August 6, 2014

Guatemala’s President Encourages Youth Congress Delegates to be Agents of Change

Nearly 6,000 Adventist youth listened
eagerly to Otto Perez Molina, president of Guatemala during the opening program
of the Inter-America Division Youth Congress at Ciudad San Cristobal Mega
Auditorium in Guatemala City, Guatemala.

“I am truly happy that you are here
and are embracing Guatemala,” said Otto Perez Molina, president of Guatemala,
as he welcomed the delegates. President Molina thanked the youth delegation and
church leaders for participating in dozens of projects to benefit needy
communities throughout the country during the previous 10 days.

President of Guatemala Otto Perez Molina challenges Adventist young people to be the agents of change to make a difference in their countries.The president praised the healthy
lifestyle adhered to by church members and shared that he too has made better
health choices recently. His government helped adopt and launch the church’s “I
Want to Live Healthy” initiative, with its eight natural remedies, to help
improve the lives of people on July 31.

Said the president, “You are the
agents of change to make a difference in your countries. We need your spirit. We
need your strength and your commitment.”

Otto Perez Leal, mayor of Mixco and
son of the president, thanked the church for choosing his municipal district to
hold such a historic youth event.

Mayor Perez Leal challenged young
people to “keep fighting for your dreams, your ideals, and continue
contributing to society, and work together with local governments to help
people in need for a positive change in their lives.

“In Mixco you have support and
friendship,” the mayor added before granting special recognition to IAD
President Israel Leito as a distinguished guest of the city. Leito prayed for
the government leaders and their spouses as the cultural segment of the evening

“We are starting a revolution
here,” said Leito as he spoke to the delegation. “We want to revolutionize our
homes with a powerful generation of children; we want to revolutionize our
universities with a powerful generation of students; and we want to revolutionize
our churches with a powerful generation of young people serving the Lord in
their congregations and communities. That’s why you are here.”

The energy-packed opening ceremony
saw a colorful display of the dozens of cultures, languages, and musical
performances, which set the tone for the next four days of the congress.

Organizers expect the theme of the
congress to have a lasting impact across the division, said Benjamin Carballo, IAD
youth ministries director. “You are a powerful generation and we want you to
embrace Guatemala, embracing one another and reaching out to embrace Jesus in
your daily walk. Your goal as youth leaders is to lead youth to a life of
service and accept the call of Christ.”

Claudy Retel from the Saint Martin
Church in Guadeloupe, traveled with 72 young people and was overjoyed to be
part of the opening. “I am delighted with what I have seen about the event,” he
said. “Young people are a powerful force in the church, and Jesus is pleased
with this.”

Violeta Dávila from the Central
Guatemala Church summed it up with these words: “This event could not have been
better. It’s an explosion of joy and bliss for Guatemala.”

Sharing joy and hope in Jesus is what
organizers expected their youth delegation to transmit as they participated in
more community projects throughout the city.

Young people built eight homes in
extremely poor communities, repaired five athletic courts, remodeled four
classrooms, cleaned up streets, and provided food to poor communities and nursing
homes throughout Guatemala.