Boot camp: Combining exercise with outreach

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“Adventist presence here is practically invisible. We’ve been looking for ways to let our Northern Beaches community know that we exist and we care about them,” says Joshua Gonzalez, associate pastor of the Seventh-day Adventist churches in Manly and Mona Vale (NSW).

It was his wife Tania who came up with an idea of how they could do so.

“Home-school mums have to be selective in what activities they sign up their kids for,” says Tania, who began home-schooling her children this year.

“We can’t afford for them to do everything, so we have to be choosy.”

During her daughter’s gymnastics class, Tania was sitting on the sidelines with some of the other home-school mums and they began discussing their struggles to find time to exercise themselves.

“Suddenly I saw a gap that could be filled,” comments Tania. “What if our churches started inexpensive boot camps especially for mums and kids? That way, mums would be able to get their exercise and simultaneously spend quality time with their kids.”

She spoke to church pastor Panapa Leuluai as he had run boot camps for the church members previously. He was keen to get on board and get to know the home-schooling families.

“The mums are already keen to do Bible studies with Panapa—they’ve said their boys, in particular, would love to hear a strong role model talking about God,” says Tania. “But Panapa wanted to get to know the families first, through the boot camps.”

The boot camps have been running for a few weeks now and have attracted a lot of interest and positive feedback. A unique feature is that the group prays together before each session.

“The camps cost $20 per family—we have small families of 3-4 and we’ve even got a family of 6,” says Tania. “Soon we’re going to reach our maximum of 30 for the class.”

“This program is a great way to reach out to people in the local area and let them know who Adventists are,” says Joshua. “People are saying, ‘These Adventists are pretty cool. We like hanging out with them.’”

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