Campmeeting

Many times I passed the Beulah Heights Camp Ground in Eldorado during my youth. I often wondered what it would be like to attend a Campmeeting. Campmeetings were common in my childhood days as well as Tent Revivals. Many denominations had Campgrounds to hold their Campmeetings on. So, not long after I moved away from home I took a church bus ride with many members of our congregation to Topeka, Kansas to attend a large Campmeeting that was being conducted by the church that we were affiliated with in the area.

The bus rode like a log wagon…as most former School Buses do. My friend Jim drove us as he was an experienced Semi-Truck Driver. MJ was on the Bus but we were not married at the time. I made a point to speak to her and share my witticisms on every occasion that was afforded to me. When we arrived I discovered large wooden buildings painted white with huge windows that we opened at night for our air conditioning. We, single men, slept on the second floor of this dormitory and during the night it got cold and windy. I vividly recall the shock of waking up to the chilly temperature. The food was served in long tents and it was delicious. The showers had only cold water…which made for a rapid cleansing. The Old Time Gospel was preached without fear or favor and all of us lively young men felt the tinge of conscience and the need to come to Jesus. Rev. Millard Hazelip preached on Eschatology and he had the presence and speaking ability of a Professor…of which he had been…and I ruminated as to whether or not I would experience old age…

There is something about having church outside and waking up in cold fresh air and taking cold showers…that focuses the mind and softens the heart. Beng removed from lifes’ daily distractions is a great clarifier and a settler of a worried mind. In those days there were no cell phones or Facebook or Social Media. If we needed to know something we looked it up in our Encyclopedias and/or made a trip to our local library. We thought a lot about our family…we sat with them at supper…and often at breakfast… every day. We listened to the wonderful gospel songs at the camp meeting and we knew that there was a better day and that we could be better…if we tried. I remember the old song, ‘I must tell Jesus.’ The first verse says:

‘I must tell Jesus…I must tell Jesus…I can not bear my burden alone…I must tell Jesus…I must tell Jesus…Jesus will help me…Jesus alone.’

Campground let you know that there was a better world to be had…both here and in the afterlife. I discovered that I could take a few days off of work and the cares of life…just to focus on faith…and hope…and charity…

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