The 13th Annual ASI-IAD Convention started on Wednesday August 14, 2013 with a lively and colorful opening ceremony in the hall of the Barcelo, La Palacio Hotel, in San Jose Costa Rica. Traditional dancers choreographed a delightful series of presentations in their cultural costumes, including men sporting straw hats and the ladies in long flowing gowns.
Special tokens were presented to all the chapter presidents by the Costa Rican delegation, and national memorabilia was handed out to the entire audience. The group then returned with costumes replicating beautiful birds. As the smiling young ladies floated across the stage with their long train swooshing through the air it closely resembled birds in flight. The intermittent shriek of the high soprano voice leant even more to the imagery.
Sister Princess Lawes, Director of ASI-IAD then introduced the various delegations as they paraded forward in their resplendent national costumes, and proudly displaying their national flags. Many groups brought national memorabilia which they distributed to the appreciative audience. Almost everyone tried to capture this vibrantly colorful spectacle on cameras, smart phones and other digital media.
The general welcome was given by Pastor Jose Vallejos, President of the Costa Rican Conference while greetings were brought by Pastor Wilfredo Ruiz, Union President, Dr. Xinia Lizano, ASI Chapter President and Dr. Marston Thomas, President ASI-IAD.
A local singing group, the Tucker Sisters, then thrilled us with their angelic voices, as they sang of how Christ has shed his blood for us so that we don’t have to pay for our salvation. The audience sat mesmerized as they filled the hall with their conviction of how “Christ did it all”.
The program was hosted by Pastor Leon Wellington, Executive Secretary of ASI_IAD, who welcomed everyone and gave the outline of the week’s program. He also made a presentation on how to establish and maintain a vibrant ASI chapter.
A special feature of this Convention was the launch of Esperanza TV Costa Rica. This marks an important milestone in the Seventh-day Adventist evangelistic efforts in this country and the Board of Directors and Executive members conducted an impressive ceremony to mark the occasion.
It was then time for the guest speaker, and he was introduced by Dr. Marston Thomas, President, ASI-IAD. The special guest speaker was Dr. Ramon de Jesus Canals. He is the Vice-President of the North Pacific Union and conducts inspiring evangelistic campaigns each year.
Speaking mostly without notes and quoting a whole chapter of the scriptures from memory, Pastor Canals delivered an awe inspiring message on the centrality of love in leading us into the kingdom of God.
Everyone left the hall feeling satisfied that Convention 2013 was off to a good start.