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Pentecostal Camp Meeting in Santa Maria–Finale

Well, I told you I’d get back on Friday if I could tear myself away. Sorry, but I was so tied up–bound almost–by joy, excitement, grinning, laughter, eating and drinking with God, my family , and with my friends, that I didn’t even approach my computer, not even to rub my hand over its white smooth cover. 😦

Friday–everything about it–was better than Thursday, which, please recall, had neared perfection. The first thing that made it better was that Steve, my eldest, arrived. Now all of my children were together with Jerry and me in Santa Maria, along with assorted and various grandchildren, and several great-grandchildren tucked in the mix! Talk about wonder and glory and joy! I’ve had it the last few days.


Steve talks with his dad here. Many of you will recognize the other gentleman to be Sam White, who for scores of years pastored a church in Bellflower, Ca.

Camp consisted of lots of this:

Settling Their Decision

…and a birthday party for Thane who turned four.



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…but most important of all, lots of this. I’ve brought over a video from YouTube that you may want to watch, as this shows a typical Pentecostal conference/campmeeting worship service. This is not a video from our camp meeting, as I don’t have one available, but the feeling, the energy, the dynamics were the same. Take a look and a listen. The video was taken at one of our conferences in Stockton, California–sponsored by Christian Life Center, pastored by Nathaniel Haney. Landmark is the name of the conference.

Early in the service on Friday night and other nights, there were a bunch of mine with hands raised (Rebecca) men dancing in the aisle, Andrew, Michael, Joel and Kyle, on the far right (Shawnna’s nephew). Take a look at two little ones who are following in the steps of their parents and grandparents. (Thane–4 years old Ethan–not quite 2)

Rebecca Worshipping

My Boys!




My Grandbabies Worshipping

The preaching was dynamic. Scott Graham, the evening speaker was absolutely powerful


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Camp Meeting Santa Maria 2007 Part 4



DSC_0082, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

Yesterday was the finest of this year’s camp meeting–for several reasons–the first and main one being that a great number of my kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids arrived! I got so excited and became so involved with everything that I could not bring myself to break away and trek to this spot where I have an internet connection. But I know you are eager to hear of my activities in this most wonderful of meetings, 🙂 so here I am sitting in my blue Jeep Cherokee that is parked in front of the Fairpark administration office. It had been rumored last year that by this time there would be high-speed internet service throughout the fairgrounds, but, it really hasn’t happened. It’s not bad at all though; I’m only a few hundred yards from my motor home. We’re parked just to the left of the motor home you see pictured above.

The second greatest thing about yesterday was the dynamic services, beginning with the early morning message by Pastor Rojas from Oakland, California. (I’ll be updating my devotional blog and sharing some camp sermon summaries next week.)

After the morning service ended, Jerry and I went to lunch at Bakers Square with our very dear friends, the Donald O’Keefes. I love those people. I do believe we are as close as family, and I delight in being with them. We ate a delicious meal, lingered long over coffee, and finished up with shared pieces of pie. It was nearly 3:00 when we left the restaurant.

When we arrived at our site, there were Andrew and his clan, and Mike and Evan! I think I may get as excited as a child when I get with my children and their families. It’s absolutely the greatest. We hugged and talked, and when I missed Shawnna, Andrew told me she had gone to buy helmets for the youngsters. The fairgrounds is a state facility and even to ride bikes or scooters, every person must wear a helmet.

Andrew had off-loaded all the bikes, scooters, skates, etc. and now came the “great tent erecting.” They had brought a bigger tent than Nathaniel had, and all the boys set to erecting it, which they quickly did. They laid out their sleeping bags, and decided where each of them would sleep. It gets so cold and damp here at night that I thought they wouldn’t actually sleep in the tents, but they did, declaring this morning, they were toasty warm all night. Amazing what young boy blood does for one!


It is impossible for me to imagine a better service than we had last night. The worship was phenomenal, led by Steve Saiz who is in charge of the camp meeting committee this year. Some of our children were in children’s church, but the rest of us were stretched out on a long row, and I looked down and saw three of my children standing side by side, hands raised in worship with tears flowing down their faces, and I was so full of emotion, so charged with thanksgiving, that I could hardly contain myself. Most of you know, but let me remind you, that for more than 25 years my son Michael was out of the church, and in no way professed to be serving God. Now, because he had drastically changed, and because he has been fervently serving God these past two years, I have quite concluded it to be beyond my ability to express how I feel when I see him standing with his brother Andrew and his sister Rebecca, his life fully surrendered to God. (The one sad part about this camp meeting is that my eldest son, Steve, did not come. Were he here–it would be close to heaven on earth…well, it’s pretty close anyway!)


It is a distinct blessing to have Sam Emory as one of the preachers of our district. For years, he was an evangelist, but several months ago, he assumed the pastorate of the church in Merced. He is a dynamic preacher, singer and worship leader, and is in charge of the worship here at camp. We love Sam Emory and his precious, beautiful wife. He’s hugging Mike here.



And here, he’s sharing something funny with Shawnna, and Andrew.

My Lord, have mercy, I’m having a wonderful time. More tomorrow. (if I can tear myself away.) Again, and with all sincerity…wish you were here!

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Camp Meeting Santa Maria 2007 Part 3

The morning was an eventful one. The service had already begun when I entered the beautiful, white tent. I looked around until I located Jerry, who sat beside Berl and Lavelta, and Summer, one of their granddaughters. Summer’s husband, Nick, was preaching–I mean preaching. He did a dynamite job naming his sermon The difference between a well and a cistern. It was powerful. Immediately on sitting down, I discovered I did not have a pen with me, and although Jerry offered to let me use his, I could see that he needed it from time to time, so after Nick’s sermon was over–during the transition to the next speaker–I went to the motor home to grab one.

I hadn’t eaten any breakfast and by now it was after 11:00, so I opened the fridge, and finished up some tuna salad we had made for sandwiches the day before. Just as I finished chewing, through my open motor home door poked a familiar head. Joel had arrived. They left San Diego later than they had intended yesterday, so they didn’t quite make it to Santa Maria, but instead stopped in Ventura to spend the night.

“Think I can park my rig here by yours, Granny?”

We thought it would work, but when Joel checked the connections, all the electrical outlets were taken. I went back to the tent and asked Jerry if he had an electrical Y.

“No, ” I don’t have one. “Have a pigtail, but not a Y.”

Back at the rig, Joel and I poked around in our bays, but could find nothing that would work. Finally Joel decided.

“I’ll move the rig here and go to an RV store and buy an electrical Y. Think I’ll be needing one anyway.”

I went back to the service and was able to hear the conclusion of Fred Foster’s Bible study on The Cross. At the conclusion he called for musicians and the service was concluded with the singing of the beautiful old hymn, The Old Rugged Cross. As the melodious sounds wafted through the atmosphere, he asked for all preachers to go to the front, and then opened the altar area for any persons who needed special prayer. It was a glorious ending for our first morning service.

Now, here in the middle of the afternoon, Joel has set his rig into place, we’ve all had lunch, and his two youngest are asleep. I haven’t yet seen inside their 5th wheel, for they have had company in there, and I wanted to give Aisha time to settle in. Nathaniel took down his tent and repositioned it, and we left a big enough spot for Michael who will be arriving tomorrow in his old Volkswagon Pop-up Top Camper. It will be a hoot, I know.

I’ve probably said it before, and likely will do so again, but camp meeting is my favorite of all church meetings. Love it. Wish all of you were here.


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Camp Meeting in Santa Maria Part II

We have devised–Rebecca and I–a plan so that we can all be dressed on time, without bumping into each other too much in the motor home. The plan for yesterday was that I would have the bathroom just before dinner, we would serve dinner between 4 and 4:30, then the bathroom would be Nathaniel’s, then Rebecca’s, and finally Jerry’s. Worked out well, although we changed about a bit. Anyway, a little after 6:30, Jerry and I walked over to the tent for the first service. Nathaniel joined us a little later. “Where’s your mom?”

“She couldn’t find the motor home key, but she found it, and she’ll be here later,” he whispered back to me.

It was a great service, with phenomenal music, wonderful worship and a dynamic sermon. I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings or make you feel left out if you’re persuaded otherwise, but I’m so glad I am a Pentecostal. It’s marvelous to have been taught the joys of freely, and with passion worshipping my God. It comes natural to me, for with such I have been surrounded all my life. It’s not at all awkward or strange feeling–rather deeply satisfying. Recall that on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Ghost was poured out, and when the plan of salvation for this dispensation was proclaimed, the demonstration of those on whom the Holy Ghost had settled, was of such a nature that the onlookers thought them drunk! Read about it in the second chapter of Acts. On second thought, I’m going to print it out for you. 🙂

And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.

2And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.

3And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.

4And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

5And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.

6Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.

7And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?

8And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?

9Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,

10Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,

11Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.

12And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?

13Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.

14But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:

15For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.

16But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;

17And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:

18And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:

It’s a few minutes after ten now, and I don’t want to miss too much, so its off to the big tent for me. Stay tuned. I’ll keep you posted about the 2007 camp meeting in Santa Maria.


My devotional blog is here.


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This Year in Santa Maria

DSC_0031, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

“Some Jews had been able to find their first taste of true equality by immigration to America; however, most Jews in nineteenth-century Europe remained locked into a repetitious cycle of anguish. They looked, as they always had, to a return to Palestine. This longing had never left their daily prayer and was reemphasized in the yearly Yom Kippur greeting, “Next year in Jerusalem.” Leon Uris in The Haj

When many years ago, I first heard of this Yom Kippur greeting, Next year in Jerusalem, I was struck by the poignancy of the statement. It is especially touching because of the understanding that, according to the Bible, Jesus, their anticipated Messiah had already come. Sadly, His people failed to recognize Him.

Inherent in God’s people is an almost overwhelming desire to be together, to congregate, to chant prayers, to worship side-by-side, to muster forces; all-in-all to recount and to celebrate the victories of our eternal King. While I am Jewish only in the Spirit, I strongly relate to the connection the Jews have to return to their own land, and their annual words of hope spoken to their friends and kin, Next year in Jerusalem.

Each year the Western District of our church organization has a camp meeting in the city of Santa Maria, CA. Read here and here concerning the meeting of 2006. (If you want to read more about 2006, just check the posts before and after those I have linked.) Tonight will be the first service of 2007, but already the fair grounds are filled with rigs of all sorts–from very expensive Prevosts to humble tents. It’s CAMP MEETING TIME!

Last Wednesday, Jerry and I arranged our rig for traveling, pulled out of our space at DJ’s RV in Lake Havasu and drove to San Bernardino, where we parked our Country Coach motor home in front of Rebecca’s house. Trees hang low over her curbs, and just as Jerry was about to park, we heard a loud snap from the ceiling area of our rig. Later I found a broken horn lying in the gutter. A branch too low and too big had snagged on the roof-mounted horn, and had broken it off. A sad and costly thing. Couple of hundred dollars, probably.

It was hot in San Bernardino, and Rebecca had gone to a funeral, so after waiting for a bit, we decided to head on up to Crestline where we would spend the night. At 40th and Waterman, which is where we start the rapid climb into the mountains, it was 101 degrees. When we had accomplished the mere 15 mile drive to our home, our car thermometer showed 84 degrees. It was heavenly.

Not long after being in our house, our neighbor Nancy called and invited us over for dinner, which invitation we gladly accepted. She had remembered my birthday, and for dessert we had scrumptious cake. This was birthday cake number 2.

Rebecca’s son, Nathaniel, was at Junior Camp at Camp Seeley, which is about 5 miles from our home, and since he and Rebecca would be riding with us to camp meeting, on our way down Thursday morning, Jerry and I drove over and picked him up. At Rebecca’s, we discussed meals and snacks for the upcoming days, and while she finished loading her things into our motor home, I went to Stater’s and bought groceries.

“Look, Mom, I made you a birthday cake.” She showed me the dark chocolate cake, all prepared for traveling. Birthday cake number 3!

We had planned to spend the night in Ventura at a place called Rincon which is operated by the County, and is a stunning area where RVs park right along the ocean. They take no reservations, however, and we could not find a spot, so we motored on to Santa Maria, checked in, and claimed our spot.


Nathaniel brought a tent, along with plans for his cousins Gentry and Chloe, to spend each night there with him, once the cousins arrive on Wednesday. What Nathaniel did not bring were the tent stakes, (not stakes–the rods that hold up the canvas. Don’t know what they’re called. :() so for Rebecca it was off to try to buy some. The sales person had assured her the parts would fit, and after hours of trying to assemble the contrary things, they were found to be the wrong size. Off again, finally having to buy a new tent.


Nathaniel considers the procedure…

Nathaniel had also brought along a new battery-powered scooter, and much to his dismay, at fully charge mode, it would only last about 20 minutes. Back to the store, and despite a new charger, the next morning, the same situation was evident. Back to the store. New scooter, which Nathaniel and his friends assembled. It’s a blasting, fast one, and they roam all over the fair grounds here.


…finally, Nathaniel (and his friends) have it finished.

It’s great to be have been here a few days early. We visit, stroll around, shop, and occasionally catch a snooze.


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A Hole in My Heart–Part II

Glenn, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

By telephone, Jerry spoke with Glenn before our service yesterday, Glenn wanted to confirm the time of the morning service.

“Yes, it’s at 9:00,” Jerry told him.

“I want to be there. I want to take my kids to our church.”

“It’s the best thing you can do right now,” Jerry agreed. “Come, even if you are late.”

About half way through the service Glenn and his family came into our small meeting room. What had been quite a moving service, even to this point, now developed into one of the most touching scenes I have ever witnessed in a church.

Jerry ministered in a loving, thoughtful way, and at the conclusion of the message, he invited the entire Scott family to the front. The rest of the congregation encircled this grieving family, and we all wept and prayed and sang sweet songs of the love of Jesus, that I hope were of comfort to them.

This family is precious. Scott and Tanya have Shelby, the one daughter I previously mentioned, and two grown children, who have flown in from Oregon. Both the son and the daughter have small children, and as we met all of them after the service, Glenn reminded me that these little ones are Tanya’s grandchildren. “She loved them so.” He looked me square in the eyes as he spoke these words, his blue, delicate eyes flooding with tears.

At noon today, Jerry will meet with Glenn at the funeral home. There will be arranged final services for Tanya.


My devotional blog is here.


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A Hole in My Heart

A Hole in My Heart, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

I have a gapping, yaw of a hole in my heart. I believe the rip may have torn past the edges of my beating organ, actually penetrating my very soul. Tanya is dead.

I have written about Tanya before, but until now, I did not identify her, merely giving her a pseudonym. Her name, though, is Tanya. Tanya Scott, the wife of Glenn, the mother of 15-year-old Shelby. Yesterday, here in Lake Havasu, she was killed.

My grief is barely containable, for our lives during these past few weeks, as Jerry and I ministered to this precious beautiful family, have been intricately knitted. On our first meeting, I loved Tanya. I looked into her liquid brown eyes as we were introduced, my soul made a unique connection to hers, and I determined at that moment to do all in my power to be her friend, and to lead her to a deep relationship with Jesus.

Only days before we met, she had been released from the hospital, having been very sick. “Mr. Scott, we’ve saved her this time, but there will come a day when we can do no more for her,” the doctor warned Glenn.

Now she is gone. Slipped right through our fingers, dead, her life finished, her chances wasted, her roulette spin having shot her off into darkness and finality.

I am devastated, I tell you, and can hardly bear the thought. Questions abound.

“Should we have done more?”




Sometime this afternoon, we will go to a house where the extended family have gathered. Grown children have flown in from Oregon, and Jerry and I will speak with them, and cry together, and we will pray.

Pray, please pray for all of us. You see, our broken hearts are leaking, and our soul-screams must be deafening.


My devotional blog is here.

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Journey to a Korg

Last week, Jerry and I made a flying trip to California–first to San Diego. We visited a couple of hours with Steve and Dearrah, then we trooped over to Andrew’s and on to a Black Angus restaurant where we celebrated Andrew’s 36th birthday. In the evening we drove to Crestline, where the temperature was a very cool 44 degrees. Recall that we have been living in Lake Havasu for several months now, and that only a couple of days before we arrived in Crestline, shivering in the cold, it had been 113 degrees in beautiful Lake Havasu.

Jerry hates to shop, but shop we did while we were out and about; the most exciting thing we bought was a new keyboard for the church. It’s a Korg X-50, and I absolutely love it. (We have been considering the purchase of a keyboard for some time, and have asked several people for recommendations.)It’s a tiny little number, the Korg; I can lift it with one hand, and I have it now in the motorhome, and have explored it’s many sounds using a headset. From playing it so many hours yesterday, my ears were sore this morning when I awoke! Truth! We also bought a Roland 65 watt amplifier-speaker, a bag for the keyboard and a stand. I played the keyboard in church Sunday morning, but dared not wander from one basic organ setting, for there are many wild and wooly sounds that leap from that little machine, and our service would have been in danger of confusion had I thumped on the wrong button.

Take a listen on the link…Musical Journey is a nice selection.

Musicians, tell me now: what do you think of my choice? While we’re talking keyboards, tell me your overall preferences? Why that one? Is it the great piano tones–or the organ sounds—or the strings? Is it price? And besides that—why a keyboard? Why not have a classic acoustic piano and a Hammond organ? Isn’t the “real thing” the best? No? Why? Why not? What about drums? Most people seem to prefer regular, as opposed to digital, drums. What say you?

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Sunday Service, a Dog and Banana Cream Pie

I thought our worship time Sunday morning might have been right up there in the high numbers with services which involve peculiar happenings, but now I believe we have been outdone. As we were well into the Sunday morning happenings, here came one of the new women, who parked her car, went to the passenger side, and took out a large beautiful dog. As she was on her way to church, she had found the obviously lost dog, took it into her car, and proceeded to interrupt our church service, as she tried to open the glass door at the entrance and get the dog inside with her. There was such a commotion that for a few minutes the service was stopped, as various suggestions were offered, one of which was to put the dog in the back room, the problem being that we really don’t have permission to use that room. Finally, Jerry told her to put the dog back in her car, which was parked in full view of the glass windows that make up the front of our building. She stuffed the animal back into the car, slammed the door, came in and seated herself. We started up the service again, to the accompaniment of the lively friendly dog who was now adding to the hilarious, rather non-sacred scene by his loud and frantic barking.

“Everyone, try to ignore the dog,” smiling Pastor addressed the congregation through clenched teeth.

A little later as I glanced to the car from the edge of my eyes, I saw the dog leap through the open car window and disappear down the sidewalk. A bit later, here she/he came back, sniffing around at the church door and trying to get in. It was a deal, I assure you.

But take a note of this tasty item from Fox News. Exceeding us in confusion on Sunday was a church in Colorado Springs.

A Colorado pastor accused of tinkering with church finances got some harsh criticism Sunday in the form of a cream pie.

Rev. Don Armstrong was delivering his 9 a.m. sermon, “Of Christian Love and Charity,” at the Grace Episcopal Church in Colorado Springs, Colo., when 18-year-old Marcus Hyde ran into the church and lobbed a cream pie at the preacher, the Colorado Springs Gazette reports.

“He aimed right at me and would have hit me squarely, but I ducked into the pulpit and it went right over me and onto the floor,” Armstrong wrote to the Gazette. “This poor guy needs to find a more effective [way] to express himself without all the messy resulting complications.”

Armstrong, who is trying to break his congregation away from the Episcopal Church, has been accused of financial misdeeds by the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado, the paper said.

Hyde, who was apprehended by parishioners after a short chase, declined to be interviewed by the Gazette, but his former roommate Garrett Dawson said his friend had been following the Grace church saga.

Read all about it here.


My devotional blog is here.