In 2011, a group of students from River Plate Adventist University (RPAU), a school in Entre Ríos, Argentina, had a dream of organizing an international event to cater to young people wishing to become missionaries and leaders of the Adventist Church. As the organizers saw it, their main purpose was to inspire and train participants to fulfill the Great Commission which Jesus left for His disciples—preaching the gospel to the ends of the earth. The organizers’ dream came true when the first edition of the “I Will Go” conference was put together that same year.
On September 13, the third installment of the “I Will Go” International Conference opened on the RPAU campus with more than 1,400 young people from around the world. They came to share experiences, sum up strategies, and respond to God’s invitation to live as true disciples of Jesus. Their inspiration? Among others, a statement by church co-founder Ellen G. White, who over a century ago wrote, “Every true disciple is born into the kingdom of God as a missionary…. The grace of Christ in the soul is like a spring in the desert, welling up to refresh all, and making those who are ready to perish eager to drink of the water of life” (Desire of Ages, p. 195).
The event included devotionals, lectures, testimonies, and training workshops. Seventeen workshops were held concurrently but repeated several times for the students’ convenience. Two exhibits offered the opportunity of visiting booths about local and international mission projects. They included testimonies and the advertising of volunteer opportunities in the region and overseas.
In the past, mission events such as the “I Will Go” event has proved useful to ignite young people for mission and to connect them with volunteer opportunities around the world.
“Today we feel that it is our privilege to dream and inspire hope by training young people to feel the passion of serving in their fields,” said RPAU President Horacio Rizzo. “Our goal is to make disciples out of the new generations, so they commit to serve wherever there’s a need.”
Rizzo emphasized the importance of the “I Will Go” event for the world church.
“More than 200 RPAU students have finished their studies and went on to serve in 20 countries around the world. Half of them are in the 10/40 Window,” he said, in reference to a geographical region where most of the world population lives but most people have no contact with Christianity.
Participants said the event was for them an opportunity to increase their commitment to the mission of sharing God’s love around the world.
“‘I Will Go’ means being willing to listen to God’s call and fulfill the mission [He gave us] wherever He leads,” said Andresy Pimentel from Brazil.
For Eva Martínez, from Chile, ‘I Will Go’ gave her the chance to interact with mission experts. “[We learned] how to become missionaries…in a way that may reach people’s hearts.”
Bill Quispe, from Peru, highlighted the support church leaders are giving new generations and how encouraging it was to witness so many committed young people.
“I see the Church is providing new generations with the opportunity to get involved in mission,” he said. “It warms my heart to see so many young people willing to make that goal a reality.”
Antonio Pedroz, from Paraguay, seconded. “It is a commitment and a privilege to prepare ourselves to be missionaries. Many young people want to work for God but don’t know how—this event is essential because it trains and offers opportunities to serve,” he said.