In Central America, Easter is one of the biggest holidays throughout the year and a time for most families to gather together. In Mexico, especially, a retreat is held at this period. Since the land area of Mexico is large, it is not easy for the brothers and sisters to gather in one place but, the retreat that started since 2011 and was held in popular cities such as Celaya, Guadalajara, Monterey etc. and in Veracruz this year allows for the saints throughout 15 churches in the country to share their hearts and listen to the Words together.
Beginning with the English Camp held in January this year, in February there was mind training, and in March there was a general church invitation witnessing assembly. Following these events from the 24th to the 27th of March, a retreat was held at the Good News Mexico branch.
All the hotels are full during Easter holidays thus there was difficulty in finding a place that can accommodate over 1,200 people. However, God allowed for us to hold the event in 4 hotels in Poza Rica, Veracruz at the price range that we wanted. The main venue, Poza Rica Inn had a large hall that could seat 1,800 people and various other convenience facilities that made the attendance of many people possible. Poza Rica City is where our Good News Mission is not yet established but, there are two churches in Alamo which is 40 minutes away from here that are working in the name of our mission after having received salvation and, the saints there were able to attend.
The evening of the first day began with the prayer of Missionary Jae Hoon Shin. The first performance of the Jamaican dance, “Celebrate” opened the hearts of the participating Mexican youths. The real story performance of the 15th class Good News Corps volunteers about the story of Volunteer Hyeon Jeong Choi of Tanzania touched the hearts of the brothers and sisters. Before the sermon, the “Sin Nombre” Band expressed their thanks to God through the hymns from their hearts and received continuous encores. Through their heartfelt praise, the participants were able to pay more careful attention to the sermon.
For this retreat’s main lecture Pastor Jeong Hak Yang and as gospel class lecture Pastor Seung Hwan Shim preached the Words. On the first day, Pastor Jeong Hak Yang explained the true meaning of the gospel in detail through the Scriptures in Romans.
After the evening sermon, the participants gathered in three different groups of prime-aged men and women, youths, and students and had the time to solve the difficulties face in spiritual life and share their hearts through testimonies. Meanwhile, the gospel class was held with many new participants who were able to listen to the correct way of receiving salvation through the bible.
From the second day, various performances prepared by each regional church made the brothers and sisters enjoy together. Cultural performances, choir, play etc. each performance filled the hall with fervent response.
For the morning sermon, Pastor Eduardo Arellano of Cuautitlán Church which is affiliated to the Good News Mission from November of last year preached the Words along with his salvation testimony. Pastor Eduardo who received salvation after 14 years of ministry emphasized salvation solely by God and not the law through the book of Galatians. It was a thankful time to God who opened the way of the gospel in different parts of Mexico through the Words.
Many students that were connected to the church through IYF academies held in Mexico City, Monterrey etc. were able to attend this retreat. Various academies for language, Taekwondo, fruit decoration, graphic design, music, dance, massage etc. were held for about 350 students and youths and 400 adults.
Moreover, Mexico has been sending short term missionaries to different countries every August and during the retreat the 10th class Mexican short term missionaries were recruited with Good News Corps briefing session, program introduction, and testimonies of Mexican short terms of last year. Through this session, about 40 new college students were able to attend and dream of becoming a short term missionary.
In the afternoon, all the youths and students participated in the Scavenger Hunt game, sweating and thinking to solve the problems and enjoying despite the hot weather. On the third day, there was a time to visit the Tajin Pyramid which is a historic site located in Poza Rica city. Due to financial reasons, the brothers and sisters who did not have the chance to visit this historic site were able to listen to the explanation from the guide, take pictures together, and spend an enjoyable time with their family through the retreat.
On the other hand, there was a children’s retreat. As much as there were adults, about 150 children attended. For the children’s retreat, the Hipico Inn that is 30 minutes away from the main venue was available. The gospel was preached every session for the new children attending. In the afternoon, they went swimming, had group fellowship, and spent an enjoyable time.
In the afternoon of the last day of the retreat, there was a baptism ceremony. The saints who received salvation through the gospel preached in this retreat or those who hadn’t received baptism for the past year took part. Everyone was happy to think of the old painful life nailed on the cross with Christ and to start a new life with the resurrection of Jesus.
As the promise given by God through this retreat, many new people attended and received salvation. Beginning with the strong works of the gospel in Mexico from the beginning of the year, we hope for the year 2016 to become a stepping stone for the brothers and sisters to be filled with the gospel in their hearts and go forward boldly.