Colombia is a country of great diversity – diverse landscapes, climates, fruits and people.
This diversity is also reflected in generational differences. Many in the younger generation are discontent. In 2021, young people were on the frontlines of protests and marches against the government. Willing to do whatever it takes, they are very aware that on many occasions, these protests change from an intended peaceful tone to one of violence, often resulting in the death of civilians and police officers. The lack of clear and effective opportunities to improve their lives and see hope for a better future often causes protests to evolve into a wake of desolation, rage and destruction.
Several years ago, our Free Methodist church in Bogotá began the Foundation for Investment and Child Social Development (FINDSIN). At FINDESIN, we are committed to achieving transformation in the lives of young people and impacting communities in a way that contributes to the true transformation of our country.
We have explored several possibilities in order to know and connect with the young people in our community. One of our most successful strategies has been participating in the protest coordination meetings. Through these meetings, we have direct contact with the groups actively participating in the protests. These young adults are also the managers of other subgroups called “collectives.” The “collectives” focus on helping youth through artistic activities; they teach kids about music, dance and painting/graffiti art. We have been allowed to join them in their initiatives based on our knowledge and experience working with youth and children in emotional, psychological and spiritual areas. The first activity we participated in was painting a mural. The objective was to remove graffiti carrying messages of hate and war and exchange them for something more artistic, having a call for peace.
We are now involved in multiple activities with these youth. Through our interactions, we have earned the right to conversations that have begun relationships. We now offer workshops to help them develop a plan for their lives, manage biblical sexuality and seek social reconciliation, forgiveness and love. We also present them with the message of salvation. Our desire is to provide alternatives for their lives that will bring about transformation from God. We will continue working on these initiatives until we have achieved all God has placed in our hearts.
Eddy Johanna Ramirez serves FINDESIN (also known as the Beehive), a ministry of the FMC in Bogotá, Colombia.