April 13, 2017 | Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic | Libna Stevens/IAD
Day two of Inter-America’s Pathfinder Camporee saw thousands of pathfinders competing in sports, marches, bible quizzes, recreational activities, earning badges, making new friends and taking part in a series of devotional moments throughout the day.
Highlights of the evening program included a musical drama performance drawing lessons in the life of Ruth in Moab and experiencing the loss of her husband.
“Our life has moments of unhappiness,” said Yamileth Bazán of La Sierra University and main speaker for the camporee. “So what happens in your life when you experience trying, dark moments?”
The difference will be when you cling to God just like Ruth clung to her God in faith, even when prayers go unanswered and miracles do not come your way, explained Bazán.
“’Even though you may not see God, He continues to be a great God, a good God and a faithful God,” emphasized Bazán to the more than 12,000 crowded into Miramar del Este Park’s amphitheater in Santo Domingo.
Just like Ruth clung to God in her despair, so must each cling to God and the promises found in the living Word of God, emphasized Bazán as she referenced Ruth chapter 1. Bazán reminded campers that Ruth could not see beyond the sad chapter of her life but she put her trust in God and became a chosen part of the lineage of Jesus.
“We are still in the first chapter of our life, and the rest is still yet to be seen for we have been created to live an infinite and eternal life,” Bazán said.
Drawing the main lessons of biblical Ruth is what organizers continue to underline during the five-day camping event.
“We want young people here and all around Inter-America to know that they come from a lineage of champions, and their identity should be fixed on being sons and daughters of the Almighty King,” said Louise Nocandy, associate youth ministries director and main organizer of the camporee.
Silvio Santana Mercedez from Altamayor del Rey in the eastern part of the Dominican Republic has taken the story of Ruth to heart. “Even though Ruth lived in a pagan world that rejected God, she found God and His purpose in her life got fulfilled,” said Santana.
“I know I am special in God’s eyes and I want to follow His leading in my life,” said Santana, who was in awe at how all the sacrifice to come has paid off already in just the second day.
Santana sold lots of candy, beauty products, cleanned houses and did odds jobs for people to raise funds to come to the event.
From before he got baptized nine years ago, he has loved participating up front on Sabbaths. He helps with audio and sound at his home church and helps clean the sanctuary.
A master guide who belongs to the La Perseverancia Adventist Church, Santana said the camporee is like a dream come true. He’s taken a class in agriculture and one in renewable energy, traded pins and made dozens of friends from all over the world.
“I never imagined I could meet so many friends like this,” said Santana. “Their joy, kindness and love of Jesus is so visible. It’s an experience that I will never forget.”
Memorable, life-changing moments are precisely what organizers planned for the thousands who traveled for spiritual and physical retreat this week, organizers said.
The week has provided prayer sessions during the evening program as well as special prayer stations throughout specific areas of the park.
“We have seen thousands of young people gather to pray together each day throughout the five stations we have set out,” said Pastor Samuel Telemaque, Sabbath School director and Special Needs Ministries leader for the church in Inter-America.
“It’s important that young people pray for their needs and also pray for others,” said Telemaque. Prayer sessions for the special outpouring of the Holy Spirit over young people have taken place every day.
One important focus during the camporee has been for children with special needs and disabilities. Local organizations have been honored for their work in caring for childrens’ visual impairments and the hearing impaired. “We want to bring about awareness every night for the children and adults with special needs or disabilities who belong to Adventist congregations and surrounding communities across the Inter-American Division territory,” Telemaque said.
Jairo Junior and Emily Pimentel of the Dominican Republic where the first pathfinders to give their life to Jesus last night when they were baptized in front of their cheering peers.
The next few days will see more baptisms, bible boom competitions, investiture ceremonies and more.
To view a photo gallery of the camporee, visit flikr.com/photos/interamerica
Twitter English: @adventistIAD
Twitter Spanish: @adventistasDIA