After a mandatory year off, the 21st annual Cowboy Camp Meeting recently assembled, with around 75 attendees experiencing five days of a past lifestyle, where the only worries were, “Do we ride the horse or the ATV to the meeting tent?”
The meetings at the site nestled in the heart of the national forest in the state of Colorado, United States, were attended by individuals from seven states. Among them were also a few “outlaws,” or non-cowboys, from the city of Denver. The common thread of conversation among everyone was, “It’s good to be back!”
“It feels great to be back. This is one of the most beautiful spots in Colorado,” Ron Johnson, secretary-treasurer of Cowboy Camp Meeting Association, said enthusiastically.
“It’s wonderful to be back,” Sharon Fisher, from Montrose, commented about returning after a five-year absence.
For others, it was all about renewing friendships and connections. “I love seeing people I haven’t seen for a long time — people from all over the conference. It’s a real joy,” Wesley Cooper, a church member from Montrose, said. He added, “It’s such a great environment up here in the mountains. I’m a Colorado boy, and I've lived in Colorado all my life. The mountains are home. I love it.”
The mornings featured Nathan James, pastor of the Moab, Utah, district. His presentations focused on understanding the times in which we live and knowing what we ought to do.
For James, this was a unique experience. “I love the setting. It’s amazing,” he said. “I enjoy the flexibility of the schedule and the fact that there is some great spiritual food, morning and evening, and discretionary time during the day.”
The evening concluded with Dick Duerksen, Oregon Conference storyteller, doing what he is known for — telling stories. One story he told with gusto was about a couple living a not-so-licit lifestyle who started to attend an Adventist church. He explained how the man tested God in his tithe. At first, nothing happened, and the man was losing faith till his girlfriend convinced him to start tithing on his “not-so-legit” business. The couple was financially blessed until one evening, they called the pastor asking him to do three things for them that weekend — marry them, baptize them, and help them start over with a lawful life in another location. “When we fully trust in Jesus, our lives will improve,” Duerksen told his audience. That story is proof of it.
Duerksen drove to the camp from Portland, Oregon, and said he enjoyed the gathering immensely. “I think what I have enjoyed most is the spontaneity and spiritual interest in the people that are here. People who are just as thrilled to be at 9,000 feet [about 2,740 meters] as I am — closer to God.” He said what he hopes individuals will take home from his stories — “You can trust God; He’s a good friend.”