February 11, 2022

University Students in Colombia Commit to ‘Shining Their Lights’

The decision is part of an initiative to strengthen mission on public campuses.

Daniela Arrieta, Gabriel Moreno, and Inter-American Division News

Hundreds of Seventh-day Adventist students enrolled at public university campuses across the North Colombian Union of the Adventist Church recently met during a recent three-day Public Campus Ministries (PCM) Congress in Santa Marta, Magdalena, Colombia. Due to the pandemic, students had not been able to meet since the last PCM Congress in 2018.

During the latest event, held at La Floresta campground, more than 400 students and young professionals were trained and motivated through seminars, presentations, worship, and prayer sessions.

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A university student shares what his Public Campus Ministries chapter is doing and how God has used him on campus. [Photo: North Colombia Union Conference]

“I’m so grateful to God for how this PCM ministry continues to be blessed with so many young people who are highly committed to God and His church,” Mauricio Buitrago, PMC director for the North Colombian Union, said.  The congress was intended to provide tools through spiritual, psychological, and academic activities to strengthen the participants’ faith and help them face various challenges, he said.

“It’s important that they build a closer relationship with Christ and keep faithful in the midst of their environment, so they can be instruments of God to help other young people and their professors know about God and His plan of salvation,” Buitrago said. Returning to their campuses with more confidence and diligence as they share the gospel with others was part of the goal of the event, he added.

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Adventist public university student leaders pose for a group photo with division and union leaders during a Public Campus Ministries event in Colombia in late 2021. [Photo: North Colombia Union Conference]

Adventist students who are members of the 18 PCM chapters at public universities across northern Colombia had the opportunity to present reports and share testimonies of what God has done in their lives, as well as making strides in religious freedom of expression.

Twenty-year-old Laura Pardo is studying law at Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana, a Catholic university in Medellin. Pardo, who is in her fourth year of studies, said that many of her Adventist peers have had to deal with ideas and invitations to join faiths that are contrary to the Word of God.

Pardo said that she and three of her fellow Adventists suggested to the university administration that the school hold a women’s international day and special events during which free hugs and prayers could be offered to all students.

“To our surprise, they responded that that was exactly what the university needed,” Pardo said. They agreed that the Adventist and other students should work together during spiritual activities, she added.

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Inter-American Division Public Campus Ministries director Hiram Ruiz prays during a worship service after challenging public university students to be a positive change on their campuses every day. [Photo: North Colombia Union Conference]

“We learned that if God brings challenges our way, He will open the way and clear the barriers that we face so that we can fulfill His mission,” she said.

Inter-American Division PCM director Hiram Ruiz encouraged university students to continue being the generation that should be the change today.

“We are amid a society that needs to know who God is,” Ruiz said. He challenged them to write their story just as Daniel did and declare that God is in control. “God gives wisdom, and He wants you to be the positive change in your university.”

The original version of this story was posted on the Inter-American Division news site.