Prayers Answered at Washington Camp Meeting

In a day when most camp meetings have downsized to long-weekend events, the Washington Conference again mounted a sturdy 10-day convocation, held June 19–28 on the Auburn Adventist Academy campus—with no shrinkage in either interest or attendance.

Part of the reason may have been the theme, “It’s All About Jesus Changing Lives,” and also the intense lay and pastoral prayer-focus that preceded it. This gave John Freedman, Washington Conference president, courage to write in the first issue of the daily camp meeting newsletter, “The expectation we have is that the Lord will pour out His Holy Spirit in answer to our prayers. God’s Spirit will be present, moving through the campground.”

And these prayerful expectations were answered in many ways. From the early-morning presentations by Dave Wolkwitz and Bill Liversidge, through mid-day messages such as those by Oakwood’s Craig Newborn and revivalist Keavin Hayden, through evening speakers like Jim Gilley, Jere Patzer and Kim Allen Johnson, campers could not help but feel the “lift” that the Spirit provides.

And the people came. Attendance was definitely higher than in recent years. In spite of the large variety of afternoon classes (with topics like nutrition, creative disciplining, Pathfinder leadership, Web design, spiritual gifts, DVD evangelism, religious liberty and witnessing), many classes were full to overflowing, and a few had to be relocated to larger rooms.

“I think there was a real spiritual high this year,” says Doug Bing, conference vice president. “There was a great spirit on campus, with many answered prayers.”

One of these answers was quite dramatic. The year before, a small, hard-core group of anti-abortion protesters had stationed themselves near the campus entrance with several enlarged color photos, which shocked and traumatized not only campers but also community people driving by. And sure enough, the first weekend this year, the protesters were back, photos and all. But by the second weekend—not through angry confrontation but through kindness and lots of prayer—the pictures had vanished, replaced by large, lettered signs.

Another thrilling answer to prayer happened with the evangelism offering. With the nose-diving Washington economy and employment, and with the majority of each year’s evangelism dollars traditionally raised through nightly camp meeting offerings, conference leadership was wondering just how the coming year’s outreach efforts would fare.

Freedman enjoys telling what happened. “We had set a prudent goal of $50,000,” he says, “but immediately some of our lay people approached me on the campground. ‘You’re thinking too small, Elder Freedman,’ they told me firmly. ‘Set the goal twice as high. Set it even higher.’”

A goal device—a drawing of a baptismal tank—was erected high at the front of Rainier Auditorium, and night by night those in attendance watched the blue waters rise. But had the tank been a real one, the last inrush of water would have sent both pastor and new convert leaping to safety because, by camp meeting’s end, the offerings and pledges amounted to nearly double the goal—a staggering $90,000.

October 01, 2003 / Washington Conference