Rev. Sheldon Rowell, Sr.
(Camp president; pastor Bethlehem Wesleyan Church)
Hortense Wesleyan Camp holds a special place in the hearts and lives of the Sheldon Rowell, Sr. family. Each member has special memories of the camp to share.
I was blessed by being born next door to the camp. When we were kids, us boys, would stand and listen in the morning hours to people praying. I would say that it was not like the praying of today. It was long and loud with a lot of "whoops" mixed in. Then at night the crowds would come in and the lawn would be full of cars and trucks. Of course, back then we never really understood a lot of what was going on. Boy, I think of what I really missed. I can remember Mr. Cecil Adams coming and hauling off pine straw and cleaning up.
In all the years of going to children's church, I suppose one morning stands out the most. Bob Long and I came under the tabernacle with ice in our mouths, and we were called to go first to the altar and pray. Well, I swallowed my ice, and I thought I would die before it melted.
Then came adulthood, and we were saved. We started to help out at the camp some. I can remember Bro. Milton coming in and out with his safari hat. Just as I remember Sis. Addie Lewis' dirt floor cabin and the impact the camp was having on my family and me. Thank God for Dad and Mom who worked in the dining hall.
I also remember that over the years God has protected the camp. Through the years, the camp has been the safest place to be during the storms.
I remember a lot of people coming to an altar of prayer. I remember a lot of great sermons from great men. One particular sermon from H.K. Sheets stands out. He told of a young man not receiving Christ, and then he was heard in a field crying out for God to please come back and give him one more chance.
I remember a lot of people giving a lot of money and a lot of labor to see the camp go forward. Many things we can't take the time to write about.
One thing is for sure, I don't want to be remembered in the future for what I have done, little that it is, but for what the camp has done for me. The impact God's people at the camp has made on my life is incredible. After being called on to pray, Sis. Jacobs asked the people to stand. She then replied, "but I had rather see people kneel." My, how God's people affected my life.
The tabernacle will always be special to our family because Mom and Dad's funerals were held there.