By Joven A. Sierra-Llabore

(with Jalyn Joy Bachoco, Krystel Fabales, and Hella Nimes)

8More than 200 delegates from various parts of Western Visayas (WV) converged in Dreamer’s Valley, Tigbauan, Iloilo to make another memorable, Spirit- and fun-filled three-day journey with God.

With the battle cry: “Making Disciples, Planting Churches,” the third youth conference of WV had a mission of passing the baton of implementing the Great Commission and challenging the youth to go out of their comfort zones to achieve greater heights in the Gospel’s work.

Rev. Bernard de Jesus said, “The cultural landscape is changing. The ministry will go to the hands of ordinary people; however, are they up for the challenge?”

Seeing the detrimental effect of the social media and internet-related games, Rev. Benjamin Chavez admonished the youth: “Because of the internet, many youth are distracted from the church ministry. They can spend more time playing and browsing social networking sites for hours and still they are not tired.”

Every session had been a wake-up call to everyone who was all ears in listening to the four dynamic speakers namely Rev. Benjamin Chavez, Rev. Bernard de Jesus, Rev. Virgilio Fabales, and Rev. Myrna Pacheco.

Words were shared, tears were shed.

The Holy Spirit stirred the hearts of many as seen in the remorseful cries and lifted hands of the young people during the altar call.

Full of compassion and care, the pastors laid their hands on the head of their members. Speaking and praying in tongue, they asked the Spirit of God to be poured out on their lives – to give them courage and fuel to spread the word.

In return, the members also prayed for their respective pastors professing their love for their leaders and reassuring them that they will do their part in evangelizing and making disciples.

Pastor Pacheco said,“The world is perishing. We see people dying without Jesus in their lives. Nobody wants the idea of disciple making and church planting but the church exists for these purposes”.

“We need the next generation, your generation. The mandate is given to everyone and we must obey. If you love Jesus, do the job. Your love should be partnered with your action,” she added.

Shouts of joy and screams of fun enveloped the campsite when the youth had their relay games on the second day to light things up.

Battle of the bands was also held the last night that even the pastors joined in. They jumped and danced in the every music played.

Scopes of friends were widened as they mingled with each other knowing that they came from different provinces and cities.

Everyone had fellowship – sharing their mission in life, telling the other youth how they were touched by God, and affirming their commitments that they were going to take this great commission seriously.

Sharing her experience from this conference, Raine Aglimeo of EFC – San Miguel, Iloilo said: “I was truly blessed. My heart was opened. Through this three-day camp, I knew how to do discipleship. Everyone of us has purpose why we are saved, and that is  to share the Word of God to those who are in dire need of it.”

Moved and inspired, Claudine Nones of EFC – Dao, Antique said:  “We should take responsibility to make disciples and preach His Word. Doing these will be an encouragement to other Christian youth to do so.”

Both third time attendees in the WV Youth Conference, Sherwin Estaquio from EFC – Laua-an, Antique and Sharlene de los Reyes EFC – Ajuy were moved and baptized. They realized that they shall make disciples as what God has planned for them fully committing their whole life to share the gospel in their places.

Three days was enough to share the battle cry and it’s up to the youth whether they will commit to that challenge or not.

Looking at those reactions though, one can surely say, the youth ACCEPTED THE CHALLENGE.

Are you one of them?