From the Superintendent's DESK
The second week of the Western and Central Africa (WECA) camp meeting featured beautiful music, a seminar on marriage, and encouraging messages. Here are the highlights as reported by a few of the attendees.
Monday, August 22
Children’s Concert and Youth Concert
On Monday evening, two concerts were presented. The first featured elementary school children and the second was given by older youth.
To begin, the children’s choir sang “Everybody Ought to Know” and “Jesus is the Light of the World.” They followed this by singing local favorites in the Efik, Igbo, and Yoruba languages. Other vocal selections included an octet singing “Just a Little Talk with Jesus” and the “Little Stars” choir performing three lively action songs.
Instrumentals were also featured. The children’s orchestra performed “Radesky March,” a brass ensemble played “Waiting for the Call,” and a violinist played “The Light of the World is Jesus.” The children’s portion of the concert closed with “Shine, Jesus Shine.”
During the intermission, students graduating from the children’s music school were presented with certificates by the WECA District Superintendent, Isaac Adigun. Then the youth concert commenced the second half of the evening with a processional song, “Hallelujah! Praise Ye the Lord.” This was followed by “Jehovah Reigneth” presented by the choir and orchestra. Other offerings included vocal and instrumental solos, songs in local languages, a brass ensemble, and a powerful “Days of Elijah” performed by the choir and brass. The audience also had an opportunity to participate when the choir sang “Glory, Glory, Glory Somebody Touched Me.” The concert was heartwarming and ended with a short play depicting a self-righteous man being denied access to God until after he repented. This prompted the audience to go to their knees in prayer.
Tuesday, August 23
The Bible teaching started with an orchestra prelude of “Love Lifted Me” followed by the choir singing “Love Divine.” The testimony service was reserved for children born in the Gospel, online participants, and those from the Cross Rivers adjunct region of Nigeria. One sister testified from Calabar, praising God for healing her husband completely after the doctors advised her to prepare for his burial. A brother thanked God for protecting his family during an armed robbery. A backslider who left the Gospel for riches, praised God for bringing him back.
The song “Happy Marriage is from God” was the fitting special before the message. Festus Oniyide took his text from Hebrews 13:4 and spoke on “The Sanctity of Marriage.” He said God’s Word makes explicit that marriage is between one man and one woman for life. He also listed the responsibilities God has assigned to each spouse to bring about a happy home.
Marriage and Family Seminar
In the afternoon, a seminar with the theme “Managing Relationships in the 21st Century” focused on marriage and family. In the first segment, several skits highlighted the challenges families face and how to overcome them. The dramas brought out that each family member has a part in making a happy home. Another segment taught the “Five F’s” of a happy home: faith, family, friends, finance, and fun. The seminar ended with a question-and-answer session covering such topics as dating, the engagement, intimacy, finances, and restitution.
Wednesday, August 24
During the prelude, the choir sang “Have Faith in God.” They also opened the testimony service with “Faith is the Victory.” The testimonies were given by brethren from the Abuja and Edo/Delta adjunct regions of Nigeria. Jacob Fadijo, the Delta District Overseer, glorified God for establishing a church in a major town and securing a second site despite obstacles. A Sister thanked God for healing and protecting her family when they contracted COVID, and another praised God for reviving her child when he died.
For the last special before the teaching message, Mary Ayoade sang “Till the Storm Passes By.” Then Benjamin Amadi taught on the subject of “Overcoming Faith.” He emphasized that doubts caused by the devil can be overcome by the Word of God and prayer. He challenged the assembly to maintain holy lifestyles and to overcome evil with good as stated in Romans 12:21. A time of earnest prayer followed.
The youth meeting began with a flute duet of “Allegro con Brio.” The choir later sang “Everybody on the Lord's Side” and “Turn Your Eyes upon Jesus.” For the testimony service, students in secondary school had the floor. Many of the young people glorified God for His saving grace. In addition, one girl testified of how God saved her from kidnappers. Another thanked God for healing her brother who was in a coma. A young man praised God for delivering him from suicidal thoughts. A young boy thanked God for saving him and giving him the boldness to testify.
The choir sang a soul thrilling “Give Me Jesus” and then Joshua Ouagha delivered the sermon on “No More Barriers.” The focus of his text was Isaiah 25:7 as he encouraged the youth to believe that God will remove every barrier to His blessings. At the close, the young people prayed heartily, and many were blessed.
The orchestra played “Saving Grace” at the commencement of the evening service. Then the choir sang “Surely Goodness and Mercy.” Some selected voices sang a Yoruba piece titled “Ayo Ni Mo Fi Bere,” which translated is “I Started with Joy.” The testimonies came from representatives of Burkina Faso, Mali, and the Ebute-Meta and Oke-Aro adjunct regions of Nigeria. A sister told how God perfectly healed her and her baby after three years of illness. A brother thanked God for delivering him from prison after he was falsely accused.
Before the message, a quartet sang “With Broken Heart and Contrite Sigh.” Then Josiah Ohuoba took his text from Psalm 51:17 and affirmed that the Lord is present at the camp meeting. He encouraged everyone to approach God in humility of heart, knowing who He is. As the service came to a close, many rushed the altar and prayed with brokenness.
Thursday, August 25
The last Bible teaching for the camp meeting started with such encouraging songs as “The Fight is On” played by the orchestra, “Press on Pilgrims” sung by the choir, and “Soldiers of Emmanuel” performed by an octet. "Just a Little While" was the special rendered by the choir just before the testimony service commenced. Brethren from the Uyo district of Nigeria and the Congo, as wells as Muslim converts, and those physically challenged carried the testimony service. One sister said the doctors told her she would never conceive, but the Lord undertook and gave her children. A brother said he sought revenge for his parents’ death, but the Lord graciously saved him and changed his heart. The son of a Muslim priest told how God saved him and has kept him for forty years. A former Muslim sister said she was persecuted by her father after converting. However, when he saw the change in her life, he allowed her siblings to go to church with her.
The last special preceding the teaching was "It Will be Worth it All.” The morning’s topic was “Enduring the Race to the End” given by James Tifase with the opening text from Hebrews 12:1-3. He pointed out that the most important part of running a race is crossing the finish line. He focused on three key elements of the Christian race: endurance, the cloud of witnesses, and succeeding.
The evening service was special as the Superintendent General, Darrel Lee, was in attendance after arriving in Nigeria earlier in the day. To begin the service, the orchestra played “The Joy of Heaven” and then the choir sang “Amazing Grace.” The choir also performed a special native song in the Yoruba language. During the announcements, Brother Darrel addressed the audience and extended greetings from Portland to which the congregation responded jubilantly with “Amen.”
For the testimonies, parents with newborns as well as delegates from the Enugu and Port Harcourt regions of Nigeria were heard from. One brother told of the Lord’s goodness to comfort him with three sons and two daughters after the loss of seven children. Another said that when he was thirsty for righteousness, he came into contact with God through a Gospel magazine and his desire was fulfilled.
A quartet rendered “Come Ye Sinners Poor and Needy” before Joseph Ansah delivered the sermon from Mark 4:36-37. He preached on “Overcoming the Storms of Life,” urging the congregation to call on Jesus when facing any storm. He said Jesus will answer today as He did for the disciples. The message was followed by the invitation song, “He Will Answer Every Prayer,” and a wonderful time of prayer.