For the first time ever, the Upper Midwest special meetings held in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on October 9-11 were held online through Zoom and livestreamed to YouTube. In spite of the challenges and through much prayer, God worked in miraculous ways to bring honor and praise to His Name. The theme for the weekend was “I Stand Redeemed,” and the theme verse was Isaiah 51:11, “Therefore the redeemed of the Lord shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away.”
The Friday evening service began with online prayer in the Zoom breakaway room, followed by Kent Thompson, the pastor in Minneapolis, welcoming everyone attending the service. He then played “Ring the Bells of Heaven” on the baritone, after which he led the congregational songs. Joshua Idowu, the pastor in St. Louis, Missouri, prayed the middle prayer, and after announcements, a quartet from Minneapolis sang “Help Me, Lord, to Stand.” Victorious testimonies were given from the congregations in Minneapolis and Richland Center, Wisconsin. Solomon Akinduro, the group leader in Memphis, Tennessee, read Revelation 16:15 for his sermon text, and emphasized the need to be prepared for Jesus’ soon return. Referring to the five wise and five foolish virgins in Matthew 25, he likened the oil in their lamps to the Spirit of God, and exhorted the congregation to make sure they are saved and ready when the Bridegroom comes. Brother Kent led the final song, and Segun Oyewole, from Minneapolis, gave the closing prayer.
A youth service was held on Saturday evening, and it was a blessing to see the young people enthusiastically give of their talents to the Lord. The service began with a violin trio from Madison, Wisconsin, playing “Minuet in G Minor,” followed by “There Shall Be Showers of Blessings.” A group from Minneapolis beautifully sang “I Was There When It Happened.” Chad Thompson, from Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, encouraged the young people as he led the congregational songs, including “Something Beautiful,” “I Will Serve Thee,” “I Must Tell Jesus,” and “Yes, Lord, Yes.” He challenged them to “Keep on, be brave, hold fast, have faith, pray hard, fear not, and stay strong.” Tola Agboola, from Minneapolis, prayed the middle prayer, and before the testimony portion of the service, a quartet from Worth, Illinois, sang “Blessed Jesus, Hold My Hand.” A group from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, enthusiastically sang “The Royal Telephone,” after which Boniface Osunkwo, the group leader in Milwaukee, brought the message from Genesis 3:8-12. He encouraged the young people to keep their connections with God open and strong, and warned that sin will destroy those connections. The final song was led from Minneapolis, and then Gideon Robbin, from Worth, prayed the closing prayer. The excitement and energy of the youth was an encouragement to all.
On Sunday morning, Brother Kent thanked everyone for joining the online services, and for all the preparation in putting together the music, testimonies, preaching, and especially the prayers. The prelude began with a trio from Worth beautifully singing “How Great Is Our God,” accompanied by guitar, and then Samuel Oyedokun, also from Worth, led the congregational singing. Bunmi Omitoyin, the pastor in Worth, prayed the middle prayer. A “stroll down memory lane” special from a former Midwest camp meeting featured a pastors’ group singing “Brighten the Corner Where You Are.” Then a duet from Memphis delightfully sang “How About You?” Antonia Schleicher, from Madison, gave an inspirational testimony on how God saved her, kept her, provided for her, healed her, and much more. Isaac Akere, also from Madison, read the Scripture reading from Acts 27 about Paul and the shipwreck. Nyasha Gwaza, from Madison, sang the last special, “Only By Grace.” Charles Schleicher, the pastor in Madison, preached a powerful sermon using Isaiah 43:1 for his text, “Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.” After the final song, Brother Kent closed out the weekend with a prayer.
The online special meetings were a blessing to all who participated, and the Spirit of God could be felt throughout the weekend. Everyone was thankful that God is not restricted by circumstances, and He always hears and answers prayer when hearts are open to Him, even in these unprecedented times!