Another mark in the history of faith for the UAE brethren was made when the 1st UAE Camp was held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates from February 3–5, 2012. It's theme was “Empowered Life for Effective Global Evangelism,” lifted from Acts 1:8. This event was graced by North America District Coordinator Pastor Jonathan Ferriol, along with his wife, Pastor Thess Ferriol. This 3-day gathering served as a time for spiritual empowerment and fellowship among all brethren.
DAY 1:Participating brethren and visitors were warmly welcomed to a worship service at the Philadelphia Private School to mark the first day of the camp. The Shebaniah praise and worship team led the joyous singing as Pastor Elleza Palanca, Dubai Head Pastor, formally welcomed all the campers. Pastor Thess Ferriol delivered the offertory message where she identified the truths and misconceptions in giving tithes and offerings. Gilead Area Coordinator, Pastor Aldrin Palanca, prepared the congregation in receiving God’s Word as he introduced the coordinator in Mizpah District, Pastor Jonathan Ferriol. During the message, Pastor Jonathan shared the four ways on how to be an empowered and an effective missionary of God. These are through supernatural, relational, doctrinal, and lifestyle empowerment. With these significant points, he challenged the believers to be more active in sharing the gospel of Christ.
After the worship service, the brethren prepared themselves for the opening of sports fest 2012. The program began with the entrance of colors, judges, and partakers led by Pastor Aldrin and Elleza Palanca, and Abu Dhabi locale in-charge, Pastor Evan Montemayor. After the lighting of torch and the sportsmanship oath taking, Pastor Aldrin gave his word of blessing to formally open the Sportsfest 2012. The brethren showcased their talents when the five teams - Red, Orange, Yellow, Blue and Violet showed their breathtaking stunts and moves during the cheering competition. The game proper started with “palarong Pinoy” and others like tug of war, relay, sack race, and arm wrestling. The brethren gave their best effort in trying to win each game. Everybody enjoyed the first day of the camp and anticipated the other activities in the succeeding days.
DAY 2:The second day of the Camp started with a dedication to the Lord through a morning devotion ministered by Pastor Evan Montemayor. A seminar followed breakfast, where Pastor Thess Ferriol discussed the topic, “We Are Called to Witness.” She also enumerated and detailed the Do’s and Don’ts in evangelism. On Seminar 2, Pastor Aldrin Palanca stressed that the work of evangelism is not a one-day activity as the gospel has to be preached throughout the world. He also pointed out the important things that God has prepared for all witnesses in order to have a powerful life which is appropriate for the mission. On the second day of worship, Pastor Jonathan ministered the topic “A Life Empowered by Grace,” a vital step of biblical empowerment to live a life of obedience. Referring to 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, he stated that God’s sufficient grace has the power to help us overcome our weaknesses.
After the worship service, day 2 of the sports fest continued as brethren proceeded to the Gulf News Gymnasium and participated in the scheduled ball games and board games. All five teams exhibited enthusiasm and sportsmanship in playing chess, darts, word factory, scrabble, volleyball, and basketball. When the day ended, they eagerly anticipated what is in store for them on the 3rd and last day of the Camp. They expected it to be more fruitful, as everyone have already witnessed God’s outpouring of blessings on the first two days of the event.
DAY 3: Pastor Elleza Palanca led the brethren in communing with God in the morning devotion with the message, “The Role of Prayer in Effective Global Evangelism.” After a short breakfast, the congregation was once again taught and enlightened in the seminar of Pastor Jonathan entitled, “The Blueprint of Effective Global Evangelism.” He explained that the work of evangelism is the most delicate, sensitive, and sacred as one deals with a man’s soul and eternity. Thus, evangelism has to be done in the wisest and effective way possible. The third day of worship service was once again presided by Pastor Jonathan. His message was entitled “Empowered by Faith.” Pastor Jonathan stressed that faith is the power that overcomes the world and this type of faith could be acquired through the teachings and doctrines of Christ given to His apostles. He further mentioned that this faith involves a heart ready to surrender, to submit and to obey.
In the afternoon, participants from all over UAE enjoyed the literary contests as they witnessed how God has quipped the church with wisdom. The Know the Word contest for the elders served as a refresher for them. Bro. Joseph Asuncion clinched the 1st place. Bible Quiz was hosted by Bro. Rey Changco who is in charge of Al Ain. Sis. Trisha, also from Al Ain locale, garnered the top spot. Bro. Doming Tan hosted the final event, Preaching Contest, which was participated by qualified kawan leaders. Pre-MBS Bro. Melanio Onde came out as the best preacher among the six contenders.
Dedication Night & Awarding
One of the highlights of this spiritual gathering was the Deication Service which was carried through on the last night of the camp. The Shebaniah Praise and Worship team once again led the campers to praise and worship God. The stage was packed with tambourine dancers back-up singers and even the pit choir which ushered the campers to bring utmost praises unto our God. The heart of Dedication Service, which is the message of God, was delivered by Pastor Jonathan Ferriol. He recapitulated his previous messages, "Empowered by Grace" and "Empowered by Faith" and focus on the third empowering tool of God which is "Love". A paper which lists recurrent weakness and frailties was prepared by campers and were burned to ashes as a symbolical ritual of ending infirmities as God is a Consuming fire. The Prayer Partner program was then launched to encourage everyone to pray for his partner at least once in a day. The last part of the program was the awarding ceremony for the Sportsfest 2012 which was administered Pastor Aldrin and Pastor Elleza Palanca together with the guest speakers. The most awaited result was the cheerdance competition and it was rightfully received by the Violet team of Al Ain. The overall champion for this year’s Sportfest is the Violet team! The gladness in each camper's heart was deeply felt as they were not only strengthened in their physiques but their spirits were tremendously blessed as well. The Lord has been truly glorified for the success of this first UAE Camp.