February 29, 2020
Special Meetings Youth Activities
Portland Special Meetings 2020 opened with a weekend focused on the youth, beginning with a youth service on Friday evening and then a full day of activities on Saturday. Several visitors attended from youth groups in Medford, Grants Pass, and Dallas, Oregon, as well as Seattle and Chehalis, Washington, and the weekend was an encouragement to all who came.
The Saturday schedule began in the Fellowship Lodge with a meal of breakfast casserole and cinnamon rolls. This was followed by a time of singing led by a praise team of several vocalists. The song list included “Power of Your Love” and “Let It Rain” and was a beautiful start to the day.
Next, the Bible Bowl competition began. The topic was the Books of 1 and 2 Thessalonians. Teams were chosen based on birthdays: those born on an even day of the month versus those born on odd days. Four members from each team stepped forward to answer a multiple choice question. Correct answers were worth one point, with a bonus half point if an answer was given before the multiple choices were offered, and steals were worth two points. The game intensified significantly about half way through when the value of a steal increased to three points! Typical questions included, “What two works of grace are mentioned in 2 Thessalonians 2:13?” and “Thessalonica is the capital of what Roman province?” As fate would have it, the odd team was trailing by one point going into the final question, which was worth two points! The question was asked, “What was Paul’s final twelve-word benediction in 2 Thessalonians 3:18?” After careful consideration, the even team correctly answered, “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen,” winning the game with a decisive victory!
During the afternoon, the activity center was turned into a laser tag course where groups of sixteen at a time could challenge each other to laser tag wars. This was followed by a few hours of free time, but everyone returned at 6:00 p.m. for dinner. The menu consisted of roast beef, mashed potatoes, carrot coins, salad, and strawberry shortcake for dessert. After the meal, everyone remained at their tables for a fun game called “Telephone Pictionary.” Each person was given a pad of paper with a phrase written on the front cover, such as “Finding Nemo” or “Chicken Dance.” The assignment was to draw a picture of the phrase on the next page of the pad, and then pass the pad to the person on your left. That person would look at the drawing, guess the phrase, write the guess on the next page, and pass the pad again. Once the pad arrived back to the original artist, everyone had a good laugh at seeing the evolution of their phrases!
The last portion of the day included another time of singing and then testimonies. Several people shared how God was encouraging them to seek sanctification, the baptism of the Holy Ghost, and healing, and others told how God had provided jobs, encouragement at college, opportunities to be a witness, and lessons about trusting Him more. The last two testimonies were from Alex and Lorina Wilson of Seattle, who were invited to be guest speakers for the special weekend. Sister Lorina spoke first, telling how she was saved while praying in her car on a lunch break. Later she realized she needed to be sanctified but struggled to receive it, but after watching the webcast of a Portland camp meeting teaching last summer she had a revelation that helped her pray through right at home. Brother Alex told how he was saved in a simple way at just six years old and sanctified shortly after. It was at Portland camp meeting in 2006 when God impressed on him an urgent need to receive the baptism. Even though it seemed almost impossible, Alex committed that he would do whatever he needed to do to receive it, and that night God baptized him with the Holy Ghost. He also shared some of the challenges he faced when his family relocated during his middle school years, and again when his parents moved out of state just after he graduated from high school. When the burdens of life seemed too much for him, God told him, “You do your best, and I’ll do the rest,” and he found that the burden is not too much when his trust is in God.
Brother Alex closed the evening with a message from 2 Corinthians 6:2, “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” He spoke of the tendency to think life will get better after the next big milestone is reached, whether that is graduating, starting a career, marrying, owning a home, having children . . . the list goes on and on. Brother Alex told the young people that those types of goals do not satisfy the soul, but the spiritual blessings that God offers do satisfy. He encouraged the group to seek their deeper experiences and reminded them that God said, “Now is the accepted time.” Yet, it is up to each individual to let it be the accepted time for him or her. The evening closed with a time of prayer.