A 3-day feasting of God’s Word and fellowshipping was fruitfully held during the 4th UAE Camp last February 13-15, 2015 in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Fired up with the theme “Every One a Missionary, Every Man a Mission Field” – Acts 8:4, the Camp was successfully ministered through the presence of Middle-East District Coordinator Bishop Aldrin Palanca, along with guest speakers, Bro. Levi Ferriol, Pastor Sam Ferriol, Pastor Nheng Zonio, Pastor Reynald Sulayao and beloved Bishop Rustico Zonio.
Brethren from the locale churches of Umm Al Qwain, Fujeira, Ajman, Al Ain, Abu Dhabi and Dubai travelled with excitement to One to One Hotel & Resort in Al Ain to celebrate this year’s 4th UAE Camp, the second leg of a series of District Camps in the Middle-East. Upon arrival to the venue, everyone was overwhelmed on how God had rewarded and blessed the venue after the hotel management allowed the church to hold its Camp last 2014. Awed with the renovations and beautifications done in the place, the church did nothing but praise the name of the Lord.
Friday Services was held inside the resort’s Glass Restaurant. The whole place was filled with warming presence of the Holy Spirit as brethren gradually gathered inside to attend the Friday School ministered by Pastor Nheng Zonio. Pastor Nheng delivered and explicitly defined the theme of the Camp which truly prepared the congregation in the spirit of worship.
The worship proper started with the entrance of the church Elders, Lay Workers, Ministers and lastly the partakers of the Divine Worship. Joyful singing headed by the Dubai Praise and Worship Team enlightened the spirit of the congregation that led them to shout their praises and adorations for the Lord’s majesty.
Qatar Locale-Head, Pastor Dick Montemayor led everyone in the opening prayer, while Pastor Andy Pabelico of Bahrain Locale ushered the reading of the Holy Scripture. Dubai Locale-Head, Pastor Elleza Palanca delivered her warm greetings as she welcomed each delegate and minister to the opening of the Camp. A flashback of the 2014 UAE Camp Highlights was also featured through a video presentation which stirred more excitement to the delegates as they look forward to the succeeding activities of this year’s Camp. Bro. Levi Ferriol, brethren from Abu Dhabi Locale and the Dubai Praise Chorale gloriously rendered their songs of praise to God in worship of His name. Pastor Reynald Sulayao exhorted the Message of Blessing, encouraging everyone to manifest one’s love to God by following or obeying His commandments such as giving tithes and offerings generously.
Bishop Aldrin Palanca also took the moment in introducing each guest speaker who graced this year’s UAE Camp, and finally presented to the congregation the keynote speaker, beloved Bishop Rustico Zonio. With his anointed, Bishop Resting moved the church to dedicate themselves to the greatest commission Christ has entrusted to His people, which is to preach the gospel to all men without exempting anyone as this is the main task of every man belonging to God’s sheepfold (Mark 16:15-16). He also shared the truth that it is the will of the Lord for 4th Watchers to scatter abroad as they will be used to reconcile people to God. Bishop Resting further emphasized that apart from sharing the gospel, a Christian must be strong in faith as he also tasked to build a sanctuary for God (1 Chr 28:10).
Right after the worship, the brethren prepared themselves for the opening of the Sportsfest held at the park of the resort. The parade of the 5 competing teams, muses and escorts marked the start of the program. The Sportsfest started with a Mass Demo competition. Each of the five teams from the different locale churches of the UAE did their best cheers, yells and dances to stand up among the others.
The last program of the day was the Ministries Night which took place in the evening. This night opened the doors for the brethren who long for the talents that can be used to magnify the name of the Lord. Pastor Reynald Sulayao excerpted the scripture from James 1:17 that every good and perfect gift is from above, and that the gifts in the church are complete for the very purpose of edifying the saints (1 Cor 1:7-8). As part of the body of Christ, every man who has been entrusted with a gift or ministry should make use of it in the service of the brethren and of the church (1 Pet 4:10).
The first day of the Camp has already loaded everyone with much-needed spiritual and physical blessings, as well as a great experience of fellowship, yet brethren got even more excited and enthusiastic as they anticipate more activities in the coming days.
It was a very exciting morning as the brethren ushered themselves to attend the first morning devotion of the Camp 2015. The message of God delivered by Bro. Levi Ferriol, the minister of San Jose, California Locale perfectly prepared the brethren to commune with God. He emphasized that as dedicated servant of the Lord, each one is obliged to devote them and offer an acceptable service to the Lord as mentioned in Acts 2:42.
During seminar, Bishop Resting Zonio shared the truth that being a missionary is the very will of God as stated in 1 Cor. 14:1 and encouraged the brethren to desire more this spiritual gift of prophesying. At the end of his seminar, he challenged everyone to go forth fearlessly and without any shame in preaching the gospel for the edification of the church and evangelization of lost souls.
In the worship service, Pastor Reynald Sulayao stressed out the essentials of the theme of the Camp 2015 and dug out the deeper meaning of being a missionary. Pastor Reynald exhorted the truth about being in the true church with the right teachings and doctrines, 4th Watcher should then be motivated enough to preach the gospel.
In the afternoon, thrilling and breathtaking games were played by the brethren of five teams. Basketball, volleyball, sack race, relay, and tug wars awakened the brethren physically and filled the place with shout and laughter as the games ended on that day.
The MBS Night is one of the highlights of the day’s event which was designed to refresh the commitment and dedication of the brethren who are in VFCM, AIT and Full-Time ministry. The entourage of partakers, faculty members, VFCMs, AITS and MBS signaled the start of the service. The energetic praise and worship songs were led by Abu Dhabi Locale and UAE Elders offered a magnificent song of praise. The videos of MBS Program and testimonies of brethren who dedicated their lives in the ministry were shown to revive the dedication of the brethren and to encourage others to respond in this highest calling. After Bishop Aldrin presented the brethren of Maranatha Bible School Middle-East Extension, they offered their wonderful song of praise that touched the hearts of many. Bishop Aldrin delivered the Message of God with a great emphasis why entering in the ministry considered as the highest vocation - first, God is the personal employer, next reason is that the ministry is the most noble work, and lastly, the greatest reward awaits for those who will respond. As the service ended, numbers of brethren humbly responded to the calling of God and dedicate themselves in the ministry.
A refreshing sunrise greeted all the brethren on the last and final day of the Camp. To further strengthen their spirits, Campers convened once more in the morning devotion with Pastor Elleza Palanca leading the whole congregation in meditating the message, “The Prayer of a Missionary”.
After the devotion, a seminar by Pastor Sam Ferriol brought the delegates into a better understanding about the “Importance of God’s Word in Our Lives”. Pastor Sam pointed out that the Word of God should penetrate in every believer’s life to bring forth spiritual fruits. As expatriates who have gone overseas to work, Pastor Sam encouraged the brethren to always share or preach the gospel wherever they may go just like what the Christians did in the old times when they had scattered abroad after experiencing persecutions (Acts 8:4).
On the Camp’s last Worship Service, Bishop Aldrin Palanca preached about the message “How a Missionary Work Can Be Done?” With this topic, Bishop Alrin enumerated the ways and the behavior a missionary should possess in doing the mission. Everyone in the sanctuary felt the challenge especially when Bishop Aldrin described and identified a true missionary as someone who will always do witnessing even he travels or moves elsewhere.
Indoor games and literary contests ignited the spirit of fun and camaraderie among the brethren during the afternoon Sportsfest. Cadets did very well during the Shower of Verses, while Kawan Leaders tested their memories in Know the Word Contest, whereas Youths and Adults powerfully showed their knowledge on church doctrines thru the Preaching Contest. Campers were cheering their hearts out for their team mates who were also competing in other games such as arm wrestling, chess, darts, scrabble and boggles. Delegates became more ecstatic and exuberant in the evening as the awarding ceremony took place with Dubai Locale’s Blue Conquerors bagging the 1st place on Mass Demo and the over-all champion for this year’s Sportsfest.
After a blissful awarding ceremony, a solemn Dedication Service followed wherein Bishop Resting Zonio persuaded everyone to pray to God to call and send more workers or missionaries just as it is written in Matthew 9:36-38. He also urged the brethren not to procrastinate in responding to God’s calling, most especially if one is being called to enter the full-time ministry. As an encouragement, Bishop Resting affirmed that there is a great reward from God for someone who will commit their lives to the ministry. At the latter part of the program, more brethren decided to go forward and responded to the calling of God.
Again, it has been a very memorable, fun, spirit-filled and successful Camp! And definitely, the joy in the hearts of every delegate, and the success of the Camp will bring each 4th Watcher in the UAE into a deeper conviction to become a dedicated and fruitful missionary of Christ. (O. dela Cruz, M. Calingasan, P. Lontoc)