United in Peace at the 2017 Chile Conference
By Luiz Correa
The South American country of Chile continues to do well as the first country in Latin American where Affirmation had a presence, arriving fourteen years ago.
Many have come and gone in Affirmation, and many have had the opportunity to meet. Some just needed a way to understand their purpose on earth, being both LGBT and Mormon. Some are still present in the organization, as they believe they can help many others as they have been helped.
This year an annual Affirmation conference was organized. It was the last conference of the year for Affirmation internationally. A committee organized the conference to take place in Santiago, Chile, demonstrating that they very much wanted to see the growth of Affirmation in the area.
It was clear from the work of each member of the committee that they sought to live up to the proposed conference theme, UNITED IN PEACE. A team of men and women came together with the goal of making Affirmation ever present so that many more Chileans will have the opportunity to find support.
With a lot of effort from the committee, two sites were found to serve as the meeting space during the three-day conference: the city hall club and a city school.
The workshops were very professional, presenting themes relevant to us as a society and to the LGBT+ community like growing spiritually as LGBT people, drawing on our emotional intelligence to improve our relationships with others and to deal with conflicts, meeting again, facing our monsters, and a discussion about transgender children. All of these subjects were meaningful to our efforts. One of the speakers Hector Valenzuela quoted a phrase that serves very well for this time for Affirmation in Chile:
“I DO NOT WANT YOU TO THINK YOU DO NOT HAVE THE POWER TO MAKE THINGS CHANGE”
During the Sunday devotional. we also had great speakers with highly inspiring texts such as: Finding a relationship with the church that is healthy for you, sons and daughters of God; celestial mother. There were inspirational moments from each speaker. The morning ended with a testimony meeting like other conferences in other countries, which are always very exciting.
To end the three-day conference, a training meeting was held for new leaders where there was a large audience of almost all Chilean participants in the conference.
The leadership of the conference did an outstanding job working together with a desire to have everything go as planned. They were able to take a deep breath at the end of the conference, as after months of working together as a team, they saw success. It was possible to see the tiredness on their faces and the weight of the responsibility in planning the conference, but their eyes sparkled with joy and emotion when the conference was successful.
May all who attended continue to follow the theme of the conference forever, supporting and embracing the new members of Affirmation Chile and that all be UNITED IN PEACE.