ELIM HEIGHTS YOUTH CAMP – 9-13 June 2016
“Deliverance – Free at Last”
Praise God once again for another opportunity to attend the wonderful NSW Spiritual Conference where we could gather together in fellowship in the midst of the peaceful bushland of Elim Heights Youth Camp to commune with God and learn of Him and see our missionary students graduate.
Our camp meeting this year held a different format in that there were two separate programs: one for the adults and one for our young people! On Sabbath we came together for the Young People’s meeting and for the Graduation study and ceremony. All in all it was very good.
Additionally, it was quite nice to open our conference for 2016 on a Thursday evening after the evening meal which gave everyone the opportunity to start the camp in a relaxed manner.
Brother Peter Lausevic officially opened the camp and Br. Domenic Polistina presented from Psalm 116:16 the subject of “Deliverance”, in line with the theme of our camp, “Deliverance Free at Last”. This was the beginning of many well-presented studies concerning this vital truth that is so necessary in our everyday Christian experience. Something that caught my attention during the study on “Deliverance” was the concept that not only is God’s forgiveness the remission of past sins, it is also the power of God to transform our lives.
Friday morning, we had prayer bands with Br. Miguel Mendoza leading out. This was a regular feature before our morning worship. Br. Cameron Thiel took the morning worship entitled “Deliverance from Ruin”. It was a well-presented systematic Bible study revealing “the grievous character of sins” (See Christian Education, p. 112). “Fear of death… subject to bondage.” (See Hebrews 2:15). God knows how to deliver from temptation (see 2 Peter 2:9). Warning to sinners (see Ezekiel 18:30; 3:21). And “our love to Christ will be in proportion…” to the depth of conviction of sin (see Signs of the Times, July 21, 1890).
After breakfast we had the opportunity to pick one of three presentations with workshops. They were:
- Group 1: “Deliverance from False Doctrines” with Br Benjamin Fuenzalida
- Group 2: “Deliverance from Evil Snares” with Sister Roxanne Fountain
- Group 3: “Deliverance from Satan’s Spell” with Br. Abraham Dumaguit
Two sessions were made available. One from 9:00-10:30am, and the other at 11:00-12:30pm. Br. Abraham Dumaguit, beginning with Psalm 24:3-4, showed us the need for watchfulness and prayer in guarding our senses; he focused more on sight and how we should guard against the spell of Satan, in particular through multimedia. For our workshop we divided into groups and were assigned topics to discuss concerning the ways we can be tempted through our regular five senses.
Brother Benjamin Fuenzalida took “Deliverance from False Doctrines” with the opening Scripture from Matthew 5:2. Benji divided us into three groups for the workshop, giving each group a passage of Scripture to read; and from that we were to discuss the dangers of false doctrine and then present our conclusion before the whole group. It really was a great exercise and was eye opening as well.
Because there were only two time sessions available, it wasn’t possible to attend all three presentations. Sister Roxanne Fountain presented the third session, “Deliverance from Evil Snares.”
After lunch we made preparations for Sabbath and opened the Sabbath with Sister Daniela Balarezo’s presentation, “Sign of Deliverance from Egypt”. Sr. Daniela asked us, “What is the sign of the deliverance from Egypt… are you ready?” The answer is the Sabbath! (See Exodus 31:13). Amazing! How important is the Sabbath?! And not only that, we also learnt from Genesis 2:15, “And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.” The word “put” means rest and “Eden” means pleasure. So I think, “how nice it is to rest in pleasure… in knowing God”!
We then had our evening meal. I can say from beginning to end all the meals were very good. Of course those involved put in a lot of hard work, which was very much appreciated!
The evening presentation by Brother Miguel Mendoza was “Deliverance from Sinful Propensities”, opening with Psalm 51:10. We were shown from Steps to Christ, p. 60, “All that man can do without Christ is polluted with selfishness and sin.” And from Psalm 51:1-10, Br. Miguel led us through three steps to overcome sinful propensities.
- Step 1: Verses 1-4. Acknowledge our sinful propensities (see 1 John 1:9).
- Step 2: Verses 5-7. Ask for cleansing from sinful propensities. “Ask and ye shall receive.”
- Step 3: Verses 8-10. Ask God to create a clean heart within us. From Maranatha, p. 225, “we need not retain one sinful propensity.”
Sabbath morning Br Miguel opened the prayer band with 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18 and Br. Jared Chapman for our morning worship presented “Deliverance from Disease”, introducing ‘The Physical Infection’, ‘The Origin of Disease’, which showed the beginning of sin that results in death. The study concluded with ‘The Cure’, a pure heart.
Breakfast followed, and we returned for Sabbath School having our review lesson and then being divided into three adult classes for the lesson. The youth attended their own program. There was an estimated number of 260 precious souls that attended on Sabbath.
For Divine Service, Br. Paul Chapman, our AUC president, presented “Unquenchable Truths”. Reading initially from John 17:17, Br. Paul drew out the importance of truth, placing quite a strong emphasis on present truth, which is a testing truth, and our salvation, because salvation is truth in season and present truth. This present truth is the third angel’s message that will guard us because “In the future deception of every kind is to arise…” (see RH, May 25, 1905). However, God’s messenger “…saw a company standing well-guarded and firm.” (see Early Writings, p.258), for “we have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us, and His teaching in our past history.” Life Sketches, p. 196.
Lunch time came, and we were able to gather and eat together.
Brothers Larry Ah-ching, Nathan Wiseman and Sister Nadine Polistina led out in our Young People’s Meeting entitled, “These Obtained the Victory”. Many nice items were presented both by instrument and song along with words of encouragement for us all.
We had time for a break before the Graduation Study, “Conquering and to Conquer”, taken by Brother Nathan Tyler, encouraging us with the illustration of Alexander the Great and his determination in achieving his conquests. We, too, in our Christian life may exercise a firm purpose in ‘Conquering and to Conquer’.
We closed Sabbath and took the blessing of those sacred hours with us as our missionary students, whom we had all grown to love, finally graduated! Sighs of relief, no doubt. Congratulations to all concerned. Well done! We are very proud of you and wish you every success for the future as you serve God in your appointed lot. It was nice to see fifteen smiling faces. Some were called into the organised work. Praise God for that! Our prayers are with you all. A photo session followed and then the evening meal of waffles, pancakes, maple syrup and fruit, Yummmm…
Sunday morning we arose to another action-packed day with prayer bands and morning worship with Sister Wendy Flores presenting “Deliverance from Human Impulse” based on James 1:14. This was another important study teaching that by obedience to God, placing our will on the side of Christ, we are delivered from impulse (See Mind, Character, and Personality, p. 123).
We made our way to breakfast and at 9:00am had another presentation and workshop, this time with four groups:
- Group 1: Deliverance from Self – Br. Serban Ionita
- Group 2: Deliverance from Uncertainty – Br. Jordan Chapman
- Group 3: Deliverance from Negative Emotions – Sr. Elisabeth Balarezo
- Group 4: Deliverance from Evil Habits – Br. Douglas Thirkettle
Jordan Chapman gave a very powerful presentation on ‘Deliverance from Uncertainty’.
At 11:00am we had the ordination of our dear Brother Larry Ah-ching conducted by Brethren Peter Lausevic, A. C. Sas, Paul Chapman and Nathan Tyler. Br. Peter presented the importance of an elder in the church and the qualifications needed. It was a very happy and solemn occasion for Br. Larry and his family and the congregation. It was quite moving as Br. Sas with solemn words of exhortation shook hands with Br. Larry.
After the service we proceeded to lunch, followed by the afternoon activities. Br. Larry and Sr. Tanya with friends organised something along the lines of an amazing race for the young people which was enjoyed by all, including the spectators.
Br. Jade Wales presented the study, “Final Deliverance”, after the evening meal and for the close of the conference. It focused on final deliverance from evil that affects our world today.
The Young People’s Department hosted a program just after that. They presented “Patterns of Evidence: Exodus”, a 2015 history/documentary film about new archaeological findings and theories believed to be relevant to the Biblical story of the Exodus of the Hebrew slaves from Egypt depicted in the book of Exodus.
Monday morning arrived all too soon as we attended prayer bands and the blessing received in fellowship together. Br. Cameron Thiel took the morning worship presenting for the second time his presentation “Deliverance from Ruin” to which I paid special attention as I believe God was leading. From this same study I received the instruction to be decided in my Christian experience, to guard my thoughts, speech and actions. Christ is my righteousness and God loves me. He taught us to turn from sin to holiness and to love God.
We then had our breakfast and, not to forget, from our newly renovated kitchen! Looks great Robin! Keep up the good work. From there we cleaned up and departed to our separate ways.
May God help us that one day soon we may all be together with Him throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity where there will be no more departures.
~ Reported by Brother Craig Cunningham