On October 25th - 29th, 2023, 42 attendees from across the US came to the 22nd Deaf Eastern Autumn Revival camp meeting at the Mt. Aetna Retreat Center in Hagerstown, MD. The attendees enjoyed the perfect sunny weather with autumn leaves falling at the camp. The theme was “The Third Angel’s Message,” given by a retired interpreter from California, Darrell Strait, along with Amanda Colgan, an Executive Director of 3ADM, who gave a series of Love and Faith in Action workshops.
Darrell Strait started his series by focusing on the mystery woman in the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. In Matthew 26:13 and Mark 26:13, the earliest part of the Gospels, Jesus said, “Wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.” We learned that this story happened before the Passover. An unnamed woman entered the room where Jesus ate with his disciples and anointed Christ’s head with very expensive oil (worth one year's salary). Some of the disciples were upset by her actions and scolded her. Jesus defended her, saying to leave her alone, for she had done everything for Me. And that her faith saved her from her sins.
Interestingly, the Apostles did not preach about this woman in their time, even though Jesus stated that her story would be preached to the world. In Luke 7:36-50 and John 12:1-8, which were written 30 years later, this same woman was labeled as a sinner; instead of Jesus’ head, she wept at His feet, and no mention of “memory of her.” In Luke 7:44, Jesus brought the attention to the woman and explained that her sins were forgiven because she loved Him. Furthermore, this woman called Him Lord in John 8:4, meaning she recognized Him as a Messiah. So who was this woman? The attendees were eager to find out more at the next series.
After a delicious lunch served by the Adventist-owned cafe, Antiox Juice Company, Darrell Strait asked questions about The Big Scandal (Luke 7:36-50), giving a historical context to the story, analyzing the terms in the bible such as “woman” to show respect (John 2:4), and why the Gospel didn’t mention the woman much because all over the Palestine area knew that story.
Through Desire of Ages, page 460, we learned how the woman felt through this humiliating experience when she was caught in her adultery act by the cruel Pharisee who had planned this trap for weeks. Pharisees dragged her to the temple naked and threw her in front of Jesus, expecting that He would fall into a trap into their evil plot. The woman was terror-stricken and about to be stoned to death. But Jesus wrote something on the ground, and one by one, the accusers left. “Her heart was melted, and she cast herself at the feet of Jesus, sobbing out her grateful love and confessing her sins with bitter tears. This was, to her, the beginning of a new life, a life of purity and peace devoted to the service of God.” Comparing ourselves to the woman, we must keep God’s commandments and faith in Jesus, for we could be the next person to disgrace ourselves and the church. We must be like this woman as the most steadfast, self-sacrificing, loving, and devoted follower of Jesus Christ.
On Thursday night, Tina Kelly got a group of 10 together to play Lego Build Bible Verses. The goal is to have the group learn the importance of teamwork and how Bible verse applies to one’s life. Each individual was given a 4” by 6” plastic bag containing pieces of a Lego fire truck, a Bible verse strip, and a Biblical question. The first person gets to read the Bible verse and question-related to that verse and how it applies to our life. After a short discussion, a person then assembles some Lego parts. This procedure continues until the last person who will completely build a fire truck. They learn to work together as a team, helping whoever is struggling with assembling the parts. The group enjoyed playing the game.
Tina Kelly spoke about Isaiah 41:10, that we are not to be afraid as God is with us. There was a missionary family who were trapped in their house between the rebels and loyal troops fighting each other by sending rockets overhead. They were hiding under the stack of mattresses for protection in the center bedroom. They were praying and singing. The parents then felt the presence of God’s angels. Eventually, the family was able to evacuate the next day when the firing ceased. Two years later, a mother spoke to a church group about their night experience, their prayers, and how they felt God’s presence. The pastor stood up, saying that on that very exact day and time, he was given a sermon and felt the urge to stop and pray for her family without knowing that they were trapped in a war. That shows how important it is to pray, especially during a crisis.
Amanda Colgan, with a few others, gave a 3ADM’s Annual Report of its involvement with booths across the US. They commented that it was their busiest year, and the resources were given out to hundreds of people, praying that it planted a seed for each of them. Someday, we will know how many of them have accept Jesus Christ as their savior when He comes. Continue to pray for the Holy Spirit to lead them to Christ. For additional reports, go to 3ADM.org.
Paul Kelly, along with DEAF members, participated in the Lord’s Supper with feet washing, breaking bread, and drinking grape juice in remembrance of Jesus, who died on the cross to save us from sin and death, giving us the hope of everlasting life. Speaking of feet washing, Jesus encouraged us to wash one another feet to help us to be humble and to remain united in spirit. When Peter refused to have his feet washed, He warned Peter that he would not be part of Jesus if he continued to refuse to fully surrender to Him. Bear in mind that it is important to surrender to Jesus daily.
Marion Worrell-More gave morning devotion on how women receive blessings by keeping all of His commandments.
Steven and Farrah Santiago led the Youth program from toddlers to teens, focusing on the Fruit of the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:22-23. The two adorable toddlers were enthralled with bible stories. The children figure out which Fruits matched the bible stories. The tweens and teens wrote down the list of Jesus’ characteristics and compared them to themselves. They wrote their goals on improving one Fruit at a time.
Earnest Sigamoney led the Sabbath School lesson four that focuses on Abraham: A Witness for God in Genesis 18:1-33 and Genesis 19:1-29. He used the PowerPoint Presentation to include visual images and Bible verses that are helpful to all adults. He summarized the three critical things that Abraham did in his life: Show hospitality to his guests, Love for sinners, and Pray for them. Also, he showed the similarities between Abraham’s behaviors and Lot’s in these things. During the lesson, some adults had the opportunity to think, discuss, and answer based on their experiences when he asked them some reflective questions. Before the lesson's closing, Josiah Kelly showed the Expedition Bible on YouTube and briefly explained the Sulfur Balls of Sodom and Gomorrah. Fascinating fact!
The DEAF led the worshipping service with inspiring
songs, prayers, and scripture readings. Monica Kelly shared what the horn would sound like. Imagine thousands of horns blasting when Jesus comes!
Darrell Strait gave the final series of his seminars: 144,000 Mirror Mary. They will be going through the greatest spiritual battle, both mentally and physically, that none before ever experienced. They will sing a special song no one will know (Revelation 14:3). We look forward to hearing this song with our ears when Jesus comes.
The 3ADM Board of Directors gave a special recognition to Bruce Buzzel, a valuable board member and a former Chairperson for 20 years. He was pleasantly surprised to have gotten it. To learn more about his service for 3ADM, go to the 3ADM's newsletter.
After having a stuffed lunch, a group of us went on a strenuous hike up to the Black Rock Vista to see the beautiful view. Zakeriah Reynoso, age 7, hopped from rock to rock like a goat, which made us eager to keep going.
Those who stayed at the camp visited the nature center to see the status of animals from Africa and learn about different types of beautiful birds on display. They enjoyed taking pictures of the gorgeous fall weather. They watched a video about the Wonders of Nature with closed captions. A couple more people came to visit to see old and new friends. Others took the chance to get a wellness nap from their hardworking life.
Later, after dinner, Farrah Santiago, Marion Worrell-More, and Catherine Langan led the fun song “He’s above, below, before, behind, and around me” with the attendees.
Bruce Buzzell explained how we should wrap up our Sabbath: hurry to close the sabbath to enjoy our worldly things OR continue to meditate on God’s plan for us for the following week.
We ended the camp with delicious vegan s’mores at the bonfire with a bright, full moon shining.
Paul Kelly led the morning devotion about our characters radiating from within, especially that Jesus called us to be the light of the world (Matthew 5:14). Everyone left with a revived spirit and planned to spread the Gospel as Jesus would be coming sooner than you think.
Special Thanks to:
Many thanks to Sheelah Kimbrough for planning and directing DEAR camp meetings!
Many thanks to Neill Bridge for directing livestreaming for those who couldn't come to DEAR.
Many thanks to the attendees who shared their photos and helped write this article: Earnest Sigamoney, Josiah Kelly, Paul Kelly, Beth Dobson, Steven Santiago, and Farrah Santiago.
To learn more about the seminars, watch the archived livestream on our website: www.deafellowship.org. Start planning to attend our 23rd camp meeting next year in October 2024! Keep an eye on our website for the dates.