Members of BCC meet regularly for many events throughout the year to be edified in their Christian faith, and Brunstad, in the small village of Melsomvik, Norway, has been their central gathering place since its purchase in 1956. But, why travel so far for just a weekend?
Read on to hear from three women who flew half-way across the globe for a three-day event in March 2023.
By Carol Laing
Annual Women’s Conference
Each year on the weekend of International Women’s Day, women of all ages from around the globe gather at Brunstad Christian Conference Center in Norway for an International Sisters’ Conference.
This year, a record number of 5,700 women are gathering there on March 10-12, to hear God’s Word and to be strengthened in their Christian faith. Among those who have prioritized the event and are excitedly looking forward to the conference are several women from Winnipeg, Canada. We asked them what their expectations are for the weekend and why they chose to come.
An opportunity to hear God’s Word
Shannon, a busy mother of four, is here with several friends to embrace the special opportunity, as she puts it, to “soak up God’s word, uninterrupted.” When in the regular Sunday services back home, “I try to get one thing to remember and work with – more than that can be difficult while keeping my children occupied,” she adds. It’s clear she’s expecting to receive a ‘vitamin-boost’ for her spirit during her two or three days at Brunstad. “I love the natural fellowship we can have here with many others who may have similar home situations.”
Surrounded by those with the same interest
Angela is a supervisor at a personal care home. She tells of her need to be together with people who have the same interest in life. “I felt that I needed to come. It is always an encouraging time together! I need to surround myself with positive people who encourage me in my faith, and this is where it happens.”
Help for the daily life
Elizabeth, 40, is specific about her expectations regarding this conference: “I need help to do everything I do with my kids in patience and love. And I need faith to put my life in God’s hands, in my daily situations.”
Unity and connections across cultures
The theme of this year’s sisters conference is “Joined Together in One Body.” Unity and fellowship with other followers of Jesus Christ is important to these women, and they look forward to hearing how to make use of the Gospel more perfectly in their daily lives in order to experience unity with the other members, including those in their local churches and families.
Besides the faith-strengthening meetings, the women here have opportunities for fun and reconnection with friends over coffee, during meals, sports events, and other activities, as well as at the customary Saturday banquet: an evening filled with live music and edification – which is often a highlight of these annual events. The hall buzzes with conversation before and after each meeting as new friendships are forged, and old ones reaffirmed.
Takeaways – Inspiration to a personal life with God
In each meeting, the conference attendees hear and share messages that inspire them not only to know God’s word as a teaching, but to live it as it is written. A personal life with God leads to godliness in daily life.
These words from John’s letter are in focus at the close of the weekend:
“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life—the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us—that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.” 1 John 1:1-3.
Sitting together in the big auditorium at Brunstad, God’s word is preached with such clarity that faith for an overcoming Christian life fills many hearts with a hope for the future, and provides ‘tools’ to work with when each one goes home.
Was the trip worth it?
We catch up with the Canadians afterwards, to get their take on the weekend: Were your expectations met? Was the long trip really worth it in the end?
“Definitely. I’d do it again!” Elizabeth responds enthusiastically. “There was such an inspiring atmosphere there. The words I heard, especially in the meetings, but also in a lot of conversations in-between the meetings, were really encouraging. To get help in having the right perspective in life makes all the difference in my personal everyday life!”
“It was incredible to see how smoothly everything ran, with nearly 6,000 women there; and the unity and joy that was present was amazing,” Angela shares. “Also, I was really strengthened to live the gospel that we hear about, in my everyday life, where God has put me. I can have victory over suspicious thoughts, for example. I can overcome.”
“It was very worth it,” Shannon shares, emphatically. “The money spent on the trip and the ensuing jet-lag doesn’t even compare to the worth of being able to be there! Being with so many others who share my faith is always so edifying. I left the conference feeling very encouraged to use my time and my days to be faithful and zealous for my Christian calling.”