Finding an available place for our camp meeting this year was a challenge for us. Most of the nearby camp sites are fully book for the entire year. The NZ Young People’s leader, Sister Corin Te Kahika, finally found one and suggested that we visit the place. The venue was almost three hours from Auckland, but it was an awesome location.
After coming from the AUC meetings, on January 19, 2017, I responded to an invitation from one of our friends from an independent SDA ministry to attend a camp meeting hosted by their group. This meeting was at the same place that we had booked for our conference to be held on April 18-23, 2017. My visit was great, and I met and talked to several people, some of who had already visited our church in Auckland.
On April 17, five cars and a caravan made their way from Auckland, fully loaded with passengers and goods, to the place of meeting—Lake View Bible Camp, Ngongotaha, Rotorua. Some visitors were already with us for the camp. Once we arrived, everyone helped set up the place for the meetings. On the same day, Brother Paul Chapman arrived from Australia.
Tuesday, April 18, was given to the NZ Field Annual General Meeting and a Church Committee Meeting where Br and Sr Dumaguit were accepted into Auckland Church membership. April 19 was given to final preparations for the opening of the Spiritual Conference. Our camp attendance was small with a limited number of speakers, but it was an awesome time. We chose the theme, “Christ in you, the hope of glory”, with a focus on the family.
The opening message of the Conference was, “God’s Glory in the Family Ministry”. It dealt with the key principles and lessons revealed in the Bible that are a firm basis for the Christian family. They are summarised as follows:
- God is an interactive Being who has made human beings for relationships.
- God established family as His primary setting for human development and care.
- God created human beings as male and female.
- Some individuals will not persevere in marriage, by neglecting the high biblical ideals for marriage and the divine power that is available to enable marital commitment to survive.
- Although marriage is God’s general plan, being single is also a best option for some.
- Physical intimacy is for within marriage.
- Child bearing is an option which married couples who are able choose.
- God’s covenant with His people is the basic principle of family life.
- The results of the Fall: Broken relationships – with God and with fellow humans.
The closing thoughts were –
“Fathers and mothers who make God first in their households, who teach their children that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, glorify God before angels and before men by presenting to the world a well-ordered, well-disciplined family–a family that love and obey God instead of rebelling against Him. Christ is not a stranger in their homes; His name is a household name, revered and glorified. Angels delight in a home where God reigns supreme and the
children are taught to reverence religion, the Bible, and their Creator. Such families can claim the promise, ‘Them that honour Me I will honour.’ As from such a home the father goes forth to his daily duties, it is with a spirit softened and subdued by converse with God.
“The presence of Christ alone can make men and women happy. All the common waters of life Christ can turn into the wine of heaven. The home then becomes as an Eden of bliss; the family, a beautiful symbol of the family in heaven.” (The Adventist Home, pp. 27-28).
April 20, 2017
In the morning, Brother Rolly Dumaguit dealt with the gift of Christ to the marriage feast at Cana. That union was a symbol of what God wants to do to our own marriages. The message was based on John’s Gospel (John 2:1-12), “The Marriage Feast.” During the study, questions that related to marriage, divorce, and re-marriage were also entertained. This presentation closed with this thought –
“The grace of Christ, and this alone, can make this institution what God designed it should be–an agent for the blessing and uplifting of humanity. And thus the families of earth, in their unity and peace and love, may represent the family of heaven.” (Thoughts from the Mount of Blessings, p. 65).
After a break for lunch, Brother Paul Chapman presented the message on “God’s Design for Marriage.” God designed marriage to help meet the manifold needs of men and women in a framework of support, safety, and security. This was a wonderful discussion which all of us enjoyed and fully appreciated. His talk concluded with this reflection from 1 Corinthians 13:4-8:
“Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not conceited, does not act improperly, is not selfish, is not provoked, and does not keep a record of wrongs. Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.”
During a break from the meetings, some of us visited aMAZEme a wholesome recreational centre for families, that included small animal petting, an aviary and a playground. There was also a butterfly house and a beautiful garden with raised garden beds full of fruit, berries and seasonal vegetables. The central feature was a maze formed from winding hedges along 1.4 kilometres of pathways. The children and youth who went had a wonderful time.
April 21, 2017
Everyone was excited as we met to worship together on Friday. This was also a preparation for the Sabbath. Sister Mercy Dumaguit presented the study in the morning on “Keeping the Marriage Healthy.” A saying that “prevention is better than cure” can also be applied to the marriage relationship. “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth” (3 John 1:2). There are simple protective measures that God has given to couples to help maintain a healthy marriage.
We live in an atmosphere that is unfriendly to us physically, spiritually, and relationally. The virus of sin, with its thousands of variations, and the bacteria of selfishness, likewise variable and pervasive, are in the very air we breathe. Marriage, the closest family relationship, is the most vulnerable to relational germs, disease, and death. A carefully crafted strategy is employed with the utmost efficiency by Satan himself to infect every marriage with a fatal disease.
The Bible admonishes us to “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2).
The children and youth had gone to distribute tracts during the morning. They distributed “100 Facts About the Sabbath” and “Why I Am A Vegetarian”–about 800 tracts in all.
The evening worship service shared thoughts from the following Bible verses –
“Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches.” Jeremiah 9:23.
“And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.” Hebrews 9:22.
“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Hebrews 11:6.
“I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” John 15:5.
April 22, 2017
We joined together on this wonderful day. The Divine Service message was on “The Marriage Miracle” and the speaker was Brother Paul Chapman. According to Matthew’s gospel, the “king” had “sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come” (Matthew 22:3).
The provision made in the gospel for perishing souls is represented by a royal feast made by a king, with eastern liberality, on the marriage of his son. Our merciful God has not only provided food, but a royal feast, for the perishing, rebellious creatures. In the gift of salvation through his Son Jesus Christ, there is enough and to spare, of every thing that provides for our present comfort and everlasting happiness.
Many are called to the wedding-feast—to salvation—but few have on the wedding-garment, which is the righteousness of Christ, the sanctification of the Spirit. Then let us examine ourselves whether we are in the faith, and seek to be approved by the King.
Right after the Sabbath lunch, Brother Paul Chapman and Brother Rolly Dumaguit conducted special studies for our visitors on the following interesting subjects:
- The Nature of Christ in the Godhead
- Who is the king of the north? (Papacy or Turkey).
- The four Beasts and the 24 Living Creatures.
- Issues between IMS and SDARM.
The children, youth, and the “once young” joined for a walk amidst the beautiful redwoods in a nearby park. We all praised the Lord that the whole day went well.
April 23, 2017
On the morning of the final day of the Camp, the farewell message was based on Proverbs 22:6 – “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” If we believe that God desires to produce a godly final generation, what should be our part? The duties of Christian parenting are not just for those with children. We are all in this together.
Paul wrote something in Hebrews 11:23 –
“By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king’s commandment.” See the hiding part? The government of Egypt was no friend to believers in God. Far from it. Egypt had embarked on a calculated plan to break the Hebrews. The government decreed murder; newborn male children were to be slaughtered.
What did the Hebrew parents do? What any god-fearing parent would do: they hid the child. We are to hide the child as well. That is, we are to protect the child against dangers and bad influences. God urges us not to be conformed to this world but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:1, 2).
But hiding the child is not the whole picture. Consider Proverbs 6:6-8: “Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.”
We must not only hide our children from danger, but expose them to opportunity. They must, according to their age, be given space to make their own decisions and to learn from their mistakes. We must guide them so that they have learning opportunities.
After packing and cleaning, with rejoicing in our hearts, we bid farewell and headed for home.