Our First Camp Meeting!
Fall is here! There is something so special in the early leaves drifting from the trees as if we are all drifting down with them, to rest, and to start again. It shows us how beautiful it is to let things go. I come alive in the fall time; it is my favorite time of year!
Harvest time here on Know the Savior Ministries Farm is finally slowing down, although not complete – we have sweet potatoes yet to bring in. The pantry shelves are full with the bounties from GOD's grocery store (that's what we call our garden), and the laborious work of food preserving. I'm sure that this year I have canned and dried more food than I did last year. I would often rise 4:00 in the morning and continue until evening: pressure cooking, water-bathing, dehydrating, bottling and vacuum packing. It was a lot of work but worth every bit of my time and effort. This summer was a busy time in the garden and on the property. The abundance of rain in the beginning of summer caused many of the vegetables to be ready for harvesting and preserving ahead of time, and many simultaneously. The saturated ground caused many old and tall trees to up root themselves during wind storms, one of the trees just missing the house as it fell with a loud crash. All of this kept us quite busy.
One of the most exciting things that happened this summer on the farm was the planning our first ministry weekend camp meeting. You know the saying “God showed up, and showed out!” Well, He did just that. Vernon and I both felt God was leading us to host a camp meeting with the group we have been working with from Fort Mill, South Carolina. Some were “new” members to the Church, one being baptized by Vernon in a lake not long ago. So, a few had never been to a camp meeting. We wanted them to experience what it felt like to come to such a “holy convocation,” to be revived and energized by the preaching and the teaching under the Holy Spirit’s presence and power, to return home encouraged and equipped to continue the work of preparing one’s self and others for the Lord’s soon return. These wonderful gatherings are commemorative and typical reminding us that we are but strangers and pilgrims on the earth, and that we look for a city with foundations, whose builder and maker is God (Hebrews 11:13, 10).
Our planning of the camp meeting started with much prayer, asking God to lead us in this endeavor. First we needed to pick a date. We left that up to the group, because the time had to fit all of their schedules. Once we had the date we needed to get the main speaker. We knew this would be difficult because many that could speak would already be booked up. But we knew if God wanted us to do this He would make a way.
We reach out to our friend Dakota Day from Amazing Facts, a young evangelist on fire for the Lord. When we told him what we wanted, he tried his best to see if he could work something out for us so that he could be available. But his schedule just would not allow it. But what he did next was one of the reasons we care for him so and why he is such a good friend. He made it his task to find us a speaker from Amazing Facts. While Dakota was busy looking for a speaker, Vernon and I moved forward in faith and ordered the tent and porta-potties, and chose a speaker to close out on Sunday morning with Vernon launching the camp meeting with a vespers message on Friday evening. You might be wondering where we were planning to have this 3 day camp meeting. We used to wonder why God would give us so much land, and now we knew. He had blessed us with plenty of property for events such as this to facilitate parking, putting up of a tent, and a spot for porta-potties far enough away from the tent to ensure privacy. The LORD knew in advance what the property would be used for – doing His work.
While still waiting for word on the speaker, the planning committee decided we needed to hire a caterer to do the food for the three days. I knew just who to engage – Jeanette Morse, an excellent vegan cook and a good friend of mine. We were so delighted by her food preparation and presentations! They were out of this world! Everyone remarked how delicious and scrumptiously delightful the meals were.
We finally heard from Dakota that he had found us a speaker, Eric Selchow, a young evangelist recently installed by Amazing Facts and on fire for the Lord. We were very pleased, relieved, and grateful that God provided us a speaker.
The bulletins were made, the tent and porta-potties were ordered, our church loaned us tables and chairs, the hotel was booked, the singers and musicians were ready, and the speaker and caterer were all set. All that was left was to continue to pray that the Holy Spirit would rain on us.
The long awaited camp meeting weekend came quickly upon us. The chairs were picked up and the porta-potties were delivered and setup on Thursday. Vernon met evangelist Selchow at the airport early Friday morning getting home around 3:00 AM. After a few hours of sleep, they both arose ready to make final preparations. The tent was delivered Friday morning around 9:00 AM and was professionally pitched by 10:00 AM. Vernon and the young evangelist quickly built a small platform (4ft X 8ft) and set it in place. The chairs were neatly arranged. We were impressed at how Eric, the young evangelist, pitched right in to help make the final preparations.
We had been praying for good and comfortable weather and God did not disappoint. The weather was beautiful.
Friday night’s supper before the first service was light and delicious, and the Friday night meeting was a true blessing. God spoke through Vernon as his message set the tone for the entire weekend. He spoke on the topic of “The Sabbath and Salvation Connection.” From Genesis to Revelation, the Lord calls His people to work and to live each day resting in Him WHO IS our Salvation and our REST, and to rest in His finished work – of which the Seventh-day Sabbath is a weekly reminder.
The Sabbath School Lesson Study was facilitated by Sister Maple Sloley. What a powerfully led exploration of what “The Call to Stand” for Christ entails and how putting on “the whole armor of God” is so essential, especially in these “last days”! From head to toe we must “put on the whole armor of GOD:” the “Helmet of Salvation,” the Breastplate of Righteousness,” the “Shield of Faith,” the “Belt of Truth,” the “Feet shod with the Gospel of Peace,” the “Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of GOD,” and finally all pulled together and made effective by “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.” Galatians 6:10-18.
The music for the entire weekend was holy and uplifting and charged by the Spirit of GOD – they brought you to the feet and the heart of Jesus. Our vibrant song leader Bonnie Craig led out in the congregation learning and singing the heartfelt lyrics of our theme song for the weekend, “Knowing You, Jesus”. The words were so meaningful, we find ourselves singing them and humming the tune weeks after the camp meeting ended. From the Martins on Friday evening to Gerald Ondap on Sabbath morning’s Divine Worship Hour, the appeal song by yours truly, and later at the afternoon’s mini-concert, the addition of our daughter Soñée Libbman and a men’s trio from the Cookeville SDA Church, our little tent overflowed and our hillside retreat reverberated with the music of heaven! Brother Gerald Ondap shared with us that on his way to the camp meeting site early Sabbath morning as he was coming around the final bend in his approached to our property, he could already feel and sense the presence of the Holy Spirit. Our prayers were being answered, and we praise the LORD for gracing us with HIS presence.
The main speaker for Sabbath, Evangelist Eric Selchow, was outstanding in his message presentations. He brought us to the cross of Jesus with a poignant message entitled, “The Ninth Hour.” Later that evening he challenged us with a message he called, “Satan Is Trembling,” borrowing this title from Testimonies Volume 1, page 345 and 346, where the servant of the LORD points out that “At the sound of fervent prayer [by the saints of GOD], Satan’s whole host trembles.” The children of GOD will have to learn to fast and pray fervently in these last days if under the onslaught of the devil we are to stand firm and unwaveringly for the TRUTH as it is in JESUS.
After receiving spiritual food we were given physical nourishment that was extraordinarily delectable. After the delicious meal we went on a foraging nature walk through the property where we found 34 edible and medicinal “weeds” and flowers. This little exercise led by Chynsia Morse brought realization to our minds that indeed the LORD has provided all things necessary for our physical needs and well-being. Later the afternoon we had a mini concert, we were so blessed; the music was reminiscent of the old-time camp meetings. The young children who attended were not left out. Their Sabbath School was conducted by our daughter, Tia Combs, and later after the mini-concert, she and her pre-teen students rehearsed what they had learned, and serenaded us with the familiar “Jesus Loves Me.” We ended the evening after the message from evangelist Eric, with a bonfire where we enjoyed veggie hotdogs, bake bean, homemade peach-apple juice, corn chips and salsa from our pantry.
Sunday’s speaker, Karmen Keith, one of the Directors of the Exodus in the Journey Zoom Ministry, shared with us some eye opening current events that show where we are in prophetic history and the importance of why GOD’s people should be seeking “retired places in the country.”
Camp meeting ended with lunch to go for some who had a distance to travel back home, while the others enjoyed their meal a little while longer to fellowship before departing to their nearby homes.
One of the things that made our camp meeting very special were welcome videos to our Fort Mill group, one from Evangelist Dakota Day of Amazing Facts, and a very inspiring and thoughtful welcome from the Director-Speaker of It Is Written, Pastor John Bradshaw! You can find these short videos on our webpage (kstministries.com).
A camp meeting would not be complete without decisions being made to follow JESUS. We were blessed to have a precious young soul give her life to the LORD. She is preparing for a baptism in the coming months.
GOD richly blessed our little camp meeting beyond what we could have imagined; but, that’s just the way HE works. We are already looking forward to next year’s Know the Savior Today Ministries’ Camp Meeting. If you are interested in attending this and other events we are planning, such as cooking and canning classes, contact us via our website. Hope to see many of you at these occasions. May the LORD be with you and keep you until next time. Maranatha!
For more pictures of the camp meeting, please go to our gallery page on the kstministries.com website.