Maranatha Media

My Camp Meeting Experience (Tabernacles at Mt. Balatukan)


This was the theme of this year’s Philippine Medical Missionary Summit 2022 (PMMS) held in Mt. Balatukan Scout Camp, Sitio San Isidro, Lunotan, Gingoog City, Mindanao. It was held October 9-17, a nine day camp-meeting at an appointed time: a ‘Feast of Tabernacle’, or a feast of ingathering as the pioneers called it. The local churches and ministries that attended the camp-meeting were from Gingoog City, Agusan Del Norte, Davao, Bukidnon, General Santos City, Iligan City, Negros, Bohol and Cavite. Moreover, according to the Elders there were many first time attendeed at this camp-meeting, with a total of around 250-300 participants.

I was at the foot of Mt. Balatukan, a 28 kilometer distance from the city of Gingoog, but it seemed like I was at the peak because by night the city lights were seen from where I was. I woke up in the morning with an immense gratefulness to our heavenly Father for the beauty and greatness my eyes beheld: the forested majestic mountain covered with green green grasses and unique trees I’ve never seen before. The water was so cool and fresh to drink. The cool air blew by, chilling my whole body, but the nearness of God speaking through nature was a warm comfort to my soul. I would say that it was a perfect spot for praying, meditating, and studying the word of God.

We, the Castor family, were in the scout camp three days ahead of the event to prepare the program. Our Father was so good and gracious to arrange everything for us, especially in our travel going to the camp. We were fetched by the Jomen family’s ‘Bonggo Truck’, which was also used in fetching other local ministries who didn’t have a vehicle for travel. We and all the other local ministries brought food we grew as tithes (fitting the harvest theme of the feast), including coconuts, bananas, vegetables etc. Each ministry had their tents set up around the area of the worship gathering hall. I felt like I was living in ancient times of Abraham :)

I was amazed at how our Father is working in every camp-meeting we have, with all the providences without much money spent and everyone economizing. What impressed me more, coming from a city dweller to the country, is the life of simplicity in Christ where faith really is exercised. I am so blessed and enjoying the life I have right now, together with my castor family and other families who do mission work as well, without any worries about tomorrow because we truly believed that the God we serve is real.

Prior to the event proper our faith was tested, especially the faith of the Jomen family who hosted the event. We thought that we were the only ones who had booked an event in the scout camp, because the caretaker told us that there had been a booking, but it had been cancelled. But what happened instead was that it became a double booking! They came, and they had the same date we had with our program for nine days. They were College Researchers of Amphibians and Reptiles, and they were to perform a ritual in the camp. Since the camp was fully booked for us, I saw how prayerful Sister Juve, the wife of Jong Jomen, was while we were in the kitchen talking about the matter. We were there with her uplifting each other as to how we are to show forth the ‘Glory’ of God.

I saw the calmness of the voice and countenance of Sister Juve while talking with one of the professors. I overheard her trying to pray with them as to how this will be settled, but the college professor refused to pray and with a high tone of voice demanded an immediate solution to the problem. Thank God, Jong and Juve kept their cool. They handled the situation smoothly without any spot seen on their faces. I was amazed at how God enshrouded the husband and wife with His glory. It is because they were really prayerful and had faith that Jesus would handle the situation. Praise God indeed! Jong and Juve were so open to us and to the other local ministries. I thank God that everyone supported the host family. The local ministries who had their books in the other building gave their share to the researchers. Even if it was raining, I saw how everyone humbled themselves and were so patient with the situation. What the host family did was they provided a tent area for those who didn’t have rooms.

What I was perceiving at that moment in the camp-meeting was, “Could it be a battle of two worshippers?” “Could it be Elijah vs. the worshippers of Baal?” But I thank God that the situation for nine days was calm and the researchers respected our worship, as they were aware of our advocacy ("The advocay that made a positive impact on them is our emphasis on non-violence through our portrayal of the glory(character) of God, showed to them by not retaliating and instead being accomomodating to them without condemnation despite of the situation. They were also touched by practical Christian living in eating, drinking and dressing, and healthy lifestyle that was being taught to them."). So, we mingled with them by sharing healthy foods and shared the books from through the Silent Messengers Ministry of Brother Richard Robison. The military who were also there with us were blessed by the books we shared.

When the event proper started on the ninth day of October, during our morning devotional, Brother Jessmar gave a message on the Holy Spirit which is an agency and office of Christ.

In describing to his disciples the office work of the Holy Spirit, Jesus sought to inspire them with the joy and hope that inspired His own heart… overcome only through the mighty agency of the third person of the Godhead… Through the Spirit the believer becomes a partaker of the divine nature. Christ has given His Spirit as a divine power to overcome all hereditary and cultivated tendencies to evil, and to impress His own character upon His church. DA 671.2

I was blessed by the message which explains that angels and human were agents of the Holy Spirit.

Christ, our Mediator, is the one who gives the Holy Spirit… A measure of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. Through the ministry of the angels, the Holy Spirit is enabled to work upon the mind and heart of the human agent… through the agency of the Holy Spirit, man becomes the agent through which souls are brought into the kingdom of heaven. YI, July 5, 1894 par. 5, 6

The church of Christ, every individual disciple of the Master, is heaven’s appointed channel for the revelation of God to men. Angels of glory wait to communicate through you heaven’s light and power to souls that are ready to perish. Shall the human agent fail of accomplishing his appointed work? Oh, then to that degree is the world robbed of the promised influence of the Holy Spirit! Mount of Blessing 40.2

I heard this message prior to the camp-meeting by Sister Tintin when she visited us in RTR months ago, but it didn’t impact me as much that time. But now, maybe because it was during the camp-meeting,  I was comforted. I looked behind where I sat and saw Sister Tintin, and we smiled to each other and after the morning devotional we were joyfully reminiscing on how she explained it to me in RTR, and that I was happy that I was able to see her in the camp-meeting together with her family.

While I was part of the program committee with Sister Bebe Engcoy assigned to the little children (12 years old and below), I was blessed that I was also able to join the activity of the first break-out session of the program. Our facilitator was Elder Crispino Fat, and we talked in a group about ‘The Glory of God in Biblical Agriculture.’

Labor That Will Quicken the Mind, Refine the Character. --In the cultivation of the soil the thoughtful worker will find that treasures little dreamed of are opening up before him. No one can succeed in agriculture or gardening without attention to the laws involved. The special needs of every variety of plant must be studied. Different varieties require different soil and cultivation, and compliance with the laws governing each is the condition of success. The attention required in transplanting, that not even a root fiber shall be crowded or misplaced, the care of the young plants, the pruning and watering, the shielding from frost at night and sun by day, keeping out weeds, disease, and insect pests, the training and arranging, not only teach important lessons concerning the development of character, but the work itself is a means of development. In cultivating carefulness, patience, attention to detail, obedience to law, it imparts a most essential training. The constant contact with the mystery of life and the loveliness of nature, as well as the tenderness called forth in ministering to these beautiful objects of God's creation, tends to quicken the mind and refine and elevate the character.  AH 142.3   

What I love about agriculture/gardening is that it reminded me personally that I came from dust, and it calls me back to the ground to humble down before God and acknowledge that I am nothing without God. Truly it the character is developed by studying different soil and varieties of plants. Each plant has its seasons of growing depending on the soil they were planted in. I was blessed that by studying about nature I get to understand how to deal with people. I realized that I don’t need to be a standard for others and must let them grow in their seasons.

One of the sermons of the Elders in the camp-meeting captivated my heart: Elder Jeffrey Villaroya gave a powerful message about 1888 entitled, ‘The Return of the Latter Rain (Heart of the 1888 Message)’.

The Lord in His great mercy sent a most precious message to His people through Elders Waggoner and Jones. It presented justification through faith in the Surety; it invited the people to receive the righteousness of Christ which is made manifest in obedience to all the commandments of God. Many had lost sight of Jesus. They needed to have their eyes directed to His divine person, His merits, and His changeless love for the human family. All power is given into His hands, that He may dispense rich gifts unto men, imparting the priceless gift of His own righteousness to the helpless human agent. This is the message that God commanded to be given to the world. TM 91.2

I was impressed as I was listening to the message, which taught me of deeper levels of the Christ our Righteousness message. He explained that there are two phases of the latter rain; (1) Teaching of righteousness according to righteousness [latter rain], (2) Manifestation of the power - The righteousness of Christ [loud cry]. He mentioned that it was in October of 1888 that the message was rejected, and now the same message was brought back again in October. As Elder Jeff said, “Could it be a coincidence?”  and what I had in my mind that moment was, “Probably it’s not just a coincidence.” Then our thoughts agreed together as I was reminded that it was an “Appointed Time!” It was an appointed time where God would visit His church. He was courting His church once again. Praise God!

I am amazed, humbled and comforted as I looked back over my journey for nine days in the camp. God worked-out His sanctifying influence in me and he really poured out great measures of blessings not just on me personally but also to those souls who longed for righteousness. I do believe that many received blessings during the holy convocation. Indeed, my Beloved supplied all that was needed.

            “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want” Psalms 23:1

Now I am back in RTR. I am full of joy to have met different people with such different stories, from little children to adults. I was observing, I was listening, and I am learning from each person’s experience. I talked with a 14 year old girl, one of the youths who attended the camp-meeting. She and her family are with us now, and she confided with me that she had read my testimony (Chin-Chin’s Storyin She asked me a question: “How did you overcome those things that happened to you?” I became silent. I was thinking whether to answer or to just be an example to her of practical living, telling her that the comforter will change my life one step at a time in my everyday battle of self.

I just thank God that she didn’t wait for an answer and straightaway shared her personal experience to me. So, I prayed with her and listened. It brought some tears to my eyes, not because of how much more traumatic her experience was than mine, but because I was moved by the love of God in my life personally. I learned that I have no reason to complain about my life, because I see more clearly how the goodness and graciousness of God were as bright beams of the sun shined into the chambers of my soul.

“But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” Proverbs 4:18


We want to express our deepest grattitude to Pandan Church, Gingoog, for hosting our successful camp meeting in Mt. Balatucan scout camp (dated Oct. 6-18) especially headed by the leadership of the couple Bro. Jong and Sis. Juvy Jomen and the whole family circle both biologically and spiritually. It was really amazing…

We've seen how God works in humble people who acknowledge the incapacity to do things smoothly in their own strength. In return, God has performed a great miracle.

Surrendering everything to God when we don't know what to do has resulted in witnessing the mighty working of God through the hands of the very ones who have surrendered their will to God's will.

When two or three are in agreement to do God's will, all the rest will fall in line to do the same... And the result is a MIRACLE.

GOD is glorified... Jesus Christ is lifted up.

We long for many more sacred assemblies to take place in these difficult times while God has given us opportunities to still come together. We are to encourage each other to contend for the faith which was once delivered to the saints. Let's move forward without an iota of fear. Let's face our enemies squarely with the strength and love of our Saviour Jesus Christ.

We encourage other ministries in the entire  country to encourage brothers and sisters of the same faith in the PRESENT TRUTH to assemble themselves together through district or regional convocations so that we will all have representations in our big gatherings, especially at the national and international level...

We expect more gatherings soon. Let's keep updated....

Godbless us all... Amen.

Check out books in Tagalog and Cebuano here:

Read Chin Chin and other volunteers doing community outreach in this article: The Highlight of My Calling (Identity, Value and Sexual Health)