“Tonight,” Lloyd declared, “I’m a monkey.”
His sidekick, Chip Kelly, director of the Lay Leadership Development Bureau, came dressed as a lobster.
It was all in good fun and part of a family night at the camp meetings, which started an hour before the official event. A petting zoo, pony rides, face painting, balloon animals, a bouncy house, and a photo booth made for a delightful afternoon.
The Pavilion stage was decorated in a safari theme, and people such as Lloyd and Kelly, dressed in colorful animal costumes, helped to direct the Camp Meeting Kids Chorus in singing lively age–appropriate Gospel songs.
CrossFire Brass performed in imaginative hats on a night that also included a “magic act” from Eli Morgan (with a helping hand from Commissioner Barry C. Swanson, territorial commander, who also donned a hat); video testimonies from the Hands On mission teams; a Scripture presentation by the Camp Meeting Teen Group; and a selection by Summer Brass.
Guest speaker Commissioner Dick Krommenhoek, before delivering a devotional, performed his own “magic trick” by pretending to pull a handkerchief through his ears. He also used a launcher to fire rolled T–shirts into the crowd.
“When you tell children that God loves them, they will remember that for the rest of their lives,” he said, “but we adults, we tend to forget.”
Focusing on Zephaniah 3:17, Krommenhoek said that God sings over each person. “I think He has a song for every one of us,” Krommenhoek said, “a different song.”
He imagined what those songs would be for his wife, Commissioner Vibeke Krommenhoek (“You Are the Sunshine of My Life”) and some people in the audience.
“Don’t forget to keep the song of God’s love in your heart,” he exhorted.
Krommenhoek said when he and his wife were in Kuwait, he heard a story about a teacher who sang “Jesus Loves Me” to his Muslim students. The teacher was surprised when his students knew all the words. He asked how that was possible.
“They said, ‘Our Christian nannies sing that to us.’ They had the song of Jesus in their hearts,” Krommenhoek said.
The night’s focus on children and family fun was a big hit with parents.
Pam Downs, who attends the Bath, Maine, Corps, brought her daughter.
“I think this is awesome,” she said. “This is the best thing I’ve seen them do. It’s great to have some family time.
“This is really nice. They put a lot of time and effort into this.”
Charlie and Bonnie LaFrance, who also attend the Bath, Maine, Corps, brought three of their children and were equally impressed.
“I believe it was a great experience for the kids to see such a big community and fellowship,” Bonnie LaFrance said. “[The Army] just provided such a great opportunity and with open arms.”
When the meeting ended, things got even better, as families were invited to an adjoining tent to enjoy popcorn, snow cones, cotton candy, and other goodies.
“What a great night!” Bandmaster Ronald Waiksnoris said. “It’s the best Tuesday night ever!”
by Robert Mitchell