My personal review of ARME UK…
Where do I begin? How do I start to share about the blessings of our BEST ARME CAMP yet…ARME UK!!!
I have to admit I was a little dubious about how this event would go off. For one, we had only about 10 (out of 30) of our normal ARME staff that could travel to England for this event. So we were running on about 1/3rd of our core team that are ARME regulars and know what it's all about.
Secondly, most of our core ARME staff did not arrive until late (did I say LATE?) the night before the event was to start. (We usually have our team assembled at least 2 days before camp starts to get everything organized and together!) So without our normal team, and with no supplies (they didn't arrive until the morning of), and with all NEW volunteers from the local North England Conference (who also did not arrive until the morning of), I was VERY concerned and feeling a bit stressed!!!!
But God was faithful, and worked above and beyond our expectations, and He showed us once again, it's not about numbers, it's not about whose in charge or whose there, it's not about having all the right supplies and facilities, it's about this conference being covered by His Holy Spirit.
The England ARME team was AMAZING!!!! (Did I say they were amazing???) They simply blew us out of the water - We were soooo impressed and humbled by their dedication, hard working and servant spirit. And even though we only received our registration supplies and other equipment 5 hours before registration was to open, things came together so quickly - the quickest I've ever seen it happen. I couldn't believe it!!! And before we knew it, ARME UK was off to a powerful start!
From the first night, the house was packed…over 500 in attendance. (Hardly any partial registrations like people do back in the states - most people came for the WHOLE event.) In fact, the conference leaders told us that ARME broke their North England Conference record in that our event sold out 6 weeks in advance and they had over 100 people on the waiting list to attend. Wow, I couldn't believe it!
Furthermore, we'd been told that the British people would be a little difficult when it came to some of the things we do at ARME - like united prayer. As one well respected leader shared, "The english aren't use to praying together like you do, so don't be surprised if it's a little difficult to get going!" However, once again, God surprised us all. Not only was our first united prayer meeting packed (this occurred opening day at 4pm before the evening meal or main meetings had started), but as we began to lead people in united prayer, the prayers came and people opened up more and more. It was obvious the Holy Spirit was at work in a large way!
Later, towards the end of camp, when we had the all-night united prayer session, the prayer meeting room was packed!!! There seemed to be no holding back as people poured out their hearts to God, for healing, for restoration, for each other. We spent time praying unitedly for the Holy Spirit, we spent time in separate groups of men and woman praying prayers of repentance and healing, we spent time interceding for one another. We also spent time studying the Bible together and praying for deeper understanding.
Throughout the conference, you could really sense a hunger for the Word of God and a desire for deeper intimacy with Him. The speakers were phenomenal! (Not just our regulars like Pastor Myers, Pastor Sizemore or Martin Kim, but also our new speakers, Adam Ramdin, and Christopher Kramp!) Each message was pointed and specific and practical….and this is the intent of each ARME Bible Camp, not just to lecture or inspire, but to give people practical hands on tools for Bible study, a deeper devotional life, and prayer.
On Sabbath morning for Sabbath school, we had our famous traditional "Mock Trial." Our own judge Steward presided, and Taylor was the stern bailiff. However he didn't seem to scare too many people away, for many were eager to share their answers to the Bible questions that were presented by the Prosecuting Attorneys (a.k.a. our illustrious Bible teaching team). I believe the service was inspiring and convicting for all that were in attendance as it showed our need of a deeper understanding of scriptures and a deeper ability to answer FROM THE BIBLE ALONE for our faith!!
God really blessed the afternoon presentation as well, as Pastor Myers shared the Blueprint message. In fact, I think it was one of the most powerful Blueprint presentations I've yet seen. (Maybe it's because it's the first one that I've seen in its entirety.) Being program director, I am always running here and there trying to make sure everything is in place or the next participants are ready to come on stage, so very seldom do I have time to sit through an entire presentation from anyone. But I determined that THIS CAMP I was going to sit still and listen to the entire Blueprint message!! As it turned out, I didn't end up sitting as space was so tight, but I did stand, and I took notes the entire time. Wow!!! For those that haven't seen this message, you can see a very juiced version HERE. But in all reality, you need to come to ARME and experience the REAL THING full version. It's powerful and it's a message that needs to go around the world!!! (And that's an unbiased opinion too!)
What's so powerful about the Blueprint? The Blueprint reveals the entire plan of salvation “juiced.” Through this presentation, in an hour or a little over, you can share the 70 weeks, 1260, 2300 day prophecies, the sanctuary and the plan of salvation, the reformation and the rise of the advent movement, and its mission like never before! And it's so simple and easy to follow that, as was testified at this ARME weekend, even a teenager can share the presentation and pass it on. What more can I say, except, come to ARME and see for yourself what God is doing! ;-))
We were blessed in so many ways at this ARME, it's hard to sum it all up. From the great food, great team spirit, great Heir Force programs, great fellowship and more. The entire meetings were streamed online, so others not able to attend could watch from the comfort of their own home or computers. (Pretty special to be able to tell my family at home they could watch us clear across the ocean, don't you think! ;-)
I have to say our AV team volunteers were amazing and we learned a lot from them as they upped our standards of quality and professionalism at ARME. They created an online forum where people could leave questions or comments, and they spread the word to help people who couldn't be there in person get involved. (Click HERE to see a promo video they put together for us the first day.) As a closing to the weekend they also made a video of remembrance that brought smiles as well as tears to all of our faces. You can view that HERE!
Yes - God blessed in so many amazing ways. However, above all, it was not just great meetings, great messages, great Bible studies, great kids programs, great food, or great teamwork…. it was seeing soooo many CHANGED LIVES that made the real difference!!!!!!
The final night together, as is our custom, we had ARME Family Testimony night and allowed people to share from their hearts what God had done in their life during ARME. It was powerful, so powerful that we couldn't get the testimonies to stop. More and more people kept coming to share, even after we'd told the group it was time to close. The people in the audience didn't seem to want it to stop either, and even though it was nearing midnight we still had an almost-near-ful house. In fact, a couple behind me in the crowd leaned forward and whispered to me, "It's ok, we don't mind staying up and listening more. This is powerful!"
Beyond the amazing testimonies, we also had a number of special treats including a baby dedication, for one of our ARME staff members (Gary's grandchildren), and another PROPOSAL!! That's right…you heard right!!!
I don't think ANY of us would have ever suspected that the ARME Bible Camp stage would become the kneeling platform for some amazing marriage proposals. But for the SECOND time, that's just what happened!!!
I don't know who was more shocked, our North England Conference event coordinator Rachel (pictured in yellow above) or the audience, which responded with applause and cheers! ;-))) Her boyfriend was our head Chef for the ARME UK, and he had the plans all cooked up to perfection, down to the last detail!! I guess that's what makes ARME so special. We become a family, and as a family, you want to share those special moments together. So….walaa… "Here before our ARME family, would you agree to become my wife?"
Thankfully, she said YES!!!!!!
The final consecration message inspired us to deeper surrender and deeper commitment and as the service closed we joined hands and sang "Jesus is coming soon" one more time!
While we dearly missed each one of our absence teammates, we know that God is going to continue to work, with our without us, because after all, it's not really about us anyway, but it's about His Spirit that fills this place. So here's to praising the Lord for another GREAT ARME - the best yet!!
Now, where do we go from here…??
As His ways are sooo much higher than our ways, I cannot even begin to imagine what God has in store. But we are excited about the prospects that we do see in sight! England is desiring to create the first official ARME Branch where, under our direction and leadership, they will continue to press forward having ARME Camps all across the country. Also, as a result, more doors are opening in Europe…and Germany has already reserved a spot for us in October of 2013. (More on Germany in upcoming post!)
This year our next large event in the US will be our ARME XL at PUC in July!! Then we'll have an ARME in Bali Indonesia in August, and we'll be traveling to New York in September. After that we might have a few weeks of break before our December ARME that we return to Hawaii. In the mean time we're seeking to launch an all-out new A-Units curriculum for the many A-Units starting up all over the country. And on top of everything the United Prayer Ministry of ARME continues to press forward, opening doors all around the world! I just praise God for what He is doing, and I'm so grateful that He's allowed me to be part of this movement and to work with such a great family…the ARME Family!!!!
It's very obvious to me, JESUS IS COMING SOON! Let's ARM ourselves with the Word and with Prayer so that we can go forward into the spiritual battle, equipped for ministry with our spiritual armor on!
*Special thanks to the North England Conference Leadership, Alan Hush, Beulah Plunkett, Rachel Braithwaite, Adam Ramdin, and others. Also special thanks to the AV team, and the many servant hearted volunteers that worked so tirelessly behind the scenes to make ARME UK what it was! You were all amazing and in Heaven you'll receive your true reward!
To learn more about ARME Bible Camp, please visit our website at: www.armebiblecamp.com