Special meetings were held at the Apostolic Faith Church in Medford, Oregon, on January 13-15. The guest speakers were Donald Fittin, from Van Buren, Arkansas, and Erik Calhoun, the youth leader in Portland, Oregon. The theme verses were Ezekiel 36:26-27, “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.” Those who attended heard that the miracle of salvation transforms the heart from defiance to spirit-filled devotion.
The Friday evening service included inspiring music from the Southern Oregon branch churches. During the testimony portion of the service, Milton O’Neill spoke of how God sustained him during times of loss and great sorrow. Cindy Fittin shared that God miraculously healed her from rheumatoid arthritis a number of years ago, and He has continued to guide and bless her life. Brother Donald read John 10:10 for his text, emphasizing that Jesus gives victory over sin, but it is up to each one to seek Him and submit to His will. Brother Donald recounted seeing a man at a diner who he had previously met at a jail service. The man was incarcerated for crimes he had committed, but everything changed when he committed his life to Christ. As the man introduced his wife and daughter to Brother Donald, he jubilantly declared that through repentance, Christ had transformed his life. Brother Donald encouraged the unsaved to receive that same transformation in their lives.
On Saturday morning, Brother Erik gave a devotional, using 1 Kings 3:9 for his text. He brought out that the heart is the center of our being and the seat of our will, and that an understanding heart is evidence of a discerning spirit. He encouraged the attendees to follow Solomon’s example and yield their hearts and wills to God, putting their full trust in God rather than themselves. Brother Erik also emphasized the need to reverence God, and honor the boundaries He has established.
Around two hundred people attended the evening youth service, and were inspired by uplifting music and victorious testimonies. Brother Erik read Romans 12:1-2 for his text, bringing out that salvation radically transforms the heart and will. He said that God’s work is a divine operation, far different from the world’s remedies and ideals. Here counted his testimony of how the power of God completely changed him as a young man, and he encouraged the congregation to seek God with all their hearts and experience His transforming power.
On Sunday morning, Brother Donald took his text from John 4:35. He explained how he and his wife enjoy growing tomatoes in their Arkansas garden, and he compared the burden of lost souls to tomato plants laden with ripe fruit. He encouraged the congregation to see through spiritual eyes the great harvest of souls that need to be saved, and pray that God will help them do their part to cultivate the Lord’s harvest.
On Sunday evening, Brother Donald read 2 Timothy 4:6-8 for his text, and exhorted the congregation to finish their spiritual races well by surrendering their hearts to God. He brought out that Paul wrote these verses to Timothy while he was in prison and nearing the end of his spiritual journey. Paul was determined to finish strong and exemplify steadfastness in spite of tremendous adversity. Brother Donald used the example of his high school basketball tryouts, where finishing required tenacity and grit, causing many to drop out. He encouraged the congregation to keep the faith, call upon God for every need, and fight to the finish.
The special meetings were a blessing to all who attended, and many received spiritual victories as they sought God in prayer.