Camp Meeting Goers Step out for God in Gladstone

By Krissy Barber

July 15 through 19 found “the campgrounds” in Gladstone, Ore. buzzing with the 84th year of Gladstone Camp Meeting. We celebrated the theme Here Am I... basing our seminars and programming on the biblical concept of giving ourselves to God in whatever form we are, and asking Him to use us as He sees best.

The week started out warm actually it was just plain hot–especially for us Northwesterners, who start to feel the heat when the temps rise above 80F. With temperatures in the mid 90s, reminders went out to stay hydrated and to watch for symptoms of heat-related illness. The hydration carts, information in the daily newspaper, announcement slides, and verbal reminders from staff and volunteers all seemed to help, however, and most campers did a great job of staying hydrated and cool.

In the Children’s Amphitheater, the water slide was a popular attraction, as were the misters set up to provide a cooling mist for whoever walked near them. The Snack Shack did rousing business in ice cream, sorbet, smoothies, snow cones, and everything cold. The Juniors, Earliteens, and Youth enjoyed trips to the nearby aquatic park.

Tuesday evening’s first adult meeting started with a bang as Plaza Pavilion speaker, David Asscherick, took to the stage, blessing those listening and watching with his energy and frankness as he spoke about The Covenant God. The crowds grew as the week wore on, with many of the children’s divisions reporting higher than usual numbers.

In the Earliteen division, those at the Friday evening program were invited to dedicate their lives to God. More than 70 earliteens stepped forward and wrote their names on the Wall of Remembrance!

Over in the Sandpiper building, the 7- and 8-year-olds made pillows for refugees in South Sudan, and under cover of the One-Day Church building, the annual Used Book Sale sold over 1,600-inches of used books with proceeds going to Portland Adventist Community Services (PACS).

There also was something rather unusual that happened on campus this year. We seemed to have a dramatic increase in baldness that got more prominent as the week wore on! Age was no discriminator, as both young and old, male and female appeared to have lost their hair during camp meeting. It turns out that these dedicated souls lost their hair for a very important and special reason. They lost it voluntarily in support of one of our own Oregon Conference pastors. You see, pastor Nick Jones wasn’t at camp meeting this year. He spent his camp meeting week in chemotherapy for six hours a day! Pastor Nick has cancer and is facing it head-on, so others decided to show their support by shaving their heads too. By last count, more than 40 people shaved their heads to show Pastor Nick their support!

So many people celebrated this year’s theme in special ways, whether dedicating their lives to God for the first time or renewing their past commitment; showing support for a friend in need, or giving someone a cold drink, each presented themselves and said, “Here am I!” We hope each of you will do the same throughout this year and that we’ll see you again, or maybe for the first time, at Gladstone Camp Meeting next year!