Plans were well underway for the annual BCC Africa (Brunstad Christian Church Africa) Summer Conference from the 16th to the 19th of December, at Stephanopark Conference Centre in Vanderbijlpark, South Africa. BCC South Africa was preparing to receive guests from all the BCC fellowships in Africa and from further afield in Europe. Pre-Covid, this conference had attracted up to 500 guests, but in 2020 the pandemic brought many challenges and the conference was converted to an online conference. However, this change had a very positive spinoff because it enabled many more people to participate in the online conference.
In the fourth quarter of 2021, with the pandemic seemingly under control in many countries, conference arrangements were at an advanced stage, when the new omicron variant of the Corona virus was discovered in South Africa. Travel restrictions were again imposed in many countries and once again the conference was converted to an online one. Fortunately, with updated technology in place, guest speakers, Harald Kronstad (Norway) and Richard Savage (England), who were to have attended the conference in person, were able to deliver their spiritual messages live online to all the fellowships in Africa.
The conference was opened in prayer, followed by a recorded greeting and spiritual message from Kåre Smith, the leader of the Brunstad Christian Church. Quoting from the New Testament book of Luke 9:23, Smith’s message was encouraging, edifying and to the point. He explained that the verse was written to everyone and that the only thing that gets in the way of following Jesus Christ is people’s self-will and their own sinful desires. He added that nothing and nobody should be a hindrance to following Jesus! He concluded with a blessing for all the fellowships in Africa.
Each service commenced with a short video from some of the participating fellowships – Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Kenya, Tanzania – giving information about the fellowship and a brief view of the surrounding area where the fellowship it situated. Many members expressed their thankfulness and appreciation for the conference and the church and a music video was also included of members of each fellowship singing an edifying song.
Activities for the young people such as soccer and volleyball tournaments, and other games and sporting activities, and fun activities, challenges and all sorts of games were also organised for the children locally in each country. Time for fellowship with others at the conference formed an important part of the program and it was clear to see that these times were enjoyed very much.
The conference ended on a ‘high note’ with an uplifting and edifying Christmas Gala evening streamed from BCCSA. Various Christmas carols and songs were interspersed with encouraging spiritual messages which left one with renewed hope and thankfulness for God’s Word, not only at Christmas time, but throughout the year!
Some testimonies from participants in the online conference:
Lyse Koagne (Cameroon):
“I am grateful for the conference and I want to have faith in my circumstances that it is possible for me to overcome sin. After listening to Harald Kronstad, I want to proclaim the greatness of Jesus in my life by my faithfulness to His Word and commandments and follow the way that leads to God, the way of truth.”
Miryam Kue Kamdem (Cameroon):
“I am so grateful for this conference. The meetings were very uplifting. I want to remain faithful every day and live before God, not people. I want to constantly seek a relationship with God, so that He will show me each day where I need to purify myself. Thank you so much for everyone’s dedication to make this conference so good.”
Hesbon Anditi Owiti (Kenya):
“I thank and praise God for the BCC Africa conference. What was special for me were the real-time transmissions that brought us all together despite being in different geographical locations. God’s powerful Word came through crystal clear to me that choosing to live according to my own will and ego will lead to an empty life, but living according to God’s Spirit will bring a life in God’s will now and for all eternity.”
Samuel Ogola Sylvanus (Tanzania):
“It was very good to attend the conference. It was really nice to be able to contribute to the conference through song, I felt like I was united with all the members of BCC Africa.”
Fabrice Tsakou (DRC):
“Hearing the spiritual messages from the different fellowships in BCC Africa and that we were given the opportunity to testify, made this a very edifying weekend. The fellowship and activities also added to a very good conference.”