On November 4-7, the Apostolic Faith churches in the Philippines held their twenty-third youth camp meeting online. The theme was “The Fruit-Bearing Christian,” and it was coordinated by Christopher Mendoza, pastor of our church in Bulacan, Philippines.
The Wednesday service began with the young people enthusiastically singing worship songs glorifying God and welcoming His presence. It was evident that the young people were ready for revival and feeding on God’s Word during the next four days. The District Superintendent of the Philippines Work, Joseph Ruiz, gave some introductory remarks, highlighting the theme verses in James 2:17-18, “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.” Comparing genuine faith with false faith, he emphasized that false faith is futile and will end in eternal destruction.
The youth camp meeting included a series of Bible studies with themes that were focused on a believer’s fruit-bearing faith, which were compared to actions that bring about a seedling’s growth in good soil, including cultivation, nourishment, pruning, and collecting the harvest. The Wednesday Bible study on cultivation was led by Rose Ann Grospe. Bringing out that the word cultivate means “to improve someone or something,” she spoke of preparing one's heart to accept God’s Word and letting it grow there. She encouraged the youth to seek for sanctification and the baptism of the Holy Spirit so they will be conformed to Christ’s likeness and be what He wants them to be.
During the evening evangelistic service, the young people shared how God had guided them in their Christian walks. One young lady said that she had encountered some difficult trials during 2020, including the deaths of loved ones and other challenging circumstances, but God had helped her remain faithful to the One who is always faithful. Brother Chris read Hebrews 10:19-21 for his sermon text, and focused on the significance of Christ’s sacrifice and His role as our High Priest. He encouraged everyone to draw closer to God, hold fast to their faith, and consider others in love and good works.
The Bible study on Thursday was presented by Carlo De Guzman on “Nourishment.” He emphasized the importance of daily communion with God, and said that spiritual nourishment requires several things: choosing the right companions to avoid being corrupted by the world; avoiding activities which do not glorify God; and regularly reading the Bible, praying, and attending church services.
Victorious testimonies were given during the evening evangelistic service. A young woman testified that before the Covid-19 lockdowns, she had a dream where people were taking examinations and were seated one seat apart. She said that God revealed that this would be a test for all believers, but that He would be with His children during these trying times. Jamindre Torres gave the message using Jeremiah 2:13 for his text. He brought out that judgment came to the Israelites because they forsook their covenant with God and replaced Him with idol worship. He said many people today have become immersed in worldly pleasures, and have substituted the grace of God for worldly enticements. He stated that those who keep their eyes on Jesus, the Source of living water, would be satisfied and never thirst spiritually.
The topic of the Bible study on Friday was “Pruning,” and was presented by Jenilyn Aban. She brought out that spiritual pruning enhances spiritual growth by removing any inhibitors. This may involve adversity and trials, but God prunes Christians so that they will bear more fruit, become more dependent on Him, and bring glory to Him.
On Friday afternoon, an online Bible quiz was held for all young people ages twelve to thirty-five. The various churches submitted their representatives, and the moderators were Ella Paragas and Brother Chris.
Later, an online evening of music was presented. Action songs such as “Father Abraham” and “Everybody Ought to Know” set the joyful tone. The young people presented worship songs, and the sweet presence of the Holy Spirit was felt. A duet acknowledged the Lord’s faithfulness in the song “Dakilang Katapatan,” a Filipino song meaning “Great Faithfulness.” Other songs included “Alive,” “Days of Elijah,” “Your Labor Is Not in Vain,” “Never Once,” and “Jesus Got a Hold of My Life.” The evening concluded with the songs “As the Deer,” “You Are My All in All,” and “He Will Hold Me Fast” to celebrate the never-ending and never-failing love of the Savior, Jesus Christ.
The fourth and final Bible study on “Harvest” was presented by Cedez Dancel on Saturday. She emphasized the need for Christians to bear spiritual fruit, using trees, gardens, vines, branches, and fruit to illustrate the truths of spiritual growth. She encouraged the young people to seek God for more cultivation, nourishment, and pruning in their lives in order to bear good spiritual fruit.
The four-day youth camp meeting came to a conclusion in the afternoon. All the glory and praise were given to God for His presence and guidance to the teachers, pastors, musicians, and young people who participated in the momentous event. The results of the Bible quiz were also announced with third place being awarded to the Tabulac church and second place to the Baguio church. The champion was the Simimbaan church, and the winners received monetary rewards. Everyone would definitely agree that those who received salvation during the camp meeting will receive the greatest rewards as they endeavor to bear spiritual fruit in their lives and spend eternity in Heaven with Jesus Christ!