Midwest youth camp and camp meeting were held at the Pinecrest Camp and Conference Center in Fredericktown, Missouri, from Saturday, July 30, until Saturday, August 5. The youth camp, which included forty-six campers plus staff, began Saturday evening with dinner, followed by a chapel service. The theme was “In the Beginning…,” and focused on the first eleven chapters of the Book of Genesis. The afternoon devotional themes included “The Majesty of God,” “The Design and Purpose of Humanity,” “The Consequences of Willful Man,” “The Judgment of a Holy God,” and “The Origin of Ethnicity and Language.” There were daily memory verses, and the campers did a great job reciting the verses, sometimes one word at a time! Organized activities included fishing, crafts, archery, swimming, boating, volleyball, mini-golf, and fun group games.
Youth camp transitioned into Midwest camp on Monday evening, when everyone else arrived and settled in their rooms. The Tuesday morning Bible teaching began with a violin trio playing “Abide with Me.” The first special was a men’s trio singing “Jesus, Hold My Hand.” Before the teaching, Nyasha Gwaza sang “Wherever He Leads I’ll Go.” Bob Downey, Director of North America Work and Midwest camp director, read Genesis 3:8 for his text. The topic was “God’s Relationship with Man, and Man’s Relationship with God.” He brought out that God wants to have a relationship with man that will satisfy and fulfill the desires of the heart, but man must do his part to draw closer to God.
On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday mornings, the younger children gathered downstairs before the last special for a “Children’s Bible Adventure” during the Bible teaching.
In the afternoons, while the youth camp students were participating in the daily devotionals with their counselors, the adults met in the chapel for devotionals on the same topics. On Tuesday afternoon, Isaac Akere, from Madison, Wisconsin, read Genesis 6:7-8 for his text, and spoke on “The Judgment of a Holy God.” He brought out that God requires justice, and the only way to escape His judgment is to be saved and live in accordance with His Word.
The Tuesday evening service began with a cello solo, which included “In My Heart There Rings a Melody.” The youth camp students recited their daily memory verse from Romans 5:19, and a mixed trio sang “Don’t Let the Battle Steal Your Praise.” Before the sermon, Ben and Stephanie Luebbert sang “Go Ask.” Donald Fittin, from Van Buren, Arkansas, took his text from Joshua 14:10-12, and encouraged the congregation to claim what God has promised to them.
On Wednesday morning, the Bible teaching opened with a violin trio playing two selections, including “Fill Me Now.” For the first special, the Ikpe family sang “Before the Throne of God Above.” Prior to the sermon, Goodnews and Beverly Osunkwo sang “The One Who Holds the Stars.” Charles Schleicher, the pastor in Madison, read Luke 6:47-48 for his text, and emphasized “Developing a Biblical Perspective in Today’s World.” He brought out that in addition to knowing the Bible, it is also necessary to have a personal relationship with the Author.
The topic of the Wednesday afternoon devotional was “The Consequences of Willful Man,” led by Ebenezer Idowu, from Madison. He referenced Genesis 3:1-24, and brought out that sin has consequences, but God has always made provision for man to have a relationship with Him. God’s ultimate provision was when He sent His Son, Jesus, to atone for the sins of everyone, but the choice must be made whether or not to surrender one’s heart and accept the atonement God has provided.
Wednesday evening was a youth camp chapel service, which included everyone. There were specials and skits from the individual cabins, as well as enthusiastic singing of Sunday school songs by the congregation. The message was given by Esther Olusanya, from Worth, Illinois. She read Matthew 22:34-38 for her text, and encouraged the young people to love God with all their hearts, souls, and minds. While all the prayer meetings at camp we.
During the night, a severe thunderstorm developed and kept most of the campers awake! The power went out, so the Thursday Bible teaching began with limited power from a generator, but no air conditioning. However, the service opened heartily with the children’s choir singing “Holy Spirit, Grow Your Fruit in Me,” and a song about God’s creation. Bob and Cheryl Downey celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary that day, and to their surprise, the Midwest pastors and group leaders gave them a tribute, and presented them with beautiful flowers and a gift.
The first special of the service was a large African choir singing “There Is Power in the Blood of Jesus” in English and seven African languages. Later, a mixed quartet sang “Beyond the Cross is a Tomb that is Empty.” Before the teaching, Deloris Oliver sang “No, Not One.” Brother Charles continued his teaching from the day before and read Romans 1:18-23 for his text. Again, he exhorted the congregation to know the Bible and stay close to God as Jesus’ coming draws near.
The Thursday afternoon devotional was led by Antonia Schleicher, from Madison, and addressed the topic, “The Origin of Ethnicity and Language.” She beautifully brought out that God created only one human race, and His desire is for everyone to love one another.
On Thursday evening, the brass began the service by playing “Seeking the Lost.” A youth vocal ensemble from Minneapolis, Minnesota, sang a song about Heaven, and before the sermon, Jon Wolf sang “God Will Make this Trial a Blessing.” Olubunmi Omitoyin, the pastor in Worth, read Titus 2:11 for his text, and encouraged the congregation to seek God with all their hearts, receive what they need from Him, and live righteously in this present world.
The Friday morning service began with the woodwinds and strings playing a selection of hymns. The congregational songs included choruses that are popular in Newfoundland, Canada, which is a tradition at Midwest camp. Jason, Jacqueline, and Jessica Idowu sang “At Calvary,” and before the sermon, Rebekah Oyedokun sang “In Times Like These.” Rodney Duff, from Van Buren, Arkansas, took his text from Deuteronomy 2:2-3, and exhorted the congregation that if they are going in the wrong direction, it is time to change direction and ask God to put them on the right path.
A water baptismal service was held on Friday afternoon. Brother Olubunmi read Matthew 28:19 for his text, and brought out that water baptism is for those who are saved, and the prayer is that God will keep them until Jesus comes. Four men and boys, and eight women and girls, were baptized in water.
The concluding service began with a prelude of Bluegrass music, another favorite at Midwest camp. Donald Fittin and Jon Wolf sang “Lord, I’m Coming Home,” and Olivia Downey and Brother Donald sang “In the Garden” Bluegrass style. The congregational singing was also accompanied by Bluegrass music. Sister Olivia and Lisa Hopkins sang “Down to the River to Pray,” with guitar accompaniment, and before the sermon, Krystal Baars sang “Surely the Presence of the Lord Is in this Place.” Solomon Akinduro, the group leader in Memphis, Tennessee, read James 5:13-14 for his text, and brought out that the spiritual recipe for success is prayer, praise, perseverance, giving to God first, faithfulness, and following God’s will.
On Saturday morning, everyone gathered for breakfast and said their goodbyes. It was a wonderful camp meeting, and many spiritual victories were won. The prayer is that those who received from the Lord will continue to grow in their walks with Him, and be ready when Jesus comes!