"You Are the Messiah" Panama Winter Conference Report (Nov. 3-5, 2019) (PANAMA)
YOU ARE THE MESSIAH
Mark 8:29: ““But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Messiah.””
From November 3rd to 5th we held our 2019 Panama Winter Conference titled: “You Are The Messiah”.
From left: M. Joshua, Ricardo, M. Maria, Maria Celeste (5 yo), Sandra, Angel, D. Karen (Accounting), Victoria (9 yo), P. Moises (Bolivia), Carlos (Tecnología Médica), M. Sharon, Marcos (Medicina), Aramis, D. Dario.
Our Winter Conference is the main one for us because we hold it during major National Holidays. We went again to the beautiful Cerro Azul (Blue Hill), to the very same house we rented exactly one year ago. Cerro Azul is in the city of Panama, but 2 hours away from the Bible House.
(Picture was taken from the balcony on the second day of the conference)
Frankly speaking, we lacked preparation for the conference because all of us are very busy with our self-support lives. However, M. Maria, M. Sharon, and disciples Dario and Karen prepared their messages diligently by using the Inductive Bible Study Method for more than one month supported by M. Joshua. During this period we also prayed for 15 attendants, inviting the students of our Group Bible Study in the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Panama, although we were a little worried because we have beds for only 10 attendants in the house we rented. God blessed us with 14 attendants (12 adults and 2 children) and we could accommodate by using air mattresses. God also blessed us with his Word and Grace through the messages and Bible Studies.
We arrived at the Conference place on Sunday about 2:30 pm in order to set everything up. M. Joshua, M. Maria, M. Sharon, Dario, Karen, Aramis, and Sandra worked hard to get everything ready in order to start the program at 4:00 pm as planned. In the beginning, M. Joshua welcomed everybody to the Conference.
M. Maria delivered the Opening Message titled: “It Was Very Good” based on Gen. 1. We learned that God created everything perfect, mankind included. Everything was doing what God has created them for. This is God’s will for us. We need to recover God’s image in our lives and live according to God’s purpose for us.
M. Sharon and D. Karen prepared dinner. After that, D. Dario delivered Lecture 1 titled: “Where Are You?” based on Gen. 3. We learned how the world changed from very good to this fallen world. Our forefathers, Adam and Eve, disobeyed God’s command and introduced sin and God’s curse into our world. God looked for them and gave them the chance to meditate and confess their sin by asking them: “Where are you?” But they excused themselves and blamed others instead. D. Dario invited all of us to listen to God’s question: “Where are you?” in order to think about our spiritual condition and repent and confess our sins before God.
After the message, we watched a movie on Netflix titled: “I’m Not Ashamed”. This movie is based on the story of an American young student named Rachel Joy, who struggled during her teenage years to live as a true Christian, despite the bad influence of her classmates who tried to convince her to live like a regular teenager. She succeeded to live as a Christian, but she was killed along with 12 people in a shooting at her High School. According to the filmmakers, her story has touched 22 million hearts and it also touched our hearts that night to live as true Christians in our generation.
On Monday, we received the Morning Message preached by D. Kare, titled: “For God So Loved the World” based on Jn. 3:16-17. We learned about the great gift God gave us by sending His Only Begotten Son to die for our sins. D. Karen invited all of us to receive God’s great gift of love and come to Jesus to receive the forgiveness of our sins.
After the message, we had our breakfast prepared by Aramis and Sandra. They have been faithful to the SWS for about two years and they have attended three of our conferences. They served very much in this one by helping in the kitchen and in the main hall. After the conference, they decided to start our Discipleship Training.
Then, we had our first Group Bible Study titled: “You Must Be Born Again” based on Jn. 3:1-16. We set two different groups, one for women and one for men. Women’s Bible Study was led by M. Maria while Men’s was led by M. Joshua. We learned about why we need to be born again and how it could be done by confessing Jesus as our Savior and starting to obey God’s Word in our daily life.
Right after we received Lecture 2 delivered by M. Sharon and titled: “Neither Do I Condemn You” based on Jn. 8:1-11. We learned that we are blatant sinners and we deserve God’s condemnation, but Jesus does not condemn us but He forgives us and gives us a new life path: “Go now and leave your life of sin.” M. Sharon shared her heart-moving testimony as an adulterous woman who has been forgiven and received a new life path as God’s servant.
In the afternoon, we had our second GBS titled: “Follow Me”, based on Mk. 2:13-17. We continue in the same groups, but this time D. Karen led the women. In this Bible study, we heard Jesus’ voice inviting us to leave our sinful life and giving us a new life path by saying us as Levi: “Follow Me”.
After GBS we watched the movie: “The Passion of the Christ” directed by Mel Gibson. This movie prepared our hearts for Lecture 3 titled: “Father, Forgive Them”, delivered by M. Joshua and based on Lk. 23:1-49. By watching the movie we better understood Jesus’ sufferings in the crucifixion, and through the message, we learned that all of that sufferings were for the forgiveness of our sins. One of the attendants confessed in his testimony that the movie helped him to understand better the message because Jesus' sufferings for his sins were livelier.
Right after the message, we wrote Bible testimonies. We started about 8:30 pm but several people were meditating, talking to each other, and writing, even after midnight. And anyway, they woke up early next morning to eat Daily Bread together at 7:00 am.
We ate our Daily Bread by using UBF Latin America website (https://www.ubflatin.org/pandiariodetalle.php). M. Joshua led the Daily Bread and after reading the Bible passage and the devotional, he gave us a short reflection about Nehemiah's leadership to rebuild Jerusalem’s Wall and how he encouraged the people. M. Joshua encouraged us to keep working with love and with no rest in order to Panama becomes a Kingdom of Priests and a Holy Nation.
After breakfast we shared our testimonies. We did it in the same groups. All attendants but the children wrote and shared their testimonies. But the newcomers wrote short life testimonies following the example of the messengers. Although everyone learned a lot during the conference, most of the attendants confessed their sins very superficially. We pray that all of the newcomers will continue to attend GBS at the University of Panama and meet Jesus more personally. In turn, Dario, Aramis and Angel wrote their Bible testimonies more deeply and they made their decisions to follow and serve Jesus.
Later, M. Joshua delivered Lecture 4 titled: “You Are The Messiah” based on Mk. 8:27-38. We learned how Peter confessed Jesus as the Messiah, and M. Joshua invited all of us to confess Jesus as our Messiah, our Lord and Savior.
We also learned the Way of the Messiah and the Way of the Disciple. If we want to follow Jesus as true disciples we must deny ourselves and take up our crosses and follow Him by obeying God’s word in our daily lives.
Finally, after lunch, we received the Closing Message titled: “You Will Fish For People” based on Lk. 5:1-11 and delivered by S. Moises Mamani from Bolivia.
We received God’s grace through this message and we heard Jesus’ voice calling us to go and fish for people. We thanked God and to Bolivia’s ministry for supporting our conference with a messenger. We pray that God keeps blessing His work in Santa Cruz, and blesses S. Moises to pioneer Cochabamba. May the Lord raise many Christians who go and fish for people in UBF serving the World Mission! Amen.
After the Conference, we visited a nearby river and a waterfall. We spent time together and took many pictures in these beautiful places. We pray that God keeps blessing our ministry and the attendants may continue to attend our GBS in Medical School in University of Panama and eventually they may attend our SWS.
- Panama becomes a Kingdom of Priests and a Holy Nation.
- Abraham and Sarah of faith may be raised.
- M. Joshua may be filled with the Holy Spirit to prepare and deliver coming special lectures: Thanksgiving, Mother’s Day, Christmas and New Year.
- Aramis and Sandra may be trained as disciples.
- God be merciful to Venezuela and Nicaragua and help them to overcome their crisis.
<Reported by M. Joshua G.>