coordinator of the Llanos Region of the Lutheran Youth Mission of Colombia, JLMC of IELCO) was the first to find a Facebook publication that Caroline Bader (FLM youth secretary) posted, and he was the first to apply. Subsequently, the JLMC, understanding the importance of this event and the possible opportunity for the young people of Colombia, decided to join the campaign. They sent a letter to all congregations, missions and preaching points of the national church, informing about this opportunity.

For the Lutheran Youth Mission of Colombia, it is a pleasure to inform you that after a long process, Cristian Bernal (leader of the Santiago Apostolic Mission of Yopal), Diana Vásquez (leader of the Congregation Divine Redeemer of Bucaramanga) and Vanesa Gómez (at the San Pablo Congregation in Bogota) have been accepted to participate in this great celebration and traveled on January 26, 2017 to the city of Wittenberg, Germany to begin their volunteer work.

These young people will be working on a project called the “World Reformation Exhibition” which includes “Confirmant and Youth Camps" and "European Reformation Youth Map”. The "World Reformation Exhibition" project is a large exhibition that will take place in seven cities in Germany and will run for four months (June-September). There will be art programs, concerts and many other events in which these three young people will assist.

It is worth mentioning that the process to participate in this project was carried out directly with the organization "r2017" and its call was open to all young people in the world (Lutherans and non-Lutherans), interviews and formalities were carried out via e- Mail and skype with the selection committee in 2016.

It is noteworthy that these young people will travel through the organization ICYE (International Cultural Youth Exchange) at the request of the organization r2017. The ICYE organization helps them with the visa procedures and prepares them in a camp the third weekend of January 2017.

As JLMC we feel completely represented by these three young people and we know that they will do an excellent job. We hope in the love of Christ that this be one of the best experiences of their lives.

Mesa Coordinadora Juventud Luterana Misionera de Colombia 2015-2017