North Pacific Union Conference
Pathfinders Come Together for Camporee
by Gary McLain
|--||What Does Jesus Mean to You?|
|--||“That I am saved. No matter
how many mistakes I make in life,
that I will be forgiven. And that I
get to be that person that
I am – God’s Child.”
“Jesus is a guy who was super
kind to people and helped the
poor and people in need.”
“Jesus means a second chance.”
“Even though I am a sinner He
will always forgive me and love me.”
“I love him and He loves me.
He is very special.”
“Freedom. Freedom from my past
and freedom to live forever with Him.”
“I cannot imagine life without Him at all.”
“You wouldn’t be anywhere without Him.”
“Jesus is the Savior of all of us and He
is a person you can count on. He died
on the cross for us.”
“He washed all our sins away.”
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The makings of an unforgettable weekend began with 2,000 Pathfinders, a fairground field full of tents, chuck wagons, and excellent weather. The quinquennial North Pacific Union Conference (NPUC) Pathfinder Camporee was held September 13-16 in Astoria, Oregon.
Each evening the two thousand Pathfinders filled the bleachers around a stage in the Clatsop County Fairground’s indoor arena. They came to hear and see the story of David acted out in drama. The drama, written and directed by Rachel Scribner, a Walla Walla University Communication/Religion double-major, is a past Pathfinder. Watching the experiences that David and Saul went through showed how God can work in us and through us even if we make mistakes. All we need to do is give our hearts to Jesus. This year's theme was just that: "My Heart for Jesus." The theme text for the weekend was “And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart,” Ezekiel 36:26 NLT.
Each evening the drama was followed by a short wrap-up by one of the Pathfinder leaders—Ron Whitehead, International Camporee Director on Thursday night; Pastor Jonathan Tejel, World Pathfinder Director on Friday night; and James Black, North American Division Youth Director for both Sabbath morning worship and the evening program.
Special post-meeting teen gatherings were held after each evening meeting. Bob Gaede led out by saying, “I want you all to come close, very close, because we actually want to experience what it was like to be near the cross itself.” Bob Gaede challenged the Pathfinders during the Friday night teen get-together to take off their shoes and come barefoot to the cross and touch it. He wanted to help them take in the real meaning of what Jesus sacrificed for each one of us so we have the opportunity to join Him in heaven.
Activities on Friday included a 5K Fun Run/ Walk in preparation for Let’s Move! Day on September 23rd. The rest of the day Pathfinders were involved in a variety of activities which included visiting the beach or nearby Fort Stevens, climbing the Astoria Column, and BMX biking on the fairground's course.
After the program on Sabbath morning, a pilgramage was made to the ocean where there were close to 20 baptisms in the Pacific Ocean at Sunset Beach that afternoon. Hundreds looked on in support of the decisions to give their hearts to Jesus.
Sabbath evening, Pastor Black briefly touched on his own experiences growing up in a gang, though never feeling the part of a gang member. Another gang member killed Pastor Black’s brother and Pastor Black has since had the privilege of baptizing that man. When you give your heart to Jesus, God will use you!
To close the meeting that evening, Pastor Black made a call for those who wanted to do something great for God to stand and be anointed with oil, representing “My Heart for Jesus.” Many Pathfinders stood and dedicated their hearts to God’s purpose. And all left with the charge to give “My Heart for Jesus” every day!