I had been putting off this trip for quite a while—a year, in fact. With all of the restrictions brought about by COVID, and “Do Not Travel” advisories on the American Embassy website in Costa Rica, I decided to hold off visiting the country. In fact, I was able to participate in the Costa Rican Virtual Year-end Conference in December through Zoom, that amazing application we didn’t even know existed two years ago. However, although there is still an advisory in effect, I decided that since I am vaccinated, and the curve is definitely on the way down in Costa Rica, it was time to visit the brothers and sisters in person instead of virtually. The trip was much easier than I expected, and the airport and airline did a wonderful job to make travel as pleasant as possible. And the Costa Ricans were as warm and accommodating as always.
For the studies, I decided to cover the book of Joel in a series titled, The Day of the Lord: The Book of Joel. Each of the three classes covered a chapter in which the topic of the Day of the Lord was considered in its different aspects, with the first one focusing on the plague of locusts given as a warning for the people to repent and to return to serving God. The second class focused on the attack and captivity of the people by the Babylonian army, finishing up with a consideration of God’s amazing mercy and willingness to forgive. The third class focused on the future Day of the Lord in terms of God’s judgement upon the rebellious nations, and the future restoration of Eden. All of the classes focused on God’s judgement and mercy, and applied the lessons in the book of Joel to our lives as believers.
The exhortation was a consideration of the cleansing of the temple by Jesus Christ, highlighting the need for us to cleanse our own temple, both the ecclesia, and our own lives, and to keep ourselves pure, removing anything inappropriate. We do this because we are servants of God, and part of the temple Christ is building.
For the young people, we considered the dangers of the doctrine of humanism for the believers and how we must be prayerful and wise about rejecting the influences we have around us which are not in accordance with the scriptures. The doctrine of humanism is very subtle, and is very much part of progressive thought in western society, so much so, that all of us, and especially young people, must be aware of these ideas, and how they are not in agreement with the Word of God.
Complementing the studies, the Costa Ricans held had organized games and fun activities to continue to strengthen the bonds of brotherhood in the ecclesia, and also provided delicious food, which was enjoyed by all.
Costa Rica is fortunate to have some very tech-savvy members, who were able to organize things so that both those present in the hall, and those attending virtually, were able to participate and see the slides used during the classes, as well as to participate in the games. Those of us who were at the hall were all very careful to use our masks and socially distance at all times, only removing our masks briefly to eat the delicious food that had been prepared. We also were careful to only sit in our assigned location in the hall.
All in all, the conference was very well organized, and very spiritually enriching for all. May our Heavenly Father continue to bless the members of the Costa Rican Ecclesia as they continue to grow spiritually and to bring up their children in the things of the Lord, as we all look forward to the Day of the Lord and the establishment of His Kingdom.
Written by Bro. David Collister, Link Brother to Costa Rica