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Colombia YAV site

Program Partner

Presbyterian Church of Colombia

Program Description

YAVs placed in Colombia gain new perspective on what it means to be church through service with the Iglesia Presbiteriana de Colombia or IPC (Presbyterian Church of Colombia). YAVs live with host families in different regions of the country working alongside the church. Volunteers learn from and contribute to the IPC’s holistic witness throughout the year. YAVs will learn to be globally-minded leaders while cultivating awareness on the interconnections between church and society.

Site Coordinator

Sarah Henken
How do I apply?

LEARN MORE by selecting an option from the green bar above! Details on Intentional Community Living, YAV Blogs, Placement Opportunities & Requirements can be found.

On security concerns in Colombia:
You may have heard some scary things about Colombia, and drug trafficking and armed conflict are still problems in the country. However, the generalized violence that plagued the country over a decade ago has subsided, and the incidence of kidnapping has declined dramatically. There continue to be dangers and tensions that warrant our prayers, advocacy, and concern, but the threats now tend to be targeted and are not of the sort that typically harm outsiders (i.e. visitors from the USA).

Most importantly, our partners in the Presbyterian Church of Colombia take great care in providing for the safety of their sisters and brothers from the U.S. church. They have significant experience in doing so, because the partnership between our churches has been strengthened by frequent visits from partner presbyteries over the past fifteen years. Pairs of U.S. accompaniers have been a regular presence, each team coming for a month or two in country. The accompaniment program began almost ten years ago and today 100 individuals have come to Colombia through that Presbyterian witness to God’s peace.

Here in Colombia, as in all places, we trust in God’s constant love and presence. We take measures to be informed and savvy, rely on the wisdom and knowledge of our partners, and step forward in faith as God leads us.

Intentional Community Living

Volunteers will engage in orientation together upon arrival in Colombia with the site coordinator and IPC leaders. They will serve in different places around the country but will come together for group reflection at appointed times throughout the year. Each volunteer will be connected with a local pastoral mentor and expected to participate in congregational life and community worship.


Young Adult Volunteers (YAV) is a service and leadership development program through the World Mission division of the PC(USA). Young adults serve for one year in the U.S. or internationally, in areas such as fair trade or environmental issues, and have the opportunity to experience Christianity in a new culture. YAVs are between ages 19 and 30. Check out the YAV program blog here. 

Kara, Colombia


Hannah Nelson


Hannah McKerley
Carson Smith


Ainsley Herrick
Brittany Beasley

Placement Opportunities

The IPC has placements in each of its three presbyteries, with hubs in the cities of Bogotá
(Central Presbytery), Barranquilla (North Coast Presbytery), and Apartadó (Urabá Presbytery).

Placement opportunities include:

  • Church-based micro-enterprise and agriculture
  • Urban youth programs
  • Advocacy and accompaniment with displaced communities
  • Community-based peace initiatives
  • Rural children’s programs


Volunteers will be placed with local host families that will “adopt” them for the year. Volunteers will take part in family life, including chores and celebrations.


Age: 21-30

Education: College degree or equivalent experience

Language: Knowledge of Spanish is extremely helpful, but arrangements can be made for language study during service

Other: Openness to simple living, cultural humility, readiness to learn, and willingness to adjust personal expectations and preferences to respond appropriately to the needs of the community