On the 2nd week of the month-long Middle East camp & after a successful KSA Camp, the UAE brethren took its turn for their 3-day Camp from February 21-23. This gathering sparked so much excitement to the campers because of the venue God has prepared for them – at One to One Resort in Al Ain. The resort is surrounded with lush greens and rocky mountains of Jebel Hafeet, a picturesque view for the brethren who yearn to commune with God. And the best of all, the Word of God was generously served by some of the best men of God, headed by the Overseer of Visayas, Mindanao and the Middle-East, beloved Bishop Arturo Ferriol, Middle East District Coordinator Bishop Aldrin Palanca along with the Coordinator of Ilocos & Benguet Pastor Reynald Sulayao, Hawaii Coordinator Pastor Gali Concepcion.
As early as Thursday night, February 20, 2014, brethren from Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Dubai Locale churches drove themselves to the site for an early check-in and to prepare for the service on the next day.
A sunny yet cold weather greeted the campers the following morning, a perfect condition to start the first day of the Camp with a Worship Service. Prior to the service, all UAE ministers and honored guest-speakers were welcomed on a red-carpet by thrilled brethren. Hundreds of campers and worshippers gradually assembled inside the Glass Restaurant of the resort. The place was filled with excitement as Pastor Elleza Palanca, Dubai Locale-Head, relayed her warm greetings welcoming everyone to the 3rd UAE Camp.
Apart from songs of praise rendered to God by different local brethren, a look back of the highlights and happenings of last year’s 2013 UAE Camp was also featured through a video presentation in the middle of the service. The very essence of the Worship Service was of course the meditation of God’s Word which was ministered by beloved Bishop Arturo Ferriol. Relating to the Camp’s theme, Bishop Art encouraged the brethren to not only perform Personal Evangelism, but to attain it as lifestyle or vocation.
After the Worship Service, 5 competing teams geared-up for the opening of Sportsfest 2014 which took place at the resort’s park. The ceremony set off with the entrance of colors, judges and partakers. Lighting of the torch, sportsmanship oath and remarks of Bishop Art Ferriol signified the start of the different competitions, from presentation of muses and escorts to the mass demonstrations of each team.
At night, the campers gathered again for a solemn Prayer Marathon Service in which Pastor Reynald Sulayao resided as the speaker. As the first day of the camp ended, brethren offered their fervent prayers to the Lord and committed themselves even more for the 3-day camp services.
As the brethren could not get enough of the spiritual blessings prepared for this 3-day Camp, the 2nd day started with intimate prayers during the early morning devotion just as a 4th Watcher life should be. On the meditation of God’s Word, Pastor Galli Concepcion enumerated several points on “How to Become Effective in Doing Personal Evangelism”. He also gave importance on the huge role of prayer in performing the PE ministry.
A very lively and cheerful Praise and Worship was led by the Al Ain Locale to start off the services for Seminars 1 and 2. Bishop Aldrin Palanca, on Seminar 1, discussed “How Can We Be Committed to Personal Evangelism”. Bishop Aldrin cited beloved Apostle Arsenio Ferriol as an example of a life committed to the last program of the end-time church. Bishop Art Ferriol, on Seminar 2, discussed about “The Plan of God to Man”. The Bishop mentioned that the perfect plan of God to His people is for them to obtain faith, serve Him and ultimately find everlasting life with Him.
The games continued in the afternoon pursuing sack race, relay games, tug of war and amazing race as the brethren showcased their God-given intellect and strength combined. But prior to these outdoor games, several brethren took some moment to enjoy the boat-ride, an added and free amenity offered by the resort management to the campers.
The Divine Worship in the evening was themed “Soul Winners Night”. A video presentation was played illustrating how Personal Evangelism is being done globally and how vast its results have reached since the Goodman of the House spearheaded the last program of the church. Bishop Art Ferriol explained how evangelism is the greatest work, on his sermon entitled “The Greatest Work with the Greatest Reward”. Rationales such as (1) Bringing souls to righteousness will make you shine like stars (Daniel 12:3), (2) Soul winning is doing the greatest good to a man (Jude 1:23), (3) Evangelizing is doing yourself the greatest good (1 Tim 4:16) were pointed out and explained clearly encouraging everyone to dedicate their lives much more than they used to. Awarding of the Most Outstanding UAE Soul Winners 2014 was held right after the sermon to acknowledge the extra effort of the brethren who embraced the ministry of soul winning.
The final day commenced with a spirit-filled morning devotion with Pastor Reynald Sulayao leading the congregation in pondering the Message of God before kneeling. He tackled the important must-possessed characteristics of a believer that would define him as committed in apostolic personal evangelism. Everyone got to check themselves if they have the zeal and love for the unsaved souls, if they are always ready to carry out personal evangelism or if they are bold enough as they do the PE. Finally, the importance of love and the urgency of the mission were reiterated by the beloved pastor. It was then followed by the first seminar for the day powerfully delivered by Pastor Galli Concepcion who taught the proper behaviours and attitude in doing Personal Evangelism. Everyone realized that performing Personal Evangelism is tantamount to proclaiming one’s faith in God. The morning message was then completed by Bishop Art in his Seminar 2 as he talked about the Church and its importance to God. The message of God once again led the campers to reflect on the truth that their lives must be worthy in all aspects because the church is of Christ’s.
In the afternoon, oral and literary contests such as Cadets' Shower of Verses, Know The Word, Bible Quiz and Preaching Contest (Members and Kawan Leaders category) were held in the worship hall. The preaching contest was judged by Bishop Aldrin, Pastor Galli and Pastor Reynald. Simultaneously, the campers were enjoying outdoor sports such as basketball, volleyball and dart. Table games like chess, word factory and scrabble were also some of the campers’ favorites.
7PM- it was time for the MBS students and AIT to march down the aisle to mark the start of the MBS and Dedication Night. Once more, beloved Bishop Art Ferriol challenged all the campers to boldly dedicate their lives to the vast ministries of the church, most especially to the full-time ministry. In his preaching, Bishop Art described the identity and personality of a person who could respond to God’s calling. The altar call took place thereafter in which tens of brethren knelt down as they were prayed-over by the ministers for their decision to become AITs and bible students.
After an emotional dedication, campers broke into excitement as the awarding ceremony followed. Two new recognitions were given this year namely- the Mahanaen Award for those first-time campers who were able to attend all the activities in the camp, and the Mahanaen Afficionado Award which regonizes those brethren who have attended the three consecutive camps and patiently completed all the services. Blue team bagged the first place for the highlight of the sportsfest, the Mass Demo, followed by the green team and then Orange team. The overall champion for the 3rd UAE CAMP Sportsfest is the Orange team from the local church of Abu Dhabi. They were also the overall champion during last year Camp's Sportsfest.
As the camp drew to conclusion, the hearts of the campers were genuinely filled with spiritual joy. The scenic place of Al Ain, the thrilling actions on the Sportsfest, the very challenging Oral & Literary Contests, and of course, the uplifting Messages of God through His powerful ministers have all made the 3rd UAE Camp very memorable, enjoyable and exceedingly blessed, to God be the glory!