What began as a twenty-fifth birthday party for Youth for Christ (YFC) in Brazil evolved into a cosmopolitan celebration. More than 3,500 young people, ages 15 to 25, attended the Generation 79 Youth Congress in Saõ Paulo last month; represented there were most of Brazil’s twenty-two states and twenty nations in all. A 160-member South Korean delegation attended, as did young people from Switzerland and Germany.
Paul Overholt, missionary and president of Brazil’s Youth for Christ organization, said, “The original idea was to celebrate YFC’s 25th anniversary in Brazil. The vision grew, however, and we decided to invite teenagers from all over the country.” Werner Burklin, YFC director in Germany, was executive director of the week-long conference, which had been in the planning stages for two years. The congress featured addresses by evangelists Billy Graham and Luis Palau, and YFC International President Jay Kesler. Martin Homan of Germany and Leo Janz of Canada also spoke during inspirational services. Over 450 Brazilian pastors attended special seminars during the congress, and special music was presented by singer Evie Tornquist, the Palermo Brothers, and several Brazilian musical groups.
Perhaps what made the congress unique, however, were the preliminary logistical problems that had to be solved. Burklin (who also planned the Eurofest Congress in 1974) and other YFC officials had to find accommodations, sanitary facilities, and meeting space for the 3,500 young people.
All this was accomplished by the selection of the Anhembi Convention Center as the meeting site; the floor of its main building covers ten acres. The mayor of Saõ Paulo, a sprawling metropolis of 9.5 million population, authorized most preparations for ...1
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