Short Takes Spring 2018
Christmas on the Campground in Portland, Oregon
Christmas on the Campground was held at the Apostolic Faith world headquarters in Portland, Oregon, on December 8-10, 2017, and over five thousand people came out during the weekend to enjoy the festivities. It was very cold and windy, but thankfully also dry each night. The campground was beautifully illuminated and a pleasure to see.
Preparations went on for weeks leading up to the event, and many in the community were invited to attend through various advertising efforts. In addition to the usual invitation methods, a new publicity opportunity presented itself this year: a radio interview. A local Christian radio station heard about the event and invited three representatives of the organization to appear on an hour-long program the week prior. In addition to discussing various aspects of Christmas on the Campground, Reverend John Musgrave, Trent Paulsen, and Catey Hinkle also shared their personal testimonies, discussed our work in Romania, and promoted the church website, mobile app, and literature! It was a great opportunity to share the Latter Rain Gospel and an encouragement to those working so hard to prepare for the following weekend.
Perhaps the most exciting part of Christmas on the Campground is the Nativity Pageant, which requires more than two hundred fifty Sunday school students and staff in order to hold nine performances in three days. That makes for a lot of excited kids! Each night, the backstage area was a flurry of hustling people as the cast arrived to get into costume and then awaited their first performance. There was a big crowd ready to watch each time, and they all heard the true Christmas story of how Jesus was sent to save lost souls. We pray the message was received and embraced by everyone who heard it.
Other highlights of the weekend were seeing Curly the Camel and getting up close and personal with furry friends in the petting zoo where there were goats, a sheep, a donkey, a pig, and bunnies. When the guests needed a break from the cold, they could walk over to the Fellowship Lodge and warm up with cookies, cocoa, and coffee. There was also hot food available for purchase at a barbeque food cart. It was not possible to run the hayride this year due to ongoing construction projects on the campground, but it is expected to be back next year, and by then the campground will look even more beautiful with the new headquarters office complete.
This was the ninth Christmas on the Campground, and each year seems just as great as the last. It is a tradition that is planned to be shared with the community for years to come if Jesus tarries!
India: A Joyful Start to 2018
Seven individuals from our churches in Portland and Grants Pass, Oregon, visited India from December 27 to January 22. Their first ten days were spent in the western province of Maharashtra, which is a new area of our work in India.
On December 30 they attended our Maharashtra minister’s meeting, where several topics were discussed, including the importance of having the three foundational experiences of salvation, sanctification, and the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Afterward Deanna Moen, who was one of the visitors, reported, “The ministers are a wonderful group, and full of enthusiasm for the Gospel.”
On New Year’s Eve the American guests attended four watchnight services. At the close of the first, sixteen people responded to an invitation to pray and receive salvation, and in the following meetings more indicated a desire to be saved. The next day, a water baptismal service was held with ten candidates being baptized in a nearby canal. This was followed by a banquet lunch, during which saris were presented to the widows. It was a wonderful way to start the new year.
Later in the week, one of the guests was invited by the principal of a Hindu boarding school to visit and tell the students about America. The school is for boys in the first through tenth grades. Clark Wolfe accepted the invitation and was accompanied by several of our local pastors. He reported that as they entered the small school, “there were about fifty students, and all were very surprised to see us.” The students had many questions about America, including, “Who is your God?” Reverend Wolfe said he happily gave a short explanation of the Creation, God, Jesus, and redemption. At the close of the visit, a teacher asked if he could have a Bible, and one of our pastors said he would bring one later. Before leaving, everyone gathered outside for photos, and the students presented a coconut as a sign of respect and appreciation for the visit.
On January 7, an ordinance service was held with ninety in attendance, which is a large number considering this was during the rice-planting season. Reverend Moen said that when the preacher admonished everyone to examine their hearts, tears flowed, and as they took the emblems they felt a powerful sense of unity.
The rest of the trip was spent visiting several of our congregations in the southeastern province of Andhra Pradesh, which is where our India headquarters church is located. In the church services they enjoyed many testimonies of miraculous help from God, wonderful prayer meetings, and warm fellowship with the saints. It was reported that the congregation in Pedapudi is outgrowing their church building, and they are praying to be able to purchase a nearby property where they can construct a larger one.
During a meeting for ministers and their spouses, those in attendance were encouraged to spend time in the prayer room before church services, and at the altar afterward. The spouses also received special instruction in how to be supportive in their roles. The meeting was followed by a luncheon and joyful fellowship.
One of the last meetings the visitors attended was at our newly established church in Sarpavaram, Andhra Pradesh. About forty attend there regularly, and at the close of the service, one young man prayed through to salvation.
The final portion of this trip was dedicated to Vacation Bible School (VBS) at seven of the Andhra Pradesh locations, with about five hundred children attending overall. The first session was held on January 19, and Reverend Moen said the children were so excited for the activities to start that nearly all of them arrived an hour early!
This year’s VBS theme was based on Matthew 4:19, “And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” During the activities, the children learned how they could ask Jesus into their hearts and become “fishers of men.” At the close, every one of the children knelt and prayed. At the Pedapudi VBS, so many adults accompanied the children that the church could not contain them. Many stood outside listening at the windows to hear how they too could follow Jesus and then gain others for Him.
The visitors from Oregon returned safely in late January and are thanking God for a wonderful trip.
Newfoundland Senior Housing Complex
Our headquarters church in Roddickton, Newfoundland, has nearly finished construction of a senior housing complex, which will create an opportunity to minister to the seniors in their congregation, as well as the local community. Many of their elderly church members who are no longer able to maintain their own homes have had to relocate to places where there is no Apostolic Faith Church. This situation saddened everyone, and the new housing complex is a solution to that problem.
At a groundbreaking ceremony held on September 27 of last year, Canadian District Superintendent Christopher Hewlett expressed the congregation’s happiness about the new project and graciously thanked everyone who had contributed to making the achievement possible. The actual groundbreaking was performed by Wilson Bushey, one of the longest serving members of the Roddickton church Board of Directors, and retired pastor Reverend Grant Cassell, who has been the foreman of the project. Also in attendance was Roddickton Mayor Sheila Fitzgerald, who spoke briefly as well, expressing the excitement felt from the community to witness the construction of such a worthwhile venture.
The complex will consist of three two-bedroom units and two one-bedroom units. By February 2018, the outside work was almost entirely complete and builders were finishing work on the interior. They expect the building to be ready for occupancy in May of 2018, with a dedication service scheduled for May 31. The property where the housing complex is located has additional space available, leaving the potential for more building in the future.