In the spring of 2004, Pastor Sherwin Callwood, Youth Director, met with Hispanic Youth Leaders to share with them his desire to see a Hispanic Youth Federation. A few months later Pastor Callwood, Pastor Roger Alverez, Esmeralda Harris (Hispanic Federation President) and Isaac Ibarra organized the first annual SEC Hispanic Youth Federation. The event, which was themed Rescue Me as I Am, was held in Miami, Florida during the weekend of October 29-31. The weekend began with an AYS program on Friday evening Pilgrims SDA Church.
On Sabbath Pastor Cesar Cardenas, Director of Youth Evangelism for the South Central Conference of Columbia, challenged the 2,000 plus youth in attendance to put Christ first. He informed them that it doesnt matter how far you have fallen, Jesus has the power to reach you where you are. On Sabbath evening men from the Miami Mission Center for Drug Rehabilitation gave a moving testimony of how Jesus rescued them where they were. The event also featured a concert by Junior Marchena, soloist for La Voz de La Esperanza (Voice of Prophecy) and a social event that was held on Sunday morning. One of the many highlights of the weekend was the first performance of the Hispanic Drum Corp.
The organizers of the event stated that the Federation exceeded all of their expectations. The youth were equally as excited. Odelkys Alvarez (17) a member of the Pilgrims SDA church stated: To me this weekend was a true blessing. As a young person I could say that it is not very easy to hold my attention and at the same time have a strong message touch me so deeply. During this weekend every message touched my heat in a very special way. I felt Gods presence in my life and Im glad that I attended. Charylin Correa (14), also a member of the Pilgrims SDA Church stated: The whole weekend has been a comforting experience for me. The speaker made me realize that God is a true friend not just a person that sits on a gold throne, saying: saved or not saved. I realize that God does things for a purpose and that He accepts you no matter what you have done. He will rescue me as I am with all my defects and sins.