Thousand Oaks Gospel Camp

On Friday the 24th we arrived at the annual gospel sing event that happens in Winkler, Manitoba. It’s a great gathering of people (about a thousand) who come to camp, hear music, and spit sunflower seeds. I found their spitting method peculiar. They put one seed in their mouth at a time instead of loading in a whole handful. We definitely weren’t in America anymore. Our team sang four times over the course of the three days, and we were privileged to sing alongside the legendary John Schmid  in one set. He had also been traveling with us several days that week and doing services in prison with us. He’s a great storyteller, singer, and even throws in a little rap now and then: I definitely enjoyed hanging out and laughing with him all week.The man is a walking library of great tales and abides by Mark Twain’s advice to ‘never let the truth get in the way of a good story’. We were also privileged to travel with Corbin one of the nicest John Yoders I’ve ever met. John is the director of Gospel Echoes Canada and did the speaking/preaching in the prisons we visited. He also took us out for Denny’s and Tim Horton’s quite a few times. The man has given up the fight and is unashamedly addicted to Tim Horton’s coffee.

There were quite a few different groups that came out to sing, including the Wissmann family. Basically you jumped up on stage, plugged in whatever you needed, and performed for 4o minutes and then someone else came on. It was fun..hard for me though as we had to dig deep to play different songs for 4 sets..and I didn’t know most of them. So I either tried to look like I knew what was doing or chilled in the white tent to the left of the stage (pictured below). The weather was beautiful Friday and Saturday. Sunday was rainy and the  musicians were at times about 100 yards from the audience taking cover under the big white tent.

Below are pictures from Thousand Oaks and the road towards it..


Around Thousand Oaks

We left Manitoba on Sunday night, parked at a Walmart in North Dakota, and then got to Indiana Monday night. Now we’re in Goshen where the kids are recording their new album. Thanks for all your prayers and good words.


When the sun came shining, and I was strolling,
And the wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling,
As the fog was lifting a voice was chanting:
This land was made for you and me



Published by javenbear

Javen Bear is 25 years old and lives with his beautiful wife Aleisha in Phoenix, Arizona. He's a graduate student in a mental health counseling program at Grand Canyon University where he also works as an admissions representative. Javen’s super-power, if he had one, would be the ability to press pause on the world and catch up on reading. He enjoys talking walks with his wife, playing guitar, and always uses Oxford commas.

5 thoughts on “Thousand Oaks Gospel Camp

  1. Great post! John Schmid sounds like an interesting character, glad he was able to join ya’ll for a few days. The Thousand Oaks Camp looks like a fun event!


  2. Sounds like a party!! This may sound like a over 40 comment, but love your articles so keep em comin’ 😀


  3. That is so cool!!! It was great to have you here in Manitoba!!!!! I really enjoyed meeting you and the team…felt like the weekend went by WAY too fast!!! Lol. You guys did a great job!! I pray that you will be a light to this dark world and be the same encouragement to others that you were to me!!!


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