DAVIS—Around 1,000 people attended the 74th annual Indian Falls Creek (IFC), August 1-5, to fellowship, have times of recreation, study God’s Word, worship and, above all, to pray for revival among indigenous peoples of America.

Camp pastor Vern Charette of Coweta, First preaches at the 74th annual Indian Falls Creek.

Although attendance was lower than previous years, due to continued pandemic effects, leaders with IFC were still encouraged by the 2021 encampment.

“Two years ago, our board voted that we would have a theme of spiritual awakening and that it would remain our theme until we decided otherwise,” said Jennifer Barnett, Indian Falls Creek executive board chairperson. “We decided this year that our emphasis would continue to be spiritual awakening. We prayed about it and came up with the theme, ‘United in Prayer: So that they may believe’ (John 17:20-23).

“It’s a huge theme for us,” Barnett continued, “and like our camp pastor Vern Charrette said, ‘We need to come to God. We need to be one in unity, seeking the Lord.’ Prayer is very personal and individual; it needs to start there, but we are a people, and we need to observe prayer as a community as well.”

Campers enjoy water recreation at Falls Creek.

Victor Cope, executive director for Indian Falls Creek and pastor of Moore, First Indian explained the background of why the theme is such an important emphasis for the camp.

“Henry Blackaby came and spoke to us at Indian Falls Creek a few years ago,” Cope said, “and while he was here, he said, ‘I believe that the next great spiritual awakening could very well come from Native American people.’ That was a statement of pride for us, that a man (like Blackaby) would say that the next awakening could come from us, a people who have been so devastated, we take great pride in that.”

Barnett spoke of her father Bill Barnett, former pastor Seminole, Indian and a leader with Indian Falls Creek who died in February this year of complications from the Coronavirus.

Jay Mule, interim director of missions in Cheyenne-Arapaho Association, leads worship in a hymn in his tribal language.

“My dad came up with this plan to seriously pray about spiritual awakening among our indigenous people,” she said. “He would always say, ‘I am tired of people talking about Blackaby’s statement because we are not doing anything about seeking God and praying about spiritual awakening.’ We truly believe that, like Billy Graham said about us (as Native Americans), we are like a sleeping giant. And an awakening is something our people need.”

Indian Falls Creek happened last year as an online experience because of the nationwide lockdown due to the COVID-19 virus. Camp leaders took special health precautions this year to host the camp, including requiring masks in all indoor gatherings, social distancing, hand washing and other protocols.

Daily activities at the weeklong camp included outdoor recreation, Bible classes for adults, teens and programming for children. Evening worship and prayer times were also observed. On Monday, the evening program included a Color Guard, honoring those in attendance who have served in the military. Because the Native American Christian community lost several core leaders in the last 18 months, camp leaders also decided to remember those who died from the COVID-19 virus in a special presentation on Thursday night.

Speaking on Monday evening at the camp, camp pastor Vern Charrette preached a message about unity in mission.

“There is a reason that God has you here,” Charrette said. “The reason is this. God wants you to be salt, and He wants you to be light. He said, ‘let your light so shine before men, that they see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven’ (Matt. 5:16). God leaves you here as Kingdom ambassadors, as Kingdom representatives, so that you might represent the Kingdom of God to the extent that people might look on your life and say, ‘I want to get in on this Kingdom of God thing.”

Dana Thompson, from Okemah, All Nations, said the camp had a positive impacted on her.

“This is my second year to come to Indian Falls Creek,” she said. “The atmosphere is the same as the last time I came. I was just excited to be coming again. I like the youth (program). I have a 13-year-old, and I like that I can bring her. It feels like a place to get away; everything is lifted off your shoulders; you feel at home here. It’s a relief to get away and be with other members of the church.

For more information about Indian Falls Creek, visit www.indianfallscreek.org.