Community spread, contact tracing, index case, index patient, patient zero, self-quarantine, social distancing, and super-spreader are all associated with SARS-CoV2, Novel coronavirus, Coronavirus, and COVID-19. Along with a crisis situation unprecedented in our lifetimes, there has also been upheaval in our language!
Another phrase, “travel bubble,” has been used in relation to the opening of borders between countries during pandemic. Because of pandemic restrictions and the closure of borders between Australia and New Zealand, conferences and travel have been restricted to a great degree. Providentially, on the 19th April 2021, the borders opened between the two countries, and we could have our first “travel bubble” conference.
Last year, the New Zealand Field decided to hold its Annual General Meeting on the 5th July 2020 via Zoom teleconference. This worked, and allowed some members to attend who otherwise couldn’t, as well as the AUC representative to chair the session, but as we all know, it’s just not the same this way.
So as soon as the “bubble” was announced, plans were made for a special conference weekend and AGM at our church in New Lynn, Auckland, the 23rd to the 25th of April, 2021. Brother Nathan Tyler, AUC President, was able to come and stay in New Zealand for a full week and preside at the Annual General Meeting. It was a wonderful time we all spent together, and the meeting was a success.
The theme for the conference was “The Eleventh-Hour Worker.” For the opening of the conference, the main theme was our response to the call to labour in the Lord’s vineyard (Matthew chapter 20).
“This parable does not excuse those who hear the first call to labor but who neglect to enter the Lord’s vineyard.… None of those called later in the day were there in the morning. They had not refused the call. Those who refuse and afterward repent, do well to repent; but it is not safe to trifle with the first call of mercy” (Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 399).
“Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest” (Matt. 9:37, 38).
The message on Sabbath was about “Realising Our Need,” focusing on the condition of Laodicea and our tendency to not realise our own need and spiritual condition.
The Annual General Meeting was held on Sunday, 25th May 2021. It was a lovely, beautiful, sunny day, and business was able to run efficiently. We praise the Lord that we made it in person this time. We trust that in the future, He will continue to open the way for us!
“If we would humble ourselves before God, and be kind and courteous and tenderhearted and pitiful, there would be one hundred conversions to the truth where now there is only one. But, though professing to be converted, we carry around with us a bundle of self that we regard as altogether too precious to be given up. It is our privilege to lay this burden at the feet of Christ and in its place take the character and similitude of Christ. The Saviour is waiting for us to do this” (Testimonies, vol. 9, p. 189).
“Unless the people are reached through God, they will never be reached. We are to rely wholly upon God, pleading His promise [Zechariah 4:6]” (Testimonies, vol. 6, p. 50).
~ Arnaldo Pedrosa