February 11, 2016
Welcome to Chile Camp Meeting 2016
From the Superintendent's DESK
The 2016 Chile camp meeting began this past Sunday in Chimbarongo where our headquarters church is located. Sam Ajayi, Director of South America Work, is there with a team from the United States including Dial and Carrie Keju from Washington, D.C., Elvido Ortiz from the Bronx, New York, and Duane and Yvonne Wilson from Portland, Oregon.
Our team received a very warm welcome from the saints, whom they described as having a genuine love for the Lord. One commented that, “The group is small, but is very much a part of our larger church family, and we feel welcomed and loved.”
We expect to receive several reports from our team during the camp meeting. Sister Carrie has sent this one of the opening day:
The church was a reasonable walk from our hotel, and we enjoyed a cool morning stroll through a mostly slumbering town. As we approached the building, we could hear the congregation singing. There was an American Flag over the door to welcome us, and also the very recognizable “Jesus the Light of the World” sign. We knew we were in the right place.
“Welcome to Chile Camp meeting 2016” were the opening words of our Sunday morning service. Or rather, those words came after a beautifully rousing round of singing led by a mandolin and guitar orchestra. Though we had started the day off by meeting for breakfast in the hotel—with an offering of pan (the Spanish word for “bread,” which in Chile is a flat, round, individual loaf), mixed cheeses and cold-cut meats, berry jam and a caramel spread, as well as yogurt, granola, and cut fruit—Sunday school was the “breakfast” that fed us. The lesson was directed toward the adults as not every family had arrived for the camp meeting yet.
Besides the beautiful ensemble that opened the service and accompanied the congregational singing, we enjoyed a sweetly and sincerely sung solo by Angel Gonzalez of Chimbarongo. In addition Sister Yvonne sang a duet with Brother Dial who also sang a solo before the message.
Using the parable of the Sower and the Seed as his foundation, Brother Sam spoke on the theme of “Attention, Retention, and Protection!” First, he exhorted us to pay attention to God’s voice and teachings in our lives. Second, we were encouraged to take care of the precious seed God had planted in our hearts. And lastly, he said we are to protect the seed from all distractions and “birds of the air” that could potentially snatch it away from our hearts. We came away knowing that following this formula will help us to be faithful to God, and will yield in our lives fruit pleasurable to Him.
The service was interpreted by Brother Elvido. We thank God for his willingness as no one here knows English and we do not speak Spanish—though Brother Sam’s “Spanglish” is really quite impressive!
After church we went to a community center where the rest of the meetings will be held, and where the Chimbarongo kitchen staff had prepared lunch for us. We enjoyed another dietary staple at lunch—soup. Apparently, pan and soup make an appearance at almost every meal. It was a chicken, potato (white and sweet), and vegetable soup. The consensus among us was: “Excellent.” We also had salad, a mashed potato, chicken, and egg casserole, and deliciously ripe watermelon for dessert.
The evening service again started with the beautiful sounds of the guitars and mandolins—about three of each with the musicians singing along. God’s unifying Spirit was clearly present in this enjoyable and very local offering!
With text from Luke 10:40-47, Brother Sam spoke of how the parents of Jesus lost Him when they departed from Jerusalem and left Him behind. We were reminded of how we can each lose Jesus out of our own lives by moving on without Him. In the Biblical example, it was for a matter of days, but in our hearts those days can grow to weeks, months, and even to years by ignoring His absence and staying busy. As with the morning service, the evening’s was followed with a sweetly gentle, though robust session of prayer.
We are all having a good time and the Lord is already blessing. The prayer time has been blessed by God’s Spirit and clearly consecrations are being made.
This service was held with the windows and doors open as it is currently mid-summer and very warm in Chile. In the past this has led to curious passers-by stopping to listen. As the camp meeting progresses, we pray this will again be the case.
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