Midwest Youth Camp and Camp Meeting were held at the Pinecrest Camp and Conference Center in Fredericktown, Missouri, from July 28 to August 5. The theme for the youth camp was “Not Just a Fan—I Am a Follower.” The campers and staff arrived on Friday evening in time for dinner, and spent the rest of the evening getting settled in their dorms and participating in various activities. The schedules on Saturday through Monday included organized activities, afternoon rallies in the chapel, cabin devotions led by the counselors, and evening chapel services. It was encouraging to see the young people spend time seeking the Lord after the chapel services. Several were saved, and many others received blessings.
Youth camp was a good time for the young people to prepare their hearts to seek the Lord during Midwest Camp Meeting, which began with check-in on Monday evening. The Tuesday morning Bible teaching opened with a string group from Worth, Illinois, playing “To God Be the Glory,” followed by a choir from Worth singing “Come, God Is Knocking.” After the congregational singing, Seun Akinduro, from Memphis, Tennessee, sang “Let Me Touch Him,” and before the Bible teaching, Cheryl Downey sang, “I Don’t Want Nothing Here to Hinder Me.” Bob Downey, Director of North America Work, spoke on “The Importance of Forgiveness,” bringing out that true forgiveness comes from the heart, and having an unforgiving spirit will hinder one’s prayers.
Each afternoon, the adults participated in a devotional in the chapel while the youth campers were having devotions with their counselors. The Tuesday devotional was led by Karen Storey, from Van Buren, Arkansas. Taking her text from Acts 12:1-5, she encouraged the congregation to cover the young people and one another with prayer.
Before the evening service, a violin quartet from St. Louis, Missouri, played “There Shall Be Showers of Blessing.” The service opened with the brass playing “To God Be the Glory” and “My Tribute.” For the middle special, Esther Olusanya, Abigail Osunla, and Rebecca Oyedokun sang “How Can I Keep from Singing?” Before the sermon, Kyle and Jody Voreis, from Port Angeles, Washington, sang “He’s More than Wonderful.” Jeff Downey, the pastor in Van Buren, read Ephesians 4:1-16 for his text, and challenged the congregation to be “mantle ready,” and spiritually prepared to accept any call God has placed on their lives.
The Wednesday morning Bible teaching began with a violin solo by Olivia Oni, from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, “For the Beauty of the Earth.” Then Olivia and Beverly Osunkwo sang “Refiner’s Fire.” The middle special was an ensemble from Saint Louis, Missouri, singing “Until Then.” Before the teaching, Olivia Dye, from Van Buren, sang “Where the Roses Never Fade.” Tony Boyce, the pastor in Dallas, Oregon, read James 2:14-18 for his text, and taught on the topic “Faith and Works.” He brought out that salvation cannot be earned because it is a gift from God, but after a person is saved, it takes action to live out one’s faith, please God, and lead others to Christ.
The afternoon devotional was led by Arinze Nwachukwu, from Grovetown, Georgia. His topic was “It is Our Gospel,” and after reading 2 Corinthians 4:1-7 for his text, he encouraged the congregation to realize what the Gospel truly is, and the power it gives to live victorious lives.
The evening service was a youth camp-style chapel service. Each cabin presented a special and skit. Many of the campers wore their tie-dye shirts that they had made during craft time. The campers also participated in a memory verse challenge taken from Mark 8:34-36. The sermon was given by Jon Cantrell, from Saint Louis. He read Hebrews 13:8-9 for his text, and using a c-clamp tool and piece of wood as an illustration, he encouraged the young people to conform themselves to God and not try to conform God to themselves. He brought out the need to make the necessary consecrations, and to hold on to God just like the c-clamp grips the piece of wood.
Before the Thursday morning Bible teaching, a violin trio from Minneapolis, Minnesota, played several hymns. The service opened with the children’s choir singing “Jesus, I Wanna Grow More Like You,” followed by the youth choir singing “I Can Become Whom I’m Striving to Be when I Liken the Bible to Me.” It was a special blessing to have Pauline Burgess come to camp for a couple of days. She was present at the very first Midwest camp meeting and has been attending for sixty-one years. She testified that God has done so much for her and now that she is ninety years old, He is still with her and helps her every day. A men’s trio sang “Keep on Believing,” and before the teaching, Samuel Adeapin, from Madison, Wisconsin, sang “He Brought Me Out of the Miry Clay.” Charles Schleicher, the pastor in Madison, Wisconsin, read 1 Corinthians 3:9, and spoke on the topic “We Are God’s Building.” He brought out that those who are saved are living stones that must be spiritually prepared and shaped to be part of God’s building. He encouraged the congregation to be humble, holy, and shapeable, and enjoy the fellowship with others who are part of this glorious building.
The afternoon devotional was led by Olubunmi Omitoyin, the pastor in Worth. He read 1 Peter 5:8 for his text and spoke on the topic “Being a Watchful Christian.” He brought out the need to avoid carelessness, negligence, and all of Satan’s tactics, and focus on watchfully and prayerfully being pleasing to God in every way.
Before the evening service, a violin ensemble played several hymns. The service opened with a piano solo from Minneapolis playing a medley of songs. For the middle special, a men’s quartet sang “Just a Little Talk with Jesus.” Before the sermon, Deborah Brenner and Kailyn McKay, from Portland, Oregon, sang “Wherever You Are.” Robert Makasi, from Wharton, New Jersey, took his text from John 7:37, and encouraged those who are thirsty to receive what they need from God.
A water baptismal service was held on Friday morning. Bluegrass-style music was played before the service. Susan Sprague, from Medford, Oregon, sang “Running the Race.” Jimmy Waddell, from Saint Louis, read Acts 8:26-39 for his text, and encouraged the converts to keep what they have received from God. Fifteen candidates were water baptized while the congregation enthusiastically declared their amens.
The afternoon service began with a guitar and banjo duet playing “Glory, Glory, Glory.” A mixed trio then sang “I’ll Be Waiting on the Far Side Banks of Jordan,” with bluegrass accompaniment. The congregational singing was also bluegrass style, a tradition at Midwest camp. The first special was Rachel Boyce, from Dallas, Oregon, and Jordyn Sletmoe, from Medford, Oregon, singing “There’s a Long Black Train.” Before the sermon, Krystal Baars and Mikayla McCarville, both from Van Buren, sang “I Found It All When I Found the Lord.” Esther Olusanya, from Worth, took her texts from Mark 8:38 and Romans 1:16. She encouraged the congregation not to be embarrassed or ashamed to stand up for the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and to live holy lives that will draw others to Him.
The Friday evening service began with Jon Wolf, from Saint Louis, singing “Safe Thus Far.” The congregational singing included Newfoundland-type choruses, always a favorite at Midwest camp. The middle special was a ladies’ choir singing “Living by Faith,” and before the sermon, Angi Waddell, from Saint Louis, sang “Fill My Cup, Lord.” Joshua Idowu, the pastor in Saint Louis, read Revelation 20:12 for his text, and brought out the need to make sure that God’s record reflects a life that is pleasing to God.
Camp meeting was a much-appreciated time of fellowship and spiritual blessings. The prayer meetings were wonderful, and many received blessings from God, including salvation, sanctification, and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Although the time to say goodbye came after breakfast on Saturday morning, those who attended felt inspired to hang on to what they had received from God and live victorious lives in the year to come, if Jesus tarries.