Since November of 2010, friends associated with Brunstad Christian Church have met together for a bi-annual conference in Leon, Guanajuato, Mexico to build one another up in their Christian faith.
The conferences in Mexico are a highlight for many, and consist of meetings and gatherings filled with God’s word, sports, music, food, and group games centered around the youth and children.
Read about the value of these events and personal experiences of four different individuals who attended in November ’22.
By Nellie Owens
Manuel is 34 years old. He lives in Leon with his wife and daughter, and invests countless hours into ensuring these weekends are a success.
What have members of BCC Mexico done to prepare for this weekend?
“We started planning several months before the conference. After we had a first draft of the plan, we divided up the various tasks, and everyone went to action.
Most of the work was done during the three weeks right before the conference, though, when we cleaned all the rooms, went food shopping, and prepared the meals. I’m not sure how many hours of work we put in, but I would guess around 250-300.”
What do these conferences mean for you, and for the friends in Mexico?
“[These weekends] are absolutely highlights for us.”
“We usually have two conferences a year and they are absolutely highlights for us. We get built up in our faith, and meet new and old friends from all over the world. What we experience at these weekends is like a piece of heaven.”
Juanita, another member of BCC Leon, expresses that these weekends are especially important for her spiritual growth as a Christian.
Juanita is a 65-year-old resident of Guanajuato. She has lived in Mexico her whole life.
What do these conferences mean for you?
“These conferences are an opportunity for me to have fellowship with others who also have the same longing that I do. When I speak with people who come from another place, I can see that I need the same spirit they are in, and that I too, can to be part of this brotherhood.”
These conferences are an opportunity for me to have fellowship with others who also have the same longing that I do.
How do you prepare for these conferences?
Juanita shares a very personal response.
“I prepare for the conferences by praying to receive a heart of flesh, as it says in Ezekiel 36:26, and to receive enlightened eyes of the heart. In this way, I’ll have ears to hear the words that will be spoken.”
The services at such weekends, and the experience of being together, seem to make an indelible impression on many members, both old and young.
Nora is a 19-year-old from Urbana, Ohio. This is her first experience at the Mexico conference.
How would you describe this conference to someone who hasn’t been here before?
“The conference has a very loose structure: there are services, three meals a day – at various times, sports and activities, and a lot of time to visit and spend time with the friends and kids here.
I would say that it’s a group of friends gathering from all different places around the world, and these friends are all at different stages in their lives — some are in high school, some college, some are working, etc. But we all come with an open mind and heart to receive encouragement from one another. We can always continue to grow, as Christians, and this conference brings a spirit of renewal into each one’s heart.”
We can always continue to grow, as Christians, and this conference brings a spirit of renewal into each one’s heart.
What has made the biggest impression on you from your time here?
“The thing that has made the deepest impression on me is just the love that the Mexican friends have for the others. There is such an obvious care that emanates from them and seeing that definitely makes me want to show that same love and care towards others.
One thing I took from this conference was that life has many struggles, and there are various ways to handle these, but if I love the truth and surrender my own will completely to God, then there is no room for unrest.
I really loved the Mexico conference, and will hold many things from this time dear to my heart. I hope to come again soon!”
Nora’s sentiment is not uncommon, as many of the conference’s attendees come annually or bi-annually.
Vern is a 65-year-old American. He has attended every conference in Mexico since they began in 2010, many times with his wife, Linda.
What draws you to these conferences?
“It’s the Mexican people: How open and warm their hearts are, just as a culture. But also, their hunger for the Word of God draws me — and the conferences here are very special. They’re small, so they’re intimate. You get time together with everybody that you’d want to have time with, even those you don’t often get together with at a big conference.
At Brunstad, for example, you see some at the pulpit when they’re speaking. But, here, you’re sitting across the table or around the campfire, or playing volleyball with these same individuals. So, yeah, you get such an interaction with everyone here. You see the life they live a little more clearly. You see people helping out. You see how they are, just naturally — what the work of the Gospel has done in them.
[Brunstad is the central gathering place for churches associated with Brunstad Christian Church worldwide, including 12 North American churches. You can read more about the center on BCC’s website HERE.]
And, that’s what it’s all about: That it can succeed for me. It’s about a life…
So, that always gives me more of a hope for myself. And, that’s what it’s all about: That it can succeed for me. It’s about a life — it’s about coming to a life. It’s not about preaching. It’s about serving, and giving your life, and letting God do the work in you that He wants to do, so that the life of Jesus comes forth. That’s what I see, touch, handle, and taste more of, at a small conference like this.”
Is there an emphasis on going to the conferences in Mexico?
“There’s really not, in an official way. There’s nobody behind it all who is encouraging or exhorting people to come to the conferences here. There are a few older ones – like ourselves, who come along, and it’s been open to older ones, but it’s primarily a young person’s conference… But what happens is, young people come here, and they have positive experiences with those who live this life. They experience the fun and the good social time with the children and youth, and fellowship with other like-minded young people. They get to experience that, and they’re often the ones who go home and ‘advertise’ the conference to their friends, or place an emphasis on coming.
It’s a conference where everybody who comes is needed too, so that can be a bit different – rather than going to a conference or event where you’re served.
The spirit of Christ is sacrifice… that spirit binds us together, and is what makes these weekends so special.
The spirit of Christ is sacrifice, so at a conference like this where everyone comes and contributes – because it doesn’t function if we don’t have everyone helping – the experience can be quite different.
When we come with a mind to give, that works in us. We give, and God works in us. I think young people come away from this conference with an attitude like ‘Wow. I gained so much from this conference.’ They don’t always understand why, but I think part of it is because they have to give so much. That spirit binds us together, and is what makes these weekends so special. “