March 25, 2016
Scandinavia Camp Attendees Lay Their Burdens at the Cross
From the Superintendent's DESK
Good Friday has just ended for the saints at Scandinavia camp meeting in Norway. Brother Ed Habre, who is visiting as the guest speaker for their camp meeting this year, sent this report about the great meetings they have had so far:
Kim and I invited LeRoy and Vigdis Tonning along with our traveling companions to join us for a boat tour of a Norwegian fjord on a large catamaran. The beauty of the waterway with its majestic mountains was awe inspiring. Norway certainly testifies to the beauty our Creator spoke into existence. The highlight of the tour was when we all sampled water from a waterfall that cascaded down a rocky cliff into the icy waters of the fjord below.
Sights from the fjord (left) and the Stavenger church building (right).
That evening we made our way to the Stavanger church for a water baptismal service. Two sisters from Denmark who were recently saved requested that they be baptized this camp. Of course, the lake would be too cold this time of year, so we used the more appropriate church facility for the event. Brother LeRoy brought the message and told of his own father’s choice to be baptized back in the Norwegian town where he had grown up. He admonished us that when following the Lord in doing this ordinance, we are publicly displaying our commitment to Him as a new creature in Christ Jesus. When it came time to baptize the sisters, the congregation was invited to gather close and all sang "I Have Decided to Follow Jesus" as each one came out of the water. It was a wonderful time of celebration!
On Wednesday afternoon, all those driving from Stavanger to the camp meeting location met first at Laila Pitkanen’s house (she is the sister of Tove Paulsen) for homemade soup and bread. Following the delicious meal we helped pack the cars and trailers with suitcases, musical instruments, and supplies for the hour-long drive to the convention facility that is rented for the meetings every Easter weekend. The first night was used for orientation and fellowship, followed by a prayer meeting.
Thursday morning began like all mornings scheduled at the camp: 8:00 a.m. prayer meeting followed by breakfast. The Bible study service was filled with enthusiastic attendees who had by then gathered from all over the region and beyond; some having arrived well past midnight the night before. Music once again filled the sanctuary with voices singing together in both Norwegian and English. The choir sang beautifully and there was an object lesson for children, with a few sweet testimonies of victory to follow. The Bible study for the morning was part one of an examination of the Lord's Prayer as found in Matthew chapter 6, entitled "Teach Us to Pray." The teaching detailed Jesus' instruction on how we should pray.
The evening hour was used for an ordinance service. Solemn hymns were sung and sweet testimonies given that prepared our hearts for Brother LeRoy's sermon that challenged us with the thought that God's Word should reflect in us as our faces reflect in a mirror. He continued on to the Scripture pertaining to the Lord's Supper, which we all partook of in prayer. The foot washing message reminded us of the value in obedience. Following the message the men and women went to their separate areas to wash each other’s feet. One precious feature that we men enjoyed was right after we finished washing. We linked together in a circle with our arms over the shoulders of our brethren and prayed for each other with one voice. It was a powerful moment and the unity we felt was wonderful.
Following prayer and breakfast on Friday, we once again met in the sanctuary for Bible study. The choir sang beautifully and with enthusiasm. The two sisters from Copenhagen who were baptized in water on Tuesday gave sweet testimonies. Lene Kinnari gave an object lesson for the children that used a cartoon figure to illustrate how our part in the Gospel is important. Though it was meant for youngsters, all of us present were encouraged by it. This second Bible study was part two of the examination of the Lord’s Prayer, and this time we considered what it teaches regarding why we pray.
The camp meeting choir.
Following a delicious salmon lunch (although they call this meal middag or dinner), practices began in preparation for Saturday’s activities. In the evening Keijo Kinnari gave a presentation on the end times. He impressed upon us that many end-times prophecies are being fulfilled in our lifetimes, and we should be watchful and aware so that we will be ready for the Lord's return any day.
Our evening service began with a pianist playing hymns and Gospel songs about Calvary. Each melody increasingly prepared our hearts for worship in the Good Friday service. We concluded our song service with the theme song that was used for last year’s Camp: "Here I am, Lord." The first special was from a young family from the United Kingdom who sang "Rise Again." Following the testimony service, we completed an activity that had been started in the morning. As we left the sanctuary in the morning, we were given a square piece of paper and were instructed to tear it into the shape of a cross and write on it our requests and personal needs. During the evening service, as a brother sang "Burdens Are Lifted at Calvary," we all dropped our paper cross requests at the foot of a wooden cross. It was a powerful moment that moved us all greatly.
The evening message was brought to us by Seun Ogunleye of the United Kingdom (it was his family who had sung during the meeting previously). He reminded us to cast all our cares on the Lord because all burdens, great or small, will be received by the Lord who loves and cares for us. The same Jesus who gave His life on the first Good Friday is the One who still bears all of our burdens today.
Brother Ed asks us to remember this group in our prayers during the rest of the camp meeting, which will continue through Easter Sunday.
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