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Camp Meeting Memories for a Lifetime

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Would you invest in a week to spend with your family if you knew the spiritual dividends could last a lifetime? We invest in weekly church attendance, even twice with prayer meeting, and even more with our church offices and responsibilities. But one of the best investments families can make is in each other. What better time to invest in your family than during summer camp meetings?

 “Some of my best childhood memories are from attending camp meeting,” is a phrase you hear often from adults who attend Oklahoma camp meeting. “Now I want my children/grandchildren to have the same experiences I had, so I am bringing them here.” At Oklahoma’s camp meeting, you can stay in a tent or an RV (even nearby hotels), go swimming, ride horses, go canoeing, visit a top-notch nature center, eat snow cones and last but not least, hear applicable spiritual encouragement several times a day! The price? Nominal compared to most vacations, and priceless when you consider the return on investment of strengthening your family’s faith.

One of the many blessings of camp meeting is hearing your favorite speakers from 3ABN, It Is Written, Amazing Facts, and other well-known programming, live! Many church college professors, music artists, physicians, psychologists and other experts present seminars with material you can take home at a discounted rate from the on-site Adventist Book Center. The knowledge gleaned at camp meeting can then be shared when you return to your homes and churches. Re-playing speaker presentations on DVDs is a wonderful gesture for those couldn’t attend camp meeting, and those who are homebound. In this way, the spiritual impact has a ripple effect from your family to your church family, friends, neighbors and co-workers.

In the Oklahoma youth departments, pastoral teams bring biblical stories to life and lots of fun activities from the flagpole to the classroom and back.  From newborn to young adult, active and relevant spiritual lessons are taught in ways that encourage talking to Jesus and sharing Him. Teenagers often get to help lead with song service by singing or playing their instruments. They even get up early to meet with the pastors for a meeting held at 7:30 a.m. because it’s just that good!

Another blessing of attending camp meeting is reconnecting with friends and church members from across the state, and often state lines. For youth, this is very important; they text ahead to be sure their friends will be there! For adults, it’s a time to catch up on friendships and make new friends from other churches. It’s also one of the few times you’ll see pastors in jeans and no ties, enjoying their own church members and friends in a less formal environment than church. You can even stop by the office to meet your conference staff.

Sadly, many families do not equate camp meeting with quality family time as they would a vacation in a secular environment. Staying on a camp ground soaking up dust and drinking in the auditorium air conditioning for up to 10 days does take fortitude, but it is possible, and blessings abound even with a shorter stay. Remember that camp meeting is for families; it has spiritual impact; it instills love for God and church in youth; it connects church members and pastors; and it helps families strengthen their faith. Try investing in your family in a God-centered environment and experience the joy of a summer family faith adventure.

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