From the Superintendent's DESK
The annual Chile camp meeting began on Sunday, February 9, in Chimbarongo. Representing the Portland headquarters is Elvido Ortiz of the Bronx, and John and Ana Wyatt Sr. of Brooklyn, New York. They sent this report of the first few days of activities.
Camp meeting 2020 started with a vibrant Sunday school session. The lesson was taught by Eladio Retamal, the pastor of our church in Limavida, and focused on being faithful stewards of the Lord’s work.
The morning service was preceded by a time of prayer, and then the choir led the congregation in singing “He Lives Forever.” For the testimony portion of the service, Brother John spoke of God’s grace in saving him at a young age, and Sister Ana testified of God’s providence on her behalf over the years.
After a music special, Israel Monardes, the Chile District Superintendent and Chimbarongo pastor, preached from Acts 9:1-13, highlighting this year’s camp theme of “Let There Be Light.” He said we must surrender to the glory of the Lord as Paul did on the road to Damascus, and our lives will be changed as his was. The message concluded with an altar call, and the saints filled the altar area. Men and women cried out to God, pouring out their hearts, and oh what a sweet time of prayer we experienced!
The Sunday evening service started the way morning service had ended—in prayer. After a season of prayer the choir sang “Take My Hands,” “A Loving Christ,” and “Are you washed?” Several testified, and then before the message the pastor’s wife, Roxana, sang “In Your Presence, Lord.”
Brother Elvido gave the sermon, taking his text from John 8:12 where Jesus said, “I am the light of the world.” He admonished the saints to follow Christ, and Him alone. He said Jesus is the Light that will guide us in this life and into eternity. After the message saints again filled the altars and poured out their hearts to God.
On Monday, we enjoyed an evening of music. The saints were joyous as they sang praises unto God. From the local choir to solos and group selections, and from near and far, we all joined in, collectively singing praises to the King of kings and Lord of lords. It was a sweet time of fellowship.
The first teaching of camp meeting was held on Tuesday morning. Brother Eladio taught on the topic of “Walking in the Light of Salvation.” He said salvation is a gift given by God to man, and can be obtained by acknowledging, confessing, and turning away from one’s sin. He said anyone who follows these steps in faith will be forgiven and become a new creature in Christ.
The evening service started with a season of prayer followed by a song selection of “Far Beyond the Sun.” Brother Israel welcomed everyone and encouraged them to use the opportunity of camp meeting to seek and receive the three foundational Christian experiences of salvation, sanctification, and the baptism of the Holy Ghost.
During the testimonies, Diego Retamal shared how God protected him during a recent car accident. Sister Ana also testified of how God has provided for her family. She said He has proved himself faithful time and again. Before the message, Brother Eladio sang “I Praise You.” The sermon, taken from Matthew 5:13-14, brought out that we are the light of the world. Before leaving earth, Jesus commissioned the disciples to spread the Gospel. Now it is our responsibility to let others see the light of Jesus in us.
The Chile camp meeting continued on Wednesday with a morning teaching, which was preceded by a time of prayer. For the prelude, the choir sang “Joy and Light” and “Holy Spirit Descend.” Following the congregational singing and prayer, several gave inspiring testimonies. Then a male vocalist sang the last special. The message was given by John Wyatt Sr., who took his text from Psalm 51:1-12 and spoke on “Walking in the Light of Sanctification.” He said God is holy and expects us to walk in holiness. He has made sanctification available to all who are saved and consecrate their lives. Brother John encouraged everyone to seek this experience. It was a stirring message, and everyone went to prayer afterward.
For the evening service, Roxana Monardes led the choir in several selections, and then invited the congregation to join in singing “Jesus Is All the World to Me” and “Glorious Morning.” During the testimony service one sister recounted how she was looking for deliverance. She did not know where to go or who to turn to for help, but she turned to Jesus and He did not disappoint.
Before the message, Angel Gonzalez sang “The Old Rugged Cross.” Then Israel Monardes preached from Luke 9:28-36. He said Jesus took time during His busy ministry to pray, and we must follow His example and do the same. When we consecrate our lives to God in prayer, we benefit by receiving His promises, and we become a blessing to others. The congregation was encouraged to follow Luke 11:9 and ask, seek, and knock to receive the promises of God. When the message concluded, they did just that, and a sweet time of prayer followed.
On Thursday morning, the teaching began with the choir singing “Anywhere with Jesus” and “Pentecostal Power.” During the testimonies, one brother told of having a severe back injury. He said he went to different cities and doctors looking for answers, but found none. Then he was invited to church and prayed for. He is grateful that God touched him and saved him. Another brother testified that God convicted him when he was seventeen. He tried to run from the Voice of God, but couldn’t. A couple years later, he went to a local church and gave his life to the Lord.
The special before the message was given by Eladio Retamal. Then Elvido Ortiz preached on “Walking in the Light,” taking his text from Genesis 5:24; 6:9; and 17:1. He said the Scriptures tell of men who walked with God in a spiritual sense—they had a way of life that pleased God. He said we must also be walking in a manner that pleases God. Using Job as an example, he said God will keep life’s problems from deterring us if we will let Him. Following the service, there was another good time of prayer.
The evening service began with the choir singing “Jesus Will Come Again” and “God Is Love.” The testimonies included one from a sister who had battled cancer. She waited on the Lord in prayer, and He healed her. She praised God for the victory. Another sister spoke of how she had struggled with an unforgiving heart. She cried out to God to deliver her, and He set her free. She testified, “Today, I am free by the Blood of the Lamb.” Another thanked God for allowing her to grow up in a Christian home, though that did not guarantee her salvation. She said she had a problem, but during the first Chile camp meeting, God saved her and delivered her from that problem. She said, “He is an amazing deliverer!”
Brother Israel gave the evening message from Matthew 5:13 where Jesus said, “Ye are the salt of the earth.” He said salt preserves against corruption and enhances flavor. Christians are to maintain holy lives in a corrupt world and bring the flavor of the Gospel to others. He said if anyone is lacking flavor, God can restore it as they seek for Him around the altars during camp meeting.
The Chile camp meeting concluded on Sunday, and the following report of the final services was received.
As we arrived for the last teaching of the camp meeting on Friday morning, the choir was in place and began the prelude by singing two spiritual classics: “Almost Persuaded” and “I Want to Be a Worker.”
Following the congregational singing and prayer, Roxana Monardes opened the testimony service by thanking God for her Christian heritage. Growing up, she had Christian parents and grandparents, and is thankful to be part of a great family. Another testimony came from a brother who said God saved him more than thirty years ago, gave him a good Christian wife, and saved his siblings as well. He asked, “How could I not be thankful for all God has given me?”
The sermon was given by Israel Monardes who read Luke 21:34-36 and spoke on the spiritual preparation that must be made in anticipation of the Lord’s return. He said everyone must have a watchful and prayerful attitude, being careful to not let the things of this life distract us. The teaching concluded with an altar call inviting everyone to come before God and make the necessary preparations.
The evening service began with selections from the Chimbarongo choir, including “Count Your Blessings,” “I’ve Come to Tell,” and “Christ, My Help.” During the testimony service, one woman thanked God for opening doors to allow her to attend the camp meeting with her family. Another testified of how thankful he is for the family of God. He said that when he was separated from his wife and children, he was encouraged to continue in the faith. He prayed, asking the Lord to help him regain his children, and the Lord answered. He told the congregation, “I know God will keep all His promises, continue to pray for me.”
For the sermon, John Wyatt, Sr. took his text from Matthew 25:1-13, the account of the five wise and five foolish virgins. He pointed out that the wise not only had oil in their lamps, but in vessels as well. He said we do not know how long we will be running this Christian race; it could be a month, a year, or twenty years, so we must keep our vessels full. He encouraged everyone to seek for the three foundational experiences of salvation, sanctification, and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. When the altar call was given, he urged the saints to ask for God’s presence and help to be ready for Christ’s return. The saints, young and old, went to the altar and poured out their hearts before the Lord.
An ordinance service was held on Saturday morning, and began with two congregational songs: “Are You Washed in the Blood?” and “At the Cross.” Eladio Retamal gave the message on The Lord’s Supper, taken from Luke 22:7-22. He admonished the saints to examine their hearts when approaching the Lord’s table to be sure they are spiritually ready. He also spoke of what a joy it is to participate, and to think that one day Jesus Himself will serve us.
For the Foot Washing message, Ana Wyatt, Sr. took her text from John 13:1-17, which concludes, “If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.” And it was a happy occasion as people began to pair off and wash each other’s feet. Some were singing, others had tears rolling down their cheeks, and all experienced the presence of the Lord.
We concluded the day with an evening of informal music. The saints who had come from near and far joined together in singing praises to the Lord.
On the final day of the camp meeting, we gathered for a spirited Sunday school lesson taught by Brother John. This was followed by prayer, and then the choir opened the morning meeting with the song “How Great Thou Art.” During the testimonies, one told how he had Christian family members, but was not a Christian himself. God convicted him, and not only saved him, but also sanctified and baptized him, completely changing his attitude and outlook on life.
The final message of the camp meeting was given by Brother Israel. He read John 3:16-21 for his text and said that Jesus gave His life for the world, and we must pray for others to know Him as we do.
This was a wonderful camp meeting with many blessings poured out. May the Lord help us to continue to move forward in the Gospel, and if Jesus tarries, meet in Chimbarongo again for camp meeting 2021!