In Paraguay, 75 percent of the population is under 35 years old. At 43 years old, I am sometimes the oldest person at church. Children and youth make up more than half our congregation and it is the norm for youth and even very young children to come to church alone.
Most of the youth that are active in the Paraguayan Methodist Church are first generation Christians. The old saying that “Christians live boring lives” is not heard much here. In fact, the Christian youth tend to have more things to do and the National Youth have a packed social calendar.
One issue that we face here in Paraguay is teen pregnancy. With so many young people, most of them without the financial means to do anything but hang out, they tend to get in trouble. The youth programs that we are developing are meant to keep the kids out of trouble as much as to have Christian fellowship and learn about God.
In February of 2012, three youth leaders from different churches were able to travel to Chile for a ten day Youth Conference. They paid part of their way and their churches helped out. After they returned, we held a youth camp and elected new leaders for the National Youth.