There was none of the usual hustle and bustle of preparing for a trip … Lists of instructions and things to do, packing suitcases and rushing off to airports, bus or train stations. No, this year women from Brunstad Christian Church (BCC) fellowships around the world gathered online for the 2021 BCC International Women’s Conference. The conference is normally held annually in Norway, with approximately 4 500 participants in attendance; but restrictions on travel and the limits placed on gatherings, due to the pandemic, prevented the conference from being held in the traditional way. There were 293 registrations for the online conference from fellowships in Africa – Kenya, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Malawi.
Kåre J Smith, leader of BCC, led the conference from Connecticut in the United States of America. Guest speakers from several fellowships around the world gave edifying spiritual messages from God’s Word, and participants were also able to contribute to the edification via live video links. There was a powerful sense of inclusion and unity, because many more women could participate due to it being an online conference. A definite highlight of the conference were the edifying video clips, of members from several fellowships singing songs from the church song book. This was tremendously faith strengthening, as the songs have such edifying and uplifting content and each singer explained how a particular song, or the songs in general, helped, encouraged and gave her hope during a difficult time in her life.
Depending on Covid-19 regulations and restrictions in each country, every fellowship organized optional recreational activities, such as walks, games, DIY craft and exercise classes. However, the conference was characterized by a sense of fellowship, togetherness and spiritual unity. Judging from feedback on the conference, spending time in fellowship with likeminded Christian women in relaxed surroundings, either discussing the messages heard during the conference meetings or just spending time talking together about day-to-day life, was quality time valued by participants worldwide.
Testimonies from several of the fellowships in Africa:
Rachel Tcheumwa (Bafoussam, Cameroon):
“I am extremely thankful for such a blessed online conference. I have attended the BCC Women’s Conference in Norway for the past 5 years, but this year, due to Covid-19, I had to stay at home and watch the conference via streaming. It was very interesting because I experienced the general spirit of the online conference was the same as at the conferences in Norway. I was strengthened by the conference and I truly believe that God has started a work in me and He is going to finish it, so that I can be transformed into a new person.”
Therese Dime Kue Kamdem (Bafoussam, Cameroon):
I am extremely thankful for the edification received from the conference. The only day I have is today and I want to live for God each day and abide in Him because that’s the only place that I am secure.”
Rebecca Okpala (Yaoundé, Cameroon):
“I am very thankful for this conference. I have faith that I am born again. I want to close my heart to discouragement and negative thoughts about others. My desire is to be good to others.”
Elube Musowa (Malawi):
“I am thankful for this conference and I realized that for me to be victorious over sin, I need to give up my own will and follow Jesus. I want to be a good example to my children that they should also follow Jesus and it is my prayer that I live as a disciple of Christ.“
Julie Nyembo Kabeya (DRC):
“I praise God for this conference because it was very good for me. I understood that I must place all my trust in God and if I humble myself under His mighty hand, tribulations will produce a spirit of faith and perseverance in me that will lead to rest in my circumstances. I pray that God will help me to live this way.“
Millicent Anditi (Kenya):
“The conference was a great opportunity for many of us to come together in our local fellowships and to do the outdoor activities together and have time for fellowship. It was also refreshing to have fellowship, even though it was online, with so many members of BCC around the world.”
Mart-Marie Böth (South Africa):
“After the long lockdown and limited fellowship, it was so good to be together again with members of our local fellowships, even though we had to adhere to social distancing and other Covid-19 regulations. Being an online conference enabled us to see and listen to the testimonies of fellow Christians from several countries around the world; it is encouraging knowing we are on the path of discipleship together.
I have chosen to obey God’s Word wholeheartedly and I believe that God will transform me, if I give myself over into His hands and take up in the right way, whatever He works in my life.“
Lianza Floor (South Africa):
“The conference weekend was a blessed time where we could come together for the first time for a women’s conference since the Covid-19 hard lockdown. There was a great hunger for God’s Word and for fellowship. With very few activities, we enjoyed each other’s company and having the chance to talk to one another. Young and old alike, enjoyed just being together again.
God’s Word was spoken with power and I was encouraged to live a hidden life in Christ; and from the messages we heard, it became so clear that when I come into trials I learn about myself, and God’s power can work a miracle in me, so that the virtues of Jesus can start to grow in my life.
I am very thankful for this conference, for God’s clear word and for His grace that we could be together.“