The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Cruzando: Journey with Jesus

Remember the Alamodome

Everything’s bigger in Texas—especially God, when the NYG is there. That was just one slogan on thousands of T-shirts crowding the streets of San Antonio at the ELCA National Youth Gathering in July. About 40,000 Lutheran youth from all over the country brought a little bit more God to Texas during the event.

Averaging four hours of sleep and running on adrenaline and Jesus, they sang grace in restaurants, traded stickers and bracelets, and chanted regional versions of Jesus Loves Me. They surrounded the only McDonald’s with lines out the door and claimed the Alamodome with Christ-inspired conga lines.

The triennial gathering was held over two weeks, with more than 15,000 high-school kids and chaperones attending July 5-9 and another 24,000 July 12-16.

MYLE, the Multicultural Youth Leadership Event, and DAYLE, the Definitely-Abled Youth Leadership Event, were held July 2-5, while the Seventh Triennial Convention of the Lutheran Youth Organization took place July 9-12.

This year’s gathering theme, Cruzando (Spanish for “crossing”), was about following Jesus and crossing boundaries, a concept that came alive through San Antonio’s proximity to the U.S.-Mexican border.

But Cruzando was more than a leap into ethnic diversity. It was about transcending barriers that keep people alienated from God and each other.

Through speakers, musicians, workshops, interactive experiences and service, Lutheran youth came together for five days to strengthen their faith. I tagged along the second week as a youth group “groupie” and experienced cruzando with some of the most passionate, empowered teenagers one could meet.

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