Why Camp Meetings for Refugees are a Must


When you think of evangelism, does a Daniel and Revelation series come to mind? You may not link evangelism to camp meetings, but let me tell you, much evangelism happened during two special camp meetings that took place this summer for the people of Myanmar now living in the United States. Over 380 Karen (pronounced Kah-REN) young people and their youth leaders gathered at Camp Wagner in Michigan from July 5-9. Pr. Stephen Po, one of the event’s coordinators shared, “Our purpose for the Karen SDA Youth Camp this year was to lift up those who have fallen and bring peace to their hearts and minds.” He knows the challenging circumstances the youth face, such as domestic problems, peer pressure, relationship issues, health challenges, depression, and more. As the Holy Spirit worked through the speakers’ messages, personal interactions and sharing of Scripture, prayers, games, and songs, these young people experienced true revival and strength to keep moving forward in faith!

When I walked into the large gymnasium on Sabbath a middle-aged woman shyly smiled and came up to me. In broken English she shared, “My daughter, she attend [sic] your class at Karen Camp Meeting six years ago. She said it was there that she let Jesus into her heart for the first time. Today she get baptize [sic].” Nothing compares to the joy I felt in my heart while seeing her go under the water, committing herself as Christ’s disciple. (I also loved how her friends and church family stood beside her in the water to show their support.) 

Many made great sacrifices to attend these camp meetings. Thaw Htoo sensed the Lord’s presence so strongly when attending camp meeting in 2019 that he vividly remembers feeling like it was only him, the speaker, and God in that large auditorium during the sessions. He knew he couldn’t miss this one, but his boss would not give him the time off, even after he told him that it was for religious purposes. He writes, “I would rather have peace and joy with God than stay home and make money, because money never fills the void in my heart that only God can fill.” Raymond wrote, “Our family drove for twenty-three hours to get to the NAD Myanmar Convention. My brother saved his money for a long time so that all our family could attend. We longed for the kind of Christian fellowship in our own language that we experienced at the convention. We were all so blessed.”

At the North American Division (NAD) Myanmar Convention held in Florida, Elder Jose Cortes, Jr. and Pastor Sam Ngala issued a call to Burmese-speaking attendees who want to go into ministry. Four lay members immediately stood up and were dedicated to the Lord. These refugees see the urgency in reaching out to the many refugees across North America who don’t yet know their Savior and Creator. Please pray for their deep desire to plant churches. God willing, they would like to send 16 people to study for Master of Divinity degrees at Andrews University in the next three years. God was definitely moving in their midst!