The availability and implementation of more advanced technology during 2019, has stood Brunstad Christian Church fellowships in Africa in good stead in 2020. Not only was the implementation unwittingly perfectly timed for the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic lockdown; but the development of a cost effective online platform has also gone a long way in uniting BCC fellowships throughout Africa. Enabling and improving local and international online communication between fellowships has created the sense of a unified church community which augurs well for international conferences, church services, youth activities and events, well beyond 2020.
One such example of what these technological advancements have meant, is the international online youth conference in Africa, held in August 2020. The bilingual conference, held in English and French, was streamed from BCC South Africa’s studio at the Stephanopark Conference Centre in Vanderbjilpark. A live video link was established between the fellowships in Yaoundé in Cameroon and Pretoria and Vanderbijlpark in South Africa, and this enabled an interactive online conference with speakers contributing directly to the youth services by speaking live in real time. The countries where fellowships were not on the live video link, were able to stream the conference and send in video testimonies to an online bot on Telegram Messenger and these were played out in the studio at the end of each church service held during the conference.
Several young people gave feedback on how they experienced the online conference and what it meant to them:
Purity Everniter Nyagweth (Kenya): “I followed the BCC Africa youth conference via streaming and the quality was good. The messages given in French and translated into English, were clear and easy to understand. I do believe that the video streaming unites us. When I listened to and read the testimonies, it became clear to me that we are all working towards the same goal and have the same longing to be disciples of Christ, no matter what country or background we are from. The conference was excellent and the panel discussion with Tielman Slabbert and William Goxo was also very encouraging.”
David Onyango Ochieng (Kenya): “I followed the conference via streaming, which was excellent and the network was stable. Being able to send in video testimonies was a good opportunity to see my friends and listen to what they have on their hearts and this was a great blessing. The translations from French into English also made it possible to understand all the speakers.”
Grace Eva Anditi (Kenya): “I participated in the youth conference via streaming. I think that the video streaming plays an important role in uniting the fellowships in Africa. Listening to the messages and testimonies of others was edifying and faith strengthening. It was also easy to follow the messages from French speaking participants because there were English translations. The conference was an indescribably good experience!”
Marc Aubin Touoyim (Douala, Cameroon): “I watched the online youth conference via streaming and the quality was good and I feel that the streaming videos unite us. Now I know many other members of BCC Africa and we can do activities online together such as participating in the choir. We can also share photos and videos and get to know each other. The meetings were uplifting and encouraging and I had an opportunity to send in my video testimony.”
Madeleine (Douala, Cameroon): “We watched the conference via streaming and the quality was good. The video streaming unites the fellowships in Africa. I have never travelled out of my country and I now know many friends from Kenya, Congo (DRC), South Africa and Malawi. The streaming increases fellowship as we can all participate in activities together. The conference in general was very good and I made a decision to live before God because no matter where I am, God follows and is ready to help me.”
Christian Bell (Bafoussam, Cameroon): “I followed via streaming and the video quality was good. Besides an issue with the internet, which was on our side, the conference was really good. I think the video streaming unites the fellowships in Africa more because until now, we were not able to do this and it is uplifting to listen to testimonies from BCC members all over Africa. The translations from English to French were easy to follow.”
Eunice Touoyim (Bafoussam, Cameroon): “The conference via streaming went well and the quality was good. Even with the Covid-19 pandemic raging across the world, BCC fellowships in Africa are united through streaming church services, conferences and activities. The conference went well and in terms of language, the translations from English into French enabled me to follow everything and I also participated in the African Choir and the other activities. The messages strengthened me for when I am in my daily situations.”
Amalie (Yaoundé, Cameroon): “I followed the youth conference via streaming and the quality was good. Streaming unites the BCC fellowships in Africa and gives us a sense that we all belong to the same Body of Christ. The Covid-19 pandemic has made us discover new opportunities to work together in Africa through activities such as the Africa Choir and many other things. The youth conference inspired me to be full of faith in my daily life.”
RJ Alabanzas (South Africa): “I was fortunate to be in the studio at Stephanopark Conference Centre for the youth conference. The video streaming was excellent and I am thankful for all the hard work that the media teams have put in. There is definitely more unity between the fellowships in Africa as a result of video streaming and it was so good to see so many from other countries and listen to their testimonies. The English and French translations also worked well. I am extremely thankful that I could participate in the conference, the spiritual messages were most helpful.”
Linda Harmse (South Africa): “I participated in the online youth conference in the live studio at the Stephanopark Conference Centre for some of the conference meetings and via streaming at home for others. I found the video streaming and all the technical aspects to be very good. The conference was well organized and despite the Covid-19 regulations still in place, I did not feel there was any less fellowship than we had in ‘normal’ times, on the contrary, I have never felt more united with the members of BCC fellowships all over Africa. It almost felt as though we were all sitting together in one big conference hall. The video streaming created a spirit of unity as never possible before.”