Yesterday marked the beginning of the Seventh-day Adventist Japanese campmeeting here in Loma Linda CA. Campmeeting is basically an SDA name for revival meetings where people would traditionally come out to huge tents to hear inspirational speakers, bring friends and reunite with old friends they hadn’t seen in a while. It was very outreach oriented. The tradition dates back to the early-mid 1800’s, born out of the Second Great Awakening. These days many Adventists still go out and camp on location usually from one weekend through the next. They attend workshops and prayer groups and inspirational meetings and share food together. At least that’s what I’ve experienced with the campmeeting I’ve attended for the last four years in Auburn Washington. But things have definitely changed since the good ol’ days.
The Japanese campmeeting only lasted from yesterday (Friday) until this evening (Saturday night) because people want the meetings but don’t want to use their vacation time. Most of the people from out of the area just drove up for the Saturday meetings because hotels are expensive and there’s not much camping in the city.
I was privileged with the role of leading worship music for the youth with a youth band that had its debut last night and changed members by the next meeting. I also got to lead out in Sabbath School (which is like Sunday school but on Saturday...our Sabbath) in which we had a Bible study on the Parable of the Sower from Mark 4.
One of the high points of our time together was an ice breaker during church that we set up like speed-dating...kind of. The intent was not to play match maker, though some sparks may have flown, but rather to help the youth who came from different churches to connect with each other. The theme for the campmeeting and our little game was witnessing. So the outreach mentality has lived on in a different form. There were many different stations, some were more fun centered and some were intended to encourage more deep thinking. Pictures were drawn, popcorn was thrown, some of it was caught by gaping mouths, puzzles were solved, story’s were written and people got prayed for. But the station I wanted to share simply asked: How would you write your testimony in one sentence? Write it down. These are some of the responses:
I came to Christ, becoming a Christian at 3rd grade sunday school
I was raised a Christian my whole life but when I became older my faith deepened and strengthened over time.
Jesus loves us very much!!!
I have been a 7th-day Adventist since I was little, but ever so recently I found out how much Jesus really loves me.
I still don’t have one...
I don’t know what that means...hehe...
Jesus loves us. Very much also.
Anywhere you go, God is with you. So trust in Him and believe!
To believe in God without any doubt.
God has found me and loves me.
I was born in a Christian home and it’s shaped who I am.
I was born a seventh-day Adventist, became more spiritual in 8th grade, and I’m continuing my walk with Jesus.
I was able to go to bible camp and see how weak I was and how much I need Him.
To trust God and not myself.
I was born into an Adventist home, and home-schooled. I continue to trust God, and try to draw closer to Him.
God does great things when you need it most and when you expect it least.
To build on my character and on my relationship on God
To talk to God as often as I can so I may have a closer relationship with Him.
After going to a public school I have come to appreciate my church and Christian friends so much more.
I was born into a Christian family and didn’t really come to know God until just this year at school!
I am kinda like a ball. I keep bouncing away from and toward Jesus. Hopefully I stay close one day.
To love God without hesitation or doubts
A good time was had by all and hopefully all were inspired, changed and will go out to share their experience with Jesus with their whole lives.
P.S. This was our theme song:)