April 17, 2017 | Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic | Libna Stevens/IAD
The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Inter-America ended its 4th Pathfinder Camporee on a high note at Mirador del Este Park in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, on Apr. 15, 2017.
The three-hour-long closing ceremony featured hundreds of investitures on stage and off stage, baptisms of 65 pathfinders, praise and music, a bible boom finale, recognition of youth ministries leaders, prayer sessions, spiritual messages, and fireworks.
“There’s great joy tonight because everyone is happy,” said Louise Nocandy, youth ministries director and main organizer of the event, as she spoke to the cheering crowd.
Nearly 13,000 pathfinders, master guides and chaperones from throughout the church’s 24 major church regions took part in the five-day camporee. During the event, Pathfinders marched, worshiped, took classes, attended mentoring and leadership training, went to swim meets, participated in musical presentations, bible bowl competitions, and more.
Each evening included a drama performance on the story of the biblical Ruth, which paralleled the theme of the camporee: Lineage of Champions.
Rain poured during the middle of the Friday evening program, soaking the crowd and sending them running for shelter. Sabbath morning saw pathfinder clubs cleaning campsites, drying their belongings under the sun and spending time in communion services.
Rain or shine, the camporee was a special opportunity to strengthen and restore pathfinders as they engaged in mental, physical and spiritual activities with peers from other countries and cultures across the Inter-American Division (IAD), said Nocandy. Instilling moral values the church upholds and studying the Bible as a lifestyle everyday was a main focus during the week.
“We wanted all of our pathfinders to learn the history and biblical teachings of the Book of Ruth through the study of the Bible,” said Nocandy.
The bible boom finale took place during the closing event and saw 24 teams of three pathfinders each testing their knowledge of the books of Joshua, Judges and Ruth. The North Colombia Union took the first spot, followed by the Haiti Union in second and the Puerto Rico Union in third.
According to Nocandy, some 1,200 pathfinders registered for the bible boom competitions, which included several elimination rounds throughout the week.
Yamileth Bazán, vice president of student affairs at La Sierra University and main speaker of the camporee, reminded pathfinders to take lessons from the story of Ruth with them as they return home.
“Looking with the eyes of a person who understood being a foreigner, Boaz sees a woman rejected in need of refuge,” emphasized Bazán. She appealed to young people to put their past, present and future in God’s hands so He can fix and make new. “Give your pain to God because God is great, God is good and God is faithful.”
Bazán challenged young people to find their identity with Jesus and not let the enemy make them believe they do not belong to Him. “God has provided a redeemer so you can represent Him,” said Bazán, “You need to assist your church in being a refuge to others who are rejected in society and proclaim Jesus’ soon coming.”
Mariann Forbes of Aruba took the spiritual messages to heart. At just 10 years old, attending her first large camporee has taught her many lessons. “The more I get to know God, the better I will be meeting other people and helping them,” said Mariann, who made dozens of new friends.
“We don’t have to judge people from other countries or other cultures because they are people too and we must treat them as Jesus did,” added Mariann. She said she will take all the lessons she learned to her home pathfinder club.
Organizers and church leaders hope that Christian spirit will endure as pathfinders travel back to their countries and resume their daily lives.
“Commit your life to God and ask the Holy Spirit to develop humility in you every day as you prepare for His Soon Coming and proclaim it,” Nocandy said.
The entire five-day event received local and national media coverage. Thousands followed the event on social media.
Special visiting delegation from the North American Division and South American Division were honored during the closing ceremony.
The church delivered roofing materials to repair the homes of 10 homeowners in the Tres Ojos community near the Mirador del Este Park. Builders, volunteers and young people will finish helping to restore wooden frames and leaky roofs in the coming days, local church leaders said.
The park will see the reforestation of more than 200 new trees, and replanted grass throughout the park, local church leaders said. Already, the church has improved each one of the six pavilion facilities used during the camporee, upgraded its electrical system and water reservoir units in the park. “We will be leaving the park a better place for athletes and individuals to enjoy,” said Pastor Carlos Rilio, youth ministries director for the church in the Dominican Republic and local coordinator of the event.
To view daily video reports of Inter-America’s 4th Pathfinder Camporee, click HERE
To view a photo gallery of the camporee, visit flikr.com/photos/interamerica
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Twitter Spanish: @adventistasDIA