To be honest, some were just a little bit worried about this year’s camp meetings — both Spanish and English-language.
It had been three years since the last camp meeting — enough time for plumbing and electrical systems to develop all kinds of glitches.
Then there was the 2021 ice storm that wiped-out the campus WiFi, then the big tents arrived late.
"We usually have 400 to 500 volunteers," said Kerry Nelson, director of Locations. "This year, we had 300."
Some wondered if anyone would show up. "We didn’t know if the church members would be willing to come back after the pandemic," said David Paczka, Hispanic Ministries director. "Many are used to watching it on-screen; others could be afraid of getting COVID-19."
“We didn’t know what to expect,” added Randy Hill, this year's camp meeting coordinator. “That was our biggest challenge.”
AN INCREDIBLE GROUP
Seth Cantu, pastor, pointed out, "God doesn’t just show up in the good times." So, if the challenge was great, then God was greater!
“Our biggest blessing,” said Macy Weir, pastor, “has been a brand-new team of pastors and volunteers who are willing to dive in and roll with the punches.”
“We have an incredible group of young pastors,” agreed Gary Parks, camp superintendent.
Cool weather meant there was no corn for Friday’s social, so they found a way to roast 3,000 potatoes instead.
Due to company staffing shortages, the Plaza Pavilion tent wasn’t set up in time, so they found a way to have the first night of Spanish-language camp meeting in the Holden Convention Center.
Little by little, God showed the teams how to solve problems, answer questions and meet challenges.
“This year, just having camp meeting was an example of God at work," said Matt Ballard, grounds manager.
POWER AND PRESENCE
“Our goal for Oregon camp meeting was that everybody who came would experience what it means to live in the power and presence of the Holy Spirit,” said Dan Linrud, Oregon Conference president.
God certainly was working at our camp meetings. He was working through the 16 teens who decided to get baptized. He was working through the eight Hispanic churches who all joined to lead worship.
He was working through the children who made 500 snack-packs for a local school’s summer meal program. He was working through the dozens of young adults who fanned out across Gladstone to pull weeds and paint-over graffiti.
He was also working through Richie Halversen, Randy Maxwell, Kevin Wilfley and many others as they all led worship, gave seminars and preached sermons.
For those working during camp meeting, this year's theme was especially relevant. The theme, Living in the Power and Presence of the Holy Spirit, meant learning to trust Him with all the unknowns and things that might go wrong.