The Words of the deGroot Family
This was the first convocation of this type and therefore was organized with a lot of thought and prayer. The location was in a very nice hotel in Newark, New Jersey, and was scheduled for only one day. Usually the convocations take up an entire weekend starting on Friday and ending some time Sunday afternoon. However, because of the nature of this event and also because it was the first, we felt having one day would be good for the pioneering effort.
We had about 50 people participate. The Schedule began promptly at 9:30 am with an introduction by Jim Stephens. He welcomed the families, sharing with everyone the purpose behind this event and what he hoped they would leave with; renewed hope for the future, greater unity between the parents and the young adult candidates, and clearer goals for everyone. There were others speakers throughout the day. H. Gondo and her husband gave a moving testimony of their matching. Gad and Johil Ross shared their testimonies of being matched by their parents. H. especially shared her in-depth struggle with the church and how she lost hope of finding happiness through our movement. Her story is always so moving and offers so much hope. Following the testimonies, H. split the audience into several groups and proceeded with an exercise about fulfilling one’s goals by being honest with yourself.
John Williams, also from New Jersey and a well respected marriage counselor, gave a very informative talk about love while using examples from a book about arranged marriages, written outside our movement.
At one point during the day, the young adults split up into a several smaller groups by gender. They met in separate rooms and shared about their struggles with the matching and Blessing leading up to that moment.
The schedule was spread out leisurely throughout the day, allowing plenty of time for meeting other families and/or reviewing the candidate profiles on display. One thing that was different this time compared to usual parent-only Convocations was that the only profiles on display were those 21 years old and up. If parents wanted to see candidates that were younger, they could look through binders containing those profiles, but we wanted special attention to be put on the older candidates. It was a long day and as the day wore on, any awkwardness and uncomfortable feelings that might have been there at the beginning seemed as if they were fading. So far, we know of one match that was made out of this event.
We will be continuing this type of convocation, either directly organized by Jim Stephens and the BFD or by other BFD Representatives. Already in the DC area, Fran Ichijo has hosted another small Adult BC-Parents Matching Convocation out of her home.
“I felt all the participants for this first convocation were
so special. The atmosphere was very high, loving and caring. I hope
and wish many families will attend the upcoming convocations.”
“I really appreciated the respect and sensitivity shown to
our young adult Blessed Children. It was a great to have relevant and
appropriate information for this weekend. It really set the tone that
we care about our young adults.”
“These convocations are certainly worth promoting back home
in our communities.” -Klaus Schick “Before I came to this
event, this prospect seemed over the top for my understanding. This
convocation truly was an illuminating experience as well as a greater
inspiration toward pursing the matching.”
“Do this again!”
“It was wonderful to have both the parents and the adult
children there.” -Rosmarie Hack “Thank you (BFD) for your
sincere efforts to develop the matching process and to provide
resources for families.”
I am very happy that I came. I was a bit hesitant when I first heard about this convocation, but I feel it was worth it for this age group. Coming was a good experience to work directly with my father.
I liked seeing the actual process and it was easier to face and think seriously about both the atmosphere and the age group. I was moved by some testimonies and sharings. It shows that we are all in this together as family under an incredible God of love.
Adult BC involvement is such a great idea.
I hope you can continue to have more at other locations too! It would be better if it could be extended over 2 days with more group discussions.
I’m glad I came. I wasn’t expecting to be so relaxed and gain as much as I did from the speakers. I enjoyed the testimonies as well as the group discussions afterwards.
BFD Administrative Assistant
Attachments: Schedule (pdf)