Refreshed, renewed, revived! Those are candid feelings and expressions about the just-concluded 2021 Australia virtual camp meeting and the Melbourne, Australia, virtual weekend of revival.
At the opening meeting on September 26, greetings and well wishes were read from the Superintendent General, Rev. Darrel Lee, and from brethren from UK and Africa. Right from the opening meeting of the camp meeting, the Spirit of God was highly operative and His presence continued at each meeting. The theme of the camp meeting was “Follow after Righteousness.”
The opening message was taken from Genesis chapter 6. The congregation was reminded that Noah lived in a world that was ungodly and increasingly wicked – much like the present day. Yet, the grace of God that brings salvation was made available to everyone of that age, including Noah and his family. Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord because he opened his heart to the wooing of God and sought the way of the Lord. He was then afforded deliverance and preservation from the Flood, along with his family. It was brought out that Noah was a grace-seeker, and the unsaved were encouraged to seek God’s salvation so that like Noah they would also become a grace-finder: “For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” Attendees were further reminded that salvation is not the end of the spiritual road. Believers are required to be grace-keepers, like Noah and two of his three sons—Shem and Japhet—who continued to follow God’s commandments after the Flood. The congregation was warned that it is possible to be a grace-looser, as Noah’s middle son, Ham, and the postdiluvian people who ignored God’s commands. They lost grace by following their own impulses rather than God’s commands, and suffered devastating consequences. All the teachings and sermons that followed consistently maintained the Spirit present on the opening day.
On the following Monday evening, there was a Variety Night hosted by two of the young people, Kim Tshuma and Osibi Akerejola. They challenged the audience with questions related to the Bible and fellowship for all ages. It was a fun time indeed. During that event, the first annual Music Scholarship Awards were given. The awards are for aspiring young musicians who have been saved and who demonstrate a dedication to using their talents for the Lord at their local churches. The premier awards went to Christian Akerejola from the Sydney church and Faithful Ogugua from the Melbourne church. Christian has been learning violin for the past four years while Faithful has been learning flute for three years. The Saturday of the camp meeting featured a Sing-Along and fellowship time which is always a delightful time.
The concluding service of the camp meeting on October 3 was devoted to praising the Lord for pouring out His Spirit upon the camp meeting in such a very special way. Again, the Spirit of the Lord was present in the service and the altar service that followed. Despite using a virtual platform for the meetings, there were wonderful prayer times after each service.
The same uplifting pattern of revival continued the following weekend at the Melbourne Weekend of Revival, both during the meetings and the prayer services. The group is so thankful for how God immensely blessed during the October 8-10 meetings.
Many encouraging testimonies of victory were shared during both of the special occasions. A father testified about how his sinful life led him to prison, but there he came across a Higher Way magazine. His heart yearned for the deliverance and salvation that he read about, so he wrote to headquarters office in Portland to inquire further, and he was directed to a local church near him. There, he prayed through to salvation and his deeper Christian experiences. Prior to this camp meeting, he prayed and asked the Lord that every member of his family would be saved during the camp meeting. He was glad and praised the Lord for answering his prayer.
Another brother testified about how he was saved after his mother invited him to church. Sometime later, God demonstrated His care when his mother had a stroke. She appeared lifeless when the paramedics took her, but he asked the Lord to spare his mother, and God answered; she was released from the hospital the following day. Some time ago, he and his family faced an economic crisis when he lost his job. They were in the process of losing their home when the Lord stepped in. The mortgage bank gave them a three-year mortgage holiday, which helped them to recover. The Lord also intervened in the health of his wife by putting her cancer in remission, and He also blessed them with a child.
Other testimonies reflected on being blessed with spiritual experiences, reanointings, and healings. A sister testified about how she had multiple health problems, and prescribed medications were not helping but rather she was getting sicker. She decided to put it all in God’s hands instead. The Lord helped her and she is now feeling fine. A brother in the healthcare profession thanked the Lord for protecting him from COVID infection. His hospital was flooded with COVID patients at one point, but each time he went to work, his ward was always clear. When he was transferred to another ward with high COVID admissions, the situation reversed: his ward was free of COVID and the previous ward had an influx of cases! He knew it was the Lord.
This year, the Australian saints were blessed with brethren joining the camp meeting remotely from different points around the world, including: United Kingdom, UAE, Angola, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Canada, South Africa, United States, and New Zealand. Participation within Australia was from New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia, and Queensland. Those who attended are immensely grateful for the grace which the Lord extended throughout the events.