All churches in the city were invited to attend this "Congreso" which was being held at the Palacio de Eventos (the concert hall in the city). The days were split up into 2 separate sessions.The morning sessions were 4 hours long (or longer) and designed for church and ministry leaders and were more training oriented, with preachers and worship music. The evening sessions (2 hours or longer) were open to anyone wishing to attend (no charge) and included worship/concert and preaching. I am including some video so you can get an idea of what it was like.
This first video was from a concert portion of the conference. The type of music being played is called Gaita. This type of music has its origin here in Maracaibo. While Gaitas are typically Christmas music in Venezuela, they are played year-round in Maracaibo.
This next video is a music group called "Generación". They are a local Christian rock band that performed a few times during the conference.
This video was part of the last sermon, held on the last evening. The morning sermons were teaching sermons for pastors and church leaders. The evening sermons were "revival" style sermons for the general population. All 3 pastors who spoke were from Puerto Rico but are living in Florida, so they all knew English (and tossed in a few English words every now and then). I am surprised that I could actually understand most of what was being said during each of the messages, including one sermon where I understood the entire message!
When I first heard about this conference, I did not want to go. I knew that I was going to have a lot of work to do this week and I really didn't want to spend my whole day at this conference and definitely not for 3 days in a row (and yes, this was a whole day event- especially with traveling back and forth through rush hour traffic). However, God was working on my heart. He spoke to me in ways I really would not have thought (more about that in another blog entry) and He changed my attitude. I am very glad that I went and I hope that the church has another Congreso soon.