The Encuentro in their own words

Here is an excerpt from an email sent by a Colombian Christian regarding the Encuentro, specifically about young people from poverty-stricken areas near the border with Ecuador.

The kids from Nariño were happy, because it was an extraordinary experience for them. Brother Gustavo called me and commented that they came back very enthusiastic, that they are now working with a lot of excitement in the congregation and that they are making plans to go to the nearby towns where Gustavo knows people in order to preach there.
For these boys the ability to go there and grow spiritually, it also represents the ability to know more young people like them who love the Lord, the opportunity for them to know other places, the opportunity to be at such a beautiful site with very comfortable beds, with a good bathroom, and with three meals a day.

Here is an excerpt from another email:

The general comments from so many of the young people… are very good. The kids arrived home very content and with a very good attitude in spiritual aspects… seeing a general summary of the photos, especially of the brothers who were coming from Tumaco, Ipiales and Pasto, and observing the passage of the trip for all of them was very touching for me… seeing the humility of them all, knowing that even in the middle of the poverty in which they live the Lord was blessing them to be able to go to the Encuentro. For many it was the first time that they had left their village, and for many it was the first week of their lives that they were fed correctly, slept in clean beds and felt really loved by many. [I have] complete certainty they will never forget this experience in their lives.

Young people from Tumaco, Ipiales and Pasto

Young people from Tumaco, Nariño, Ipiales and Pasto

These young people returned home with new spiritual desire, but the physical aspects mentioned above (beds, food, etc.) touch the heart.  I think of a benefit Paul described for brethren who met his physical needs.  “Not that I seek the gift itself, but I seek for the profit which increases to your account.” (Philippians 4:17)  The Lord notices those who care for His own.

The saints in Corinth, with their many problems, still helped brethren in need.  Paul’s commendations to them included these promises. 

“He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness; you will be enriched in everything for all liberality, which through us is producing thanksgiving to God. For the ministry of this service is not only fully supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing through many thanksgivings to God. Because of the proof given by this ministry, they will glorify God for your obedience to your confession of the gospel of Christ and for the liberality of your contribution to them and to all, while they also, by prayer on your behalf, yearn for you because of the surpassing grace of God in you.” (2 Corinthians 9:10-14)

All of these benefits [emphasis mine] hold true for any Christian attending to needs among God’s people.  Even for the individuals in the U.S. who helped these kids and others spend a full week with many Christians in a spiritual environment.  Everyone gains and grows, even if some never set foot inside Colombia.

About LukeChandler

Luke holds an M.A. in Ancient and Classical History and has been an adjunct professor at Florida College in Temple Terrace, Florida. Luke and his wife Melanie have five children. He serves as a minister with the North Terrace Church of Christ and has participated in multiple archaeological excavations in Israel. Luke leads popular study tours to Europe and the Bible Lands.
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3 Responses to The Encuentro in their own words

  1. Gardner says:

    The main thing accomplished at gatherings such as the “encuentro” is getting good people together to build each other up spiritually. You evidently had good leadership among the young people themselves and that is always a key. When pitfalls are avoided (such as leaving the impression that the encuentro is something from the “national” church of Christ) such gatherings can do a tremendous amount of good. Thanks for your efforts!

  2. Juju says:

    Most importantly, from the text, God is glorified and the thanksgivings go to Him.

    And I know that many have done just that since their return.

    Reading the emails you posted, my mind goes back to that week and those precious young faces. So many of them have so much to worry about during the other 51 weeks of the year. And this 1 week, they experienced joy and relief and contentment and freedom from worry. What an amazing thing for them. No matter how difficult I may think things are in my life, I’m sure that I will never be able to experience those feelings on the same level that many of these probably have. It is very humbling and I’m so glad to have had the opportunity to be there.

  3. Laura B says:

    It is incredible and humbling for me to read these statements. Cold showers, hard beds, and no air conditioning were a bit of a departure from the comforts I’m used to! Yet for these kids it was a huge blessing. I am touched by their enthusiasm and so thankful to God for setting in motion the chain of events that allowed them to attend. I pray that they and others will be able to have a similar experience next year.

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