Experiencing God in One Week

f-camp

What can possibly happen in one week?

I remember, it was the 25th of April, 2014 when I had this question ringing in my mind. I was in my room, packing up the stuffs I need for the weeklong Friendship Camp, which, for the first time, would happen in our district. I remember feeling excited and yet at the same time, a bit anxious of what might happen at the camp, or what might not.

Then came Sunday, the arrival day at the campsite.

Being one of the officers of our Districtwide AY Association, I couldn’t help getting worried about the possibility that not many young people would actually show up for the event. I mean, I knew we’d done our part in inviting the youth—both SDAs and non-SDAs—to the camp beforehand, and I thought, we were pretty successful at it. But what if, just what if, our invitees change their mind at the last minute? All the effort we put forth for the activity will surely go down the drain.

What I failed to realize at that moment was that it wasn’t our work, it was God’s. And when God does something, He perfects it.

First Day at the Camp

Twelve. That’s the exact number of tents I counted when I got to the campsite.

Not really a lot, I thought.

That’s when I closed my eyes and started praying to God to send more young people to the camp. And sent more, He did. After all, it was His work, not ours. So little by little, campers were coming. More tents were set up, and the camp was starting to get noisy… in a good way.

The opening ceremony went on smoothly, with all the young people obviously excited about the activities in store for them for the week.

Before I drifted to sleep that night, I had three things to say to God—first, I thanked Him for the camp’s successful start; second, I was sorry I doubted what He is capable of doing; and finally, I asked Him to keep everyone safe at the camp.

The Facilitators

Of course, the Friendship Camp wouldn’t materialize without the active force behind it. Under the supervision of our District Pastor, Ptr. German B. Ramos and the young camp director Clinton Dumangcas, we had a battalion of dynamic young people who rose up to the challenge of leading the camp which we all knew wasn’t an easy task— there was the obligation of getting up before everybody else does, staying up late to prepare for the next day’s activities, and then there’s facilitating a group of young people with different temperaments.

But once again, God proved me how He can make anybody His living vessel at His will, even those people who I thought weren’t capable enough.

Many of the facilitators were so young and admittedly first-timers, yet it was amazing how everyone rose up to the occasion when they were called to. They were young, yes; but not young enough to take part in God’s work.

Friendship Evangelism

I remember an inspiring statement I heard somewhere, “people will not care how much you know about God unless they know how much you care about them”.

This was pretty much the case during the Friendship Camp. Because there were quite a number of non-SDA campers, I couldn’t help wondering how we can introduce Jesus to them without them feeling like they’re being pressured to join the Seventh Day Adventist denomination.

I was thinking that if ever these young people would decide to join the church, I wanted them to do it out of pure and holy conviction and not out of pressure or just a spur-of-the-moment decision.

But God has His ways, as always.

With His blessings, everyone started building friendship at the camp. Even now, it still amazes me how people with different upbringing and character can connect with each other in such a short span of time. And then little by little, as the friendship grew, it became surprisingly easy to talk to them about Jesus that it was almost effortless.

The Decision

Before the camp started, I was feeling vexed by the idea that we’re obliged to bring souls to Christ’s fold at the end of the weeklong event through baptism. I worried too much about the numbers and became so nearsighted that I forgot that it was the Holy Spirit’s job to convict souls, not man’s. But just every time my faith fails, God reminds me of what He is capable of doing.

Just before the Sabbath came, we popped the big question to the non-SDA campers— will you accept Jesus as your Saviour and be baptized? The response we got astounded me.

Then it hit me. While I was busy doubting God, His Spirit was actually working and subtly converting souls.

Accepted Jesus through Baptism

It was holy Sabbath afternoon by the beach and everyone was gathered together for the baptism. Those who were about to be baptized were nervous, I was sure about that. After all, it was to be the turning point of their lives.

One by one, the brethren shook the hands of our new church members and warmly welcomed them. While we were on it, I was silently thanking God for such a wonderful miracle.

I thought it was good enough that we were able to convince those young people to join the Friendship Camp, but God had a greater plan and purpose— a plan to remind everyone how much He loves people and the ultimate purpose to save His children.

New Life in Christ

It was the 4th of May when the camp finally concluded. But not really, I realized.

For the new young Seventh Day Adventists, their real Christian journey has just begun. Surely, there will be a lot of obstacles in their path, but I know that God, in all His greatness and mercy, will carry them through.

As for me, and all others who fell short of their faith, we rediscovered Him and His amazing grace.

So what can possibly happen in one week?

Now I have figured out the answer.

Written by:

Glyzza Mae F. Bergado

Loreto FCAMP Camp Director

Clinton M Dumangcas

Last year Northeastern Mindanao Mission trained young people for FCAMP Facilitators.    Many of them successfully completed the training.    One of them is Clinton M. Dumangcas, a first year student in Caraga State University, taking BS Math.  While he is in our own Academy he is active in leading Master Guide activities.  He is also the battalion commander of the school, pathfinder club in Northeastern Mindanao Academy.

Last year he was assigned in Punot, Salug Esperanza Agusan del Sur and Bonbon, Butuan City FCAMP facilitator.  Jonald Serrano, the FCAMP consultant, perceived that he can be a good Camp Director for another camping.  That’s why last April 15-21, 2012 he was assigned in Loreto District as Camp Director.

At first he wanted to decline because he felt that he is not capable of the responsibility, being young and doesn’t have any experience in handling such activities.  He is contented of being a facilitator only.   Mainly his fears were he doesn’t know the district pastors, the church elders and also the facilitators who will go with him since it involves for 3 districts.   The facilitators came from different churches how could he manage the program.  But before the FCAMP started, he was chosen to attend the Youth Alive program by the SSD in Central Philippine Adventist College last April 2-7, 2012.    The training that

 

he attended helped him in revising their scheduled activities and applies such knowledge in the camping.

When the camping started he felt excited because there were more non-sda young people who attended even though they don’t have complete bonding with the facilitators. He was scared at first when one of the campers was disturbed by the devil during Wednesday until Saturday morning.  Marathon prayers, Bible reading was done by the facilitators.  But it was an unforgettable experience when he saw the power of God, when the devil was driven out through the power of prayer.  Through that experience he longed to become a pastor.

NEMM-Youth Ministries Department Spearheaded Summer Youth Camp 2011


The Youth Ministries Department of Northeastern Mindanao Mission under the directorship of Pastor Max Dante B. Obbus conducted a mission-wide summer youth camp on May 8-14, 2011 at Mt. Olive Laymen’s Academy, Mt. Olive, Bayugan City, Agusan del Sur with the theme “Alone With God.”

On the opening night, Pastor Henry Sucuaje, District Pastor of Olive District gave an inspirational message. Barangay Captain Romel Montecalvo of Barangay Olive welcomed all the staff, delegates, and parents on behalf of the local government. Pastor Solomon V. Mongaya, NEMM president, delivered a very timely and uplifting message during the Divine Worship. Sir Romel Subigca, school principal of Northeastern Mindanao Academy, offered the commitment message and prayer during the closing program.

The said event aimed to develop future church leaders through different Pathfindering activities and programs. The participants were divided into different categories from the Adventurer Club, Pathfinder Club, Master Guide, Pathfinder Leadership Award (PLA), and Advanced Pathfinder Leadership Award (APLA). Furthermore, various classes and honors were conducted in the morning to cater the need of the campers for their passport completion.

Around 200 youth from Caraga Region participated in this program. These young people underwent rigid training and various activities all throughout the week. On the first day, they did “getting-to-know-you” games and activities; and on the following day, they had camp skills and drills. In the middle of the week, the participants enjoyed nature’s beauty when they had a track and trail. They went hiking, spelunking and waterfalls exploring. On Thursday (May 12), the attendees had an obstacle race. The last day was spent doing a community service around the school and the neighborhood. Aside from physical and social enrichments, the campers were spiritually strengthened and revived through morning worship and devotionals, meditation and counselor’s time, and evening devotionals. At night, there were different presentations by district such as songs and yells, unique talent, group singing – religious, musical instrument playing, and religious drama.

Regardless of the unexpected untoward incidents, the administrative officers, camp staff, parents and participants felt physically, socially and spiritually rejuvenated and blessed. Everybody believed that we were not alone, because God was with us.