Excluding Christmas, the undisputed highlight of the year for the children of Brunstad Christian Church South Africa, is the annual Children’s Conference. All three churches in South Africa participate, namely Vanderbijlpark, Pretoria and Cape Town with Vanderbijlpark being the host church.
The kickoff to the 2019 conference on the evening of Friday, 27th September, saw not only 115 excited children, aged from 1 to 12 years, gather together in the open air courtyard of the Stephanopark Conference Centre, but as many enthusiastic youth and parents were also there to join in the fun. Wearing their brightly coloured “Jesus is my friend” T- shirts and holding on tightly to their glowing helium balloons, the children sang the theme song, “Jesus my friend”, with great gusto, which set the tone for a wonderful weekend.
On the Saturday morning, Tielman Slabbert opened the children’s meeting with a message from the New Testament book of Matthew, 19:13 – 15, explaining that Jesus always welcomed children to come to Him, even when He was really tired. He encouraged the children to invite Jesus into their hearts by talking to Him in all their circumstances, such as when in trouble for doing something naughty, when feeling left out and sad, or if they needed help to solve a problem. Tielman said the more they talk to Jesus, the more guidance and help they will receive from Him. The meeting was followed by a play about a boy who was influenced by others and did something nasty to his friend, and how by talking to Jesus about it and listening to His reply, the boy got courage to apologise for what he had done and he could reconcile himself with his friend.
The youth created an amazing Legoland activity course for the children, and for every activity completed, they received a sticker on their course map. There were at least 19 different activity stations including a petting zoo, pony and ‘train’ rides, games in the swimming pool, face painting, building cupcakes with Lego pieces made out of icing, to name but a few. Some of the most exciting activities were the rides on huge earth moving equipment and being hoisted meters up from the ground by the Cherry Picker, then ‘abseiling’ down. This was only for the brave and adventurous! Toddlers enjoyed splashing around in a mini water park created specifically for them. Flippy and Rob the Robot were 2 characters at the conference who fascinated the children because they were continually looking for Jesus so that they could also be friends with Him; eventually Flippy and Rob found out that Jesus actually lives in the hearts of those who invite Him in.
Meals, snack packs and cold drinks were supplied throughout the conference to replenish energy levels of the children, as they happily went from one activity to the next thoroughly enjoying themselves.
On the last day of the conference the children were invited to bring along either their bicycles, scooters, kick-bikes or tricycles, to the “All-wheels Track” which was created for them from piles of sand shaped into humps, bumps and bends, where they could try out their driving and racing skills. A huge inflatable obstacle course was also set up for those wanting to test their climbing and balancing abilities.
The children also enjoyed playing soccer. Teams were made up of boys and girls of mixed ages 6 to 9 years and 10 to 12 years. The main objective was to introduce soccer to the younger children so that they can learn the rules and play during the week.
The conference was brought to a close by a message from Tielman Slabbert, who expressed his sincere thanks to all the volunteers who so willingly put so much time and effort into making the conference so good for the children. He also encouraged all the parents to be an example to their children by standing up for what they believe in. He closed in prayer, thanking and praising God for His help and guidance in all things.