Revelation Speaks Peace To Portland and Beyond
More than two years of planning by It Is Written and the members and staff of the Oregon Conference proved to be a success as the two groups teamed together for meetings at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland. The Revelation Speaks Peace meetings began on Feb. 1 and ran through March 1. Meetings were held every evening, except for Mondays and Thursdays.
Hundreds traveled from far and near to hear Shawn Boonstra, evangelist, share the message of God’s love, even though the Pacific Northwest is traditionally known for lower church attendance by population. Throughout the month many made decisions for Christ and were baptized. Many more baptisms are expected to take place as Portland-area churches carefully follow up with people in coming weeks and months.
At the start of each meeting, volunteers met guests at the doors with welcoming handshakes and information. Volunteers remained on hand to assist with registration, show children to the children’s meetings, and offer radio headsets for the translation of meetings into other languages.
There were some traffic challenges on the first night. In an unusual turn of events, the local light rail train crashed into a bus, blocking traffic and halting public transportation. Rather than missing the meeting, many people walked more than 2 miles in pouring rain to the convention center.
Despite the traffic difficulties, the convention hall was packed. All 2,300 seats were filled and people stood along the walls. Even security guards were seen listening to the message.
One couple was heard exclaiming to an usher they would have to clear their schedules for the month, for as they put it, “we don’t want to miss a thing.” Another family canceled longstanding vacation plans in order to attend.
Attendance proved to be strong throughout the month, even through Trail Blazer games and the Super Bowl. On weeknights, the attendance averaged between 1,500–1,800 people. Weekends saw the room packed again, with more than 2,300 attendees.
The meeting lectures were available in Spanish, Russian, Romanian and even sign language. Each meeting was translated by people stationed in the balcony above the convention hall.
The meetings were a blessing to volunteers just as much as to those who were guests. Volunteers were heard saying things like, “What are we going to do in the evenings after this is over?” And, “This has been so much fun. I’ve learned so much.”
Hundreds of children attended the children's meetings throughout the month. Each evening when a meeting was held for adults, a corresponding meeting was planned for the children. The children were split into two groups with young children in one room and older children in another. The theme for the month was The Incredible Race. A visit by a real race car driver and his car was a highlight, along with dramas, music, crafts and Bible stories.
For the final two weeks of meetings, Sabbath church services were held at the convention center at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. Several people were baptized at those services.
While the meetings concluded March 1, the outreach continues. Conference churches and members plan to continue the Bible studies and follow-up which so many have requested. Many people continue to make decisions for Jesus.
“Commission Culture refers to a movement of people who have the gospel commission at the core of their existence," says Don Livesay, Oregon Conference president. "It is a way of life…the constant sharing of joy in Jesus with others.”