Pathfinders ‘chosen’ at world camporee

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Stories from the life of King David were explored at the "Chosen" Pathfinder camporee.

Pathfinders from the South Pacific Division (SPD) attended the “Chosen” International Pathfinder Camporee held in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, from August 12 to 17.

Nearly 300 Pathfinders from the SPD made the 20-plus hour flight to the North American Division (NAD) run event.

While 71 attended from the Australian Union Conference (AUC), the largest contingent was from Papua New Guinea.

The quinquennial event attracted more than 55,000 Pathfinders and staff from almost 100 countries. While most were from the NAD, more than 4500 international Pathfinders attended the event.

“The sheer number of Adventists gathering at one time makes this event the largest Seventh-day Adventist event in the world, outside the General Conference,” said AUC Youth and Young Adult Ministries director Pastor Jeff Parker. “I was so impressed by the way it was run.”

Thousands of Pathfinders gathering in front of the stage for the evening program. (Credit: Jeff Parker)

Each day, the camporee hosted numerous activities and honours for Pathfinders to complete, from learning about fossils and reptiles, to practicing blacksmith skills, leather-crafting, astronomy, human-foosball, Lego building and African drumming. The diversity of activities provided something for everyone to enjoy.

Tapiwa Musteriwa and his family from Fairfield Seventh-day Adventist Church (Sydney, NSW) flew to Oshkosh for the international event. They were joined by Pathfinders from nearby Cabramatta and Penrith clubs, and were generously hosted by Sheeler Oaks Seventh-day Adventist Church (Florida, USA).

The Mutseriwa family proudly representing Fairfield Seventh-day Adventist Church. (Credit: Tapiwa Mutseriwa)

Mr Musteriwa’s son, Washe (13), said that he really enjoyed the aviation workshops, which included some theory about aviation and a 30-minute flight above the campsite.

“It’s the humanitarian side of aviation and the effort to preach the gospel in remote places that you can’t access by road that I really like,” he said. “I’d love to be a pastor and fly to remote parts of the world to preach the gospel.”

Washe’s older sister, Nashe Musteriwa (16), said she loved meeting God’s “big family” from all across the world who share the same faith.

“I enjoyed meeting people who also love Jesus, and trading pins with other Pathfinders from many parts of the world.”

The team from Cabramatta, Fairfield and Penrith Seventh-day Adventist churches. (Credit: Tapiwa Mutseriwa)

While 71 Pathfinders from 15 different clubs across four conferences—Tasmania, Greater Sydney, South Australia and South New South Wales—attended from the AUC, a larger contingent of 148 Pathfinders from PNG attended the international event. PNGUM boasted 29 different Pathfinder clubs across four missions: Central Papua Conference, Morobe Mission, Western Highlands Mission, East Highlands Simbu Mission and New Britain New Ireland Mission.

Many had the opportunity to attend the Andrews University Pathfinder Day prior to the camporee, and enjoyed exploring the campus.

Renee Semese (left) and Veneda Kanguai (right) wearing their SPD camporee shirts outside of Andrews University (USA). (Credit: Di Ofa Samani Eke)

PNGUM pathfinders were also given the opportunity to represent the SPD by participating in the morning Flag Raising ceremony—3 individuals were from PNGUM and 3 were from the AUC.

Anthony Boyd, Taleetha Boyd and Sophie Bullock (AUC) joined Tiensten Abani, Alister Sane and Reuben Desmond Kanam (PNGUM) to represent the SPD for the flag-raising ceremony. (Credit: Di Ofa Samani Eke)

SPD Youth Ministries director Dr Nick Kross attended the camporee and was impressed by the global perspective it created.

Lae Adventist Memorial Church (LAMC) Pathfinder Club with General Conference youth director, Gary Blanchard. (Credit: Di Ofa Samani Eke)

“The Chosen International Pathfinder Camporee is a vision-casting event that creates awareness of the global magnitude of ‘pathfindering’. Everyone has expressed to me that they were inspired and have been transformed by the worship and interaction with Pathfinders from across the globe.”

The “Chosen” theme of the camporee explored the story of King David, with a nightly program featuring a full production drama of David’s life. Pastor Damian Chandler, senior pastor of Capital City Seventh-day Adventist Church (Sacramento, California), delivered captivating messages each evening, and made altar calls for the Pathfinders to “choose Jesus”.

In total, nearly 1000 Pathfinders were baptised during the final Sabbath program—22 were from the SPD.

Ryan being baptised by Pastor Parker during the Sabbath baptismal sessions.

Ryan Nagle (11) from Bega church in the South New South Wales Conference was baptised by Pastor Parker. After giving his heart to Jesus at the AUC’s “Unstoppable” camporee in January, he decided to get baptised at the Chosen camporee last weekend. Both wore their Unstoppable camporee shirts for the baptism.

While the event will undoubtedly be imprinted in the memories of all who attended, it will also be written in the history books. A number of records were attempted for the Guinness Book of World Records: 13,309 Pathfinders and staff dressed in blue ponchos and assembled to create the world’s largest human cross; the largest “neckerchief and woggle” (scarf and slide) was also attempted, with Pathfinders from Texas designing the scarf, and Pathfinders from the Arkansas Louisiana Conference designing the woggle.

The scarf measures 91×46 metres and weighs 360 kilograms, and the slide measures three metres tall and weighs 227 kilograms.
13,309 pathfinders gathered as the aerial team took a photo for the record books.

Preparations are already underway for an international Pathfinder camporee, which will be held again from August 12–17, 2024, in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. It will be themed “Believe the Promise”.

If you’re from the SPD and attended the Chosen International Pathfinder Camporee, we’d love to share your story! Contact us at news@record.net.au.