In Ankavan, a resort village in Armenia in the picturesque valley of the Marmarik River, the health department of the Armenian Mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church recently organized a health camp. It was attended by more than 140 people, including health ministries directors of local churches across the Armenian Mission, pastors, church members, and friends who are not members of the church.
The camp meeting was preceded by a two-month healthy lifestyle course organized by Armenian Mission health ministries director Samuel Sargsyan. It was geared to interested church members, including pastors and health ministries directors of local churches.
From May 12 to July 12, 2021, more than 20 speakers from nine countries taught 45 students about spiritual principles and health medical topics. The final stage of training took place at the camp meeting.
“From the very first day of the camp meeting to the last, we felt God’s presence,” organizers said. They put together a varied program that included morning and evening services. It also offered seminars on healthy lifestyles, prevention and treatment of diseases, and first aid. Participants could arrange consultations with physicians and enjoy activities such as trips to a nearby hot springs, massages, Nordic walking classes, and therapeutic gymnastics. In the mornings, together with a Nordic walking instructor, participants had the opportunity to climb a nearby hill and enjoy the views from the top.
Every day, chefs prepared a variety of new dishes of vegetarian cuisine. Many attendees acknowledged they were trying those dishes for the first time. “Everything was delicious and attractive,” participants said.
Especially inspiring were the morning and evening services, they added. In the morning meetings, participants reflected on what the Bible says about health and one’s attitude toward it. In the evenings, attendees met in the main hall for joint worship, singing, and games.
Evening meetings were devoted to the theme “God calls you.” It was based on the example of Bible heroes who responded to God’s call. Camp participants and pastors pondered how to understand what God is calling His people to do, how to begin to act in accordance with God’s calling, and what is necessary to avoid turning away from the chosen path.
On Saturday (Sabbath), organizers held a baptismal service in the Marmarik River. Four people made a covenant with the Lord, including a student of the healthy lifestyle course.
Saturday night’s meeting was no less solemn. The baptized individuals accepted congratulations and gifts, and every camp meeting attendee received a completion certificate. Participants who are not members of the Adventist Church also received a copy of the book Keys to Health as a special gift.
On Sunday, the camp held a health exhibition. At the beginning of the program, instructors acquainted guests with the eight basic principles of a healthy lifestyle, conducted a number of medical examinations, and helped people determine their biological age. Participants had the opportunity to consult with doctors, who gave practical recommendations for changing their lifestyles.
“The time spent at the camp flew by very quickly and left warm memories,” organizers said, “but we hope that camp participants will continue to lead a healthy lifestyle, applying the knowledge they have received.”
Organizers also said that everyone — health department directors, healthy life course students, and pastors — presented the message of a healthy lifestyle and the message of salvation as a single team. “It was an incredible blessing for every camp participant,” they said.