For the 11th year, the Hotel Friendly Vallarta, an all-inclusive beach and spa resort in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, welcomed us with open arms to hold the Feast.
There were 600 brethren in attendance from 10 different countries (Mexico, United States, Canada, Chile, Guatemala, Brazil, United Kingdom, Holland, Jamaica and Australia). The numbers allowed us to have the exclusive use of the hotel, its staff, activities and meals (all foods were clean according to biblical specifications), making it very relaxing and enjoyable, especially for wives who don’t have to cook or clean up during all those days. Six restaurants (including a pizza oven to serve custom-made pizzas and a new hamburger, sushi and sandwich outlet) served Italian, Mexican and American meals included with the hotel stay.
The brethren commented on the uplifting and moving spiritual messages, also directed toward our youth and filled with encouragement (all Spanish services were translated into English). We had a taste of what the Millennium will be like to maintain the hope that one day we will be part of it and what the principles of the Kingdom of God are all about.
We had the festival youth instruction with 110 children, an ABC orientation class given by Rudy Rangel, and Jim Lucas gave a teen and young adult interactive Bible study with 30 teens and young adults. There were also three baptisms, all from Mexico.
On the social side, we enjoyed the peaceful, sunny place and its abundant meals—basically, an all-you-can-eat smorgasbord. The restaurant by the beach was a big hit as was the covered pool and grill. Activities included a folkloric Mexican dinner show with fireworks at the end. Another highlight was the children’s costume party in which actors dressed as Spider Man, Wonder Woman, Black Widow and other characters did some acrobatics and met the kids. We also had the opportunity to release around 200 baby turtles on the beach, hoping that many of them will survive to return to Banderas Bay and breed.
This was another wonderful Feast to worship God and have fine fellowship.