Another excellent Feast of spiritual and physical blessings was enjoyed by 223 Feast attendees at the pretty seaside town of Merimbula. Two little children, Samantha Schofield and Sam Backman, were blessed during services. Sermons and sermonettes provided strong spiritual food from both older and younger speakers. The flowers, the stuffed toys for the children (excess toys going to Sydney Children’s Hospital), and special music (solo, duo, groups and choirs) gave added pleasure each day.
The children’s choir, which sang on two occasions, was a special treat—it was heartwarming to see young dads Martin Kusz and Antoine Smiley, as well as Jenny Kusz, enthusiastically guiding the exuberant youngsters. Nicole Ryan and Martin Kusz composed songs that their groups sang. While veterans and other stalwarts provided the benefit of their experience, much of the success of the Feast was due to the energy and input of younger members, including ministerial trainee Nathan Ekama from the U.S.A.—all very encouraging for the future of the Church. The video service from the U.S.A., downloaded by the dedicated communications team, comprised of Trevor Christie, Jamie Ryan and Roy Dyball, was greatly appreciated.
Activities included a seniors Asian banquet, teen tree-climb challenge, dinner dance and the Eighth Day luncheon, plus the usual Merimbula spirit of happy hospitality, open-house and other member-initiated events. The weather was perfect—and there were whales.
Beatrice Stefanovic (Wollongong, New South Wales) said, “The whole Merimbula package is wonderful for everyone; it’s lovely that so many people enjoy ‘open house’—even having 30 people over for breakfast!” She found that the sermons “hit the spot” and appreciated Bruce Dean’s direction to meet someone new each day. “That opened a lot of interesting doors. It was especially encouraging to see people from the past return this Feast,” she said. The beauty of the Laisa Ha’angana’s floral displays also added greatly to the Feast, Beatrice said.
Richard Chapman (Melbourne, Victoria) kept the Feast in Merimbula for the first time. An experience-seeker who travels to different sites each Feast, he said that he and his wife Jessica would actually return to Merimbula. It was a welcoming environment, even apart from Feast attendees, and they enjoyed the scenery and fishing—and fresh fish for dinner! The Feast was very sociable and inclusive, and the services were inspiring.