July 27, 2020
Zoom Youth Camp Meeting
On what would have been the first day of Northwest Youth Camp 2020, a special Zoom meeting was held for everyone who would have attended youth camp this year. Including “campers” and “staff,” there were over 150 devices logged in to the meeting, which meant there were well over 300 people watching since most screens were shared by more than one person.
After camp director Erik Calhoun welcomed everyone to the meeting, the Worthington, Luka, and Ewers families played “Great and Mighty Is the Lord Our God” on the guitar, accordion, ukulele, and violin. Then the Trotter family sang “Great Big God.” After this was a time for everyone to sing some youth camp favorites, including “Your Life Will Change” and “Seek Ye First.”
Next, Michael and Cassy Mathews’ camera captured the two of them as they presented a skit about packing for youth camp. Sister Cassy was packing her youth camp bag early because she wanted to be ready when it was time to go to youth camp, but sadly youth camp was canceled and her bag was not needed. The Mathews compared this to being ready for the Rapture, and pointed out that the Rapture is surer to happen than youth camp, so it’s vital that each one is ready for it.
During the time for testimonies, Maria Green told how she had been raised in a different church and never understood that she could have a personal relationship with God or that she could have victory over sin. She said she tried to live a good, moral life, but she was constantly failing and she became miserable. Then her brother was saved and told her that she was not living the way God wanted her to, but she did not believe it until God’s Spirit spoke to her heart and let her know she was a sinner and needed to be saved. She did give her life to God, and He changed her life. Through difficult times, God continues to help her have victory.
Gary Sletmoe also shared his testimony about how he was saved at his first youth camp when he was nine years old. He said Jesus made a real change in his life and he felt a weight of sin lift off his shoulders that day. Almost thirty years later, he is still saved! He said he has proven God can keep people through elementary school, middle school, high school, college, a career, marriage, and raising children. Through it all, the constant in his life has always been God, and it all started at his first youth camp.
After a prayer led by Clark Wolfe, Joel Andersen spoke to the group to let everyone know how much he missed not being at youth camp this year, and then Curt Cook sang the youth camp favorite, “Bullfrogs and Butterflies.” The last special was Bella McCarville singing “I Will Trust You.”
For the message, Stan Nyakuhwa of Leicester, UK, began by reading 1 Peter 4:12-13, “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.” Brother Stan noted that this year has been a fiery trial for many. Some are feeling lonely, discouraged, or depressed because they have been isolated and because their favorite activities have been canceled. He reminded everyone that Jesus knows what they are going through today, and He cares. Brother Stan said God is still working and encouraged the listeners to make sure they were saved. He commented that last August, he assumed he would be at youth camp again this year, but now no one is even sure if there will be youth camp next year. However, what we do know is that we have today to make sure we are saved, and those who are saved will surely spend eternity in Heaven. He emphasized that nothing is more important than being ready for Heaven.
Ryan Erdmann gave a closing prayer, and then Brother Erik returned with a final announcement: during the coming week, staff members would be visiting the campers’ homes to give them a youth camp tee shirt and one of Sherry Schuermyer’s famous ice cream sandwiches!
Seeing all the staff and campers, having an online chapel service, and then a taste of the camp menu, was a wonderful treat for everyone. Nothing could replace being at youth camp in person, but at least there was something to tide everyone over for the year!