I spent three days this week attending the CSL VISTA 2023 Conference. Of all the things I learned, I discovered how important belonging to a community can be.
Our world has changed so much since 2020. Not just for me but for so many of us. We battled a pandemic that left us isolated and without the social contact that we, as humans, need! And in my case, in the middle of all this, a wildfire took all we owned. Nothing since then has been the same for me.
Living out in the country of northcentral Idaho, we don’t have a lot of people here. The town we live in has a population of only 3,000. My husband and I have some social interaction around our area. Still, most of my need for community comes from my religion Center and those involved in wonderful activities such as this Conference.
During the VISTA conference, participants from all over the world attended. There was a sizeable Hispanic group — so much so that we needed an interpreter to interpret English into Spanish and Spanish into English. Then there were a few from Kenya, the Netherlands, and other places that I don’t remember at the moment.
Since I work as a virtual assistant to ministries within the movement, I have the privilege of connecting with folks all over the US. I have worked with churches in California, Nevada, Texas, Maryland, and New Jersey, and my home Center in Washington.
Without the pandemic, none of this would be possible — at least not at the level we are experiencing now. For that small piece, I am thankful.
Wednesday, there was a mini-gathering of Practitioners. These are folks who, like me, attend nearly 4 years of classes to become educated and trained to work with people who desire spiritual help and healing. What a wonderful group of people to connect with. Once again, most of these folks were from the US, but some were outside the US.
How could a meeting like this be entirely possible without the incredible technology that has expanded because of the COVID lockdown?
As simplistic as this may sound, I am grateful for the blessings of the communities that formed despite the pandemic. Thankful that so many of us gathered online to share a common belief and purpose. To me, that is the real meaning of belonging to a community.
It is my prayer that anyone reading this can find the same belonging in their lives.