Costa Rica Conference
This year has been anything but normal, and as with most of our ecclesial gatherings of late, the Costa Rican brothers and sisters decided months ago to hold their conference in a virtual format.
This required preparation of another type. Instead of booking a campground and putting together the details of holding a camp in person, they were tasked with putting together a conference that followed as closely as possible their usual format to provide spiritual enrichment for all in attendance, from seasoned brothers and sisters to the very young.
They did a wonderful job and those who attended greatly benefitted.
Bro. Dennis Paggi (Verdugo Hills, CA) was the main speaker for the weekend, which this year was held from the 24th through the 27th of December. Bro. Dennis prepared his four classes and exhortation to follow the theme of the conference, “Our Priorities.”
The feeling of brotherhood was strong
In his first class, he used the book of Romans as a basis to speak about our duty as believers to become living sacrifices and showed what that meant in practical terms. In his second class, he covered the topic of being separate from the world careful to avoid idolatry in the form of covetousness. The third class dealt with the metamorphosis we undergo in our spiritual lives and our cycle of growth. His fourth and final class dealt with the way sin traps us and how God provides us an escape.
In his exhortation, he spoke on the phrase, “Here I am” and brought out how if we are ready to serve God, He is ready to do whatever is necessary to help us toward salvation. The Costa Rican brothers and sisters always do a wonderful job of providing for the many different age groups and interests of the attendees, and this year was no exception.
In addition to the adult classes, there were classes for the younger children by Sis. Norma Shankour (Verdugo Hills, CA). Classes for the 8-12 year olds were led by Sis. Marcela Castellanos (Honduras). Classes for the young people were led by Bro. Lucas Gener (Argentina).
Bro. David Collister (Verdugo Hills, CA) gave a brothers’ class on the topic “You Are the Temple of God,” explaining that the priority of the brethren must be in providing a good example to the ecclesia. Sis. Marisol Araya (Costa Rica) gave a sisters’ class on the topic, “Our Priorities: Some Examples of Women of the Bible.”
There was a craft session on the first day which was well liked, as well as some Bible games and a movie with an inspirational theme. The last night of the conference ended with a virtual bonfire, where we gathered around our computers with snacks and shared some games and singing of hymns. There was even a virtual “bonfire” on the screen.
Sunday morning was very special this year, beginning with four baptisms. Roy Eliécer Alfaro Rojas, Gladys Chavarria Pérez, Guiselle Arias Picado, and Maricel Vargas Arias (Costa Rica) were all baptized into the saving name of Jesus Christ.
The baptisms led right into the memorial service. It was a wonderful start to the last day of the conference. The rest of the day consisted of the fourth class by Bro. Dennis, and then a closing session in which a Bible knowledge game was played, and then final goodbyes were said.
The conference was a very enriching experience, and many expressed how they so appreciated coming together from many different countries to share and build each other up in the faith we all share. The feeling of brotherhood was strong, and the fact that it is possible to share in activities from afar helped to quell the sadness at saying goodbye at the end of a wonderful three days.
Many brothers and sisters worked tirelessly before and during the conference to make sure it all came together seamlessly. There was even a wonderful video of the activities during the conference. Work was also done after the conference to provide access to the content of the weekend through links to videos.
We so appreciate the efforts of all those who worked hard to make this conference a success, including the committee, the teachers, those who organized the activities, and all who participated.
Written by David Collister,
CBMA Link for Costa Rica
Submitted by Jan Berneau,