“A Thief in the Night”
6th to 9th June 2014
This year’s NSW Conference at Elim Heights was held during 6-9 June 2014 in conjunction with the graduation of five students from the Elim Missionary College. The theme was: “A Thief in the Night”. The conference was based on the Bible verses: “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” 2 Peter 3:10 and Mark 13:32,33 “But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.”
Jesus will come in a day when the world will not be looking for Him. He counsels His followers to be ever praying and watching so that they may be awake to the times they are living in, and be spiritually ready when He returns. Are you ready for Jesus to come, are you watching, are you praying, or will you be caught out like when a thief comes in the night?
“Many today are asleep, as were the disciples. They are not watching and praying lest they enter into temptation.
“Let every soul be on the alert. The adversary is on your track. Be vigilant, watching diligently lest some carefully concealed and masterly snare shall take you unawares. Let the careless and indifferent beware lest the day of the Lord come upon them as a thief in the night. . . .
“He who overcomes must watch; for, with worldly entanglements, error, and superstition, Satan strives to win Christ’s followers from Him. … We are in an enemy’s country. He who was cast out of heaven has come down with great power. With every conceivable artifice and device he is seeking to take souls captive. Unless we are constantly on guard we shall fall an easy prey to his unnumbered deceptions.” God’s Amazing Grace pg. 332
It was truly a blessing to worship our Heavenly Father at a conference where we enjoyed not just wonderful Christian fellowship with one another and great food, but we heard many wonderful inspiring messages, leaving many considering our past walk with Christ and recommitting to a new walk with Him. While the main meetings were taken by Field and Union workers, the morning and evening worships were taken by the graduating EMC students.
Opening of Sabbath was first in the order of events, and Ryan Belu, one of the missionary students, presented the meeting, entitled, “How to Awake”. The evening meal then followed.
Brother Alasdair Pow, the NSW Conference President opened the conference with a sermon entitled “How to be a Pilgrim”. He reminded us that we are all pilgrims waiting to be taken to a better land. After the meeting, all retired for a much appreciated rest.
Sabbath morning came far too quickly for some; morning worship at 7:30am was taken by Denise Gutierrez, “How to be Wise”, which was immediately followed by breakfast.
Regular Sabbath meetings followed throughout the day, starting with Sabbath School at 9:30am directed by Brother Robert Wiseman. The lesson review for the adults was entitled, “Solomon”, and the lesson study for the day was “A Grievous Mistake”. The younger children were taken by Sisters Lizy Thiel and Lidia Voncina and studied about the parable of the 10 virgins while Sister Rosemary Voncina took the older children.
Divine Service started at 11:00am, on the topic “How to be Ready for the Thief” and was taken by Br Paul Chapman, AUC President. The main scripture reading was found in 1 Thessalonians 5:2-4 “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.”
All enjoyed a combined lunch with some extra time being given between lunch and Young People’s Meeting for those who would like to enjoy a nature walk or practice items for the meeting.
We truly had a feast for Young People’s Meeting with a variety of lovely items, poems, messages and Spirit of Prophecy readings. This meeting on the topic of “How to be Born Again” was taken by the NSW Youth Leaders, which took us right through to the closing of Sabbath meeting, which was taken by Brother David Dumaguit, “How to be on the Right Side”.
Combined dinner was welcomed and appreciated by all; then the EMC graduation ceremony commenced. The students for 2014 were: Ryan Belu, David Dumaguit, Denise Gutierrez, Melissa Mota and Leonardo Rojas. All who were seated at the front. The study, “How to be a Missionary” taken by Brother Nathan Tyler, was very topical and appropriate for this occasion. The certificates were given out by Brother Peter Lausevic followed by responses from the graduates. Thanks were given to all those who were involved in this program and photos were taken.
Sunday morning worship was taken by Brother Leonardo Rojas entitled, “How to Recognise the Signs” and breakfast followed.
There were two studies on Sunday morning, each followed by group discussions on the subjects taken. The first meeting was entitled, “How to Hasten His Coming”, the second meeting was entitled “How to Endure to the End”.
Sunday lunch, Brazilian style, was prepared by the EMC Students and enjoyed by all. The afternoon was left for activities run by the NSW Youth Department. Activities were chosen to emphasise the conference theme. One of the activities was to re-enforce that the time of the coming of Jesus would be a surprise to many and may catch people unawares. Another activity showed the importance of listening and knowing the voice of the real Shepherd from all other different. Another activity showed we can get caught up in Satan’s web and how difficult it is to get out of it.
Throughout the conference we were blessed by having a variety of instruments played, to accompany the congregational singing.
The closing meeting of the conference then took place, “How to Proclaim It”, taken by Brother Alasdair Pow, the final words of thanks were expressed, and then the benediction was given by Brother Paul Chapman.
Dinner was next; then a huge bonfire was lit up where many enjoyed the warmth while singing, talking, and socialising together. What a delightful way to finish such a wonderful conference.
May God help us each one to take stock of our lives and be prepared so that we will not be caught unaware!
Monday morning the day started with morning worship taken by Melissa Mota, “How to Escape”, and then it was time to pack and clean up.
Thank God for His wonderful blessings during this camp and thank you to all those who helped in many different ways during the camp to make it such a special time; also to those who stayed afterwards for the cleaning of camp. I pray each one was truly blessed by the entire experience.
~ By Lidia Voncina