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!