The Tonga Mission Pathfinder Camp provided a platform to rekindle the spirit of Pathfinders after the pandemic, ensuring that the program reaches every district and continues in the local church when participants return.
The event, also known as the Shine Camporee, was held from January 12-16 at Beulah Adventist College in the Tongatapu District. It was organised by Pathfinder leaders from Tongatapu District, with participants from various districts including ’Eua, Ha’apai, Vava’u and Tongatapu. A total of 264 Pathfinders, teachers and caretakers registered for the event, which was also part of the preparation for the 2027 Union Pathfinder Camp.
The event was a huge success, with a variety of guest speakers sharing their insights and perspectives on how Pathfinders can shine in the 21st century in Tonga.
Fulton Adventist University College principal Dr Ronald Stone, Trans Pacific Union Mission (TPUM) educator director Mere Vaihola, Patsy Soakai, a former teacher at Hilliard Memorial School, and Lisia Latu, Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) quality improvement officer at World Bank Pacific, were among the guest speakers who encouraged the Pathfinders to strive to be a true image of God in their spiritual, social, physical and mental areas.
The camp had special significance as January 15 marked the one-year anniversary of the volcanic eruption and tsunami that devastated Tonga. The entire camp came together on that Sabbath for a special prayer of thanksgiving to God for His protection of the small nation. Groups were divided and worked together with the Tonga Red Cross to visit 10 children with special needs in the area, demonstrating their commitment to “I WILL GO to my neighbour”, the TPUM theme for 2023.
The participants and leaders had positive things to say about the camp as they boarded the ferry back to their islands. Moana Hansen, Vava’u District director, praised the event, saying, “Thanks to our Heavenly Father for leading His people. We were so happy at the time we were in fellowship. Though it was a short time, we are so happy. We salute you all for the cooperation that we had.”
Lesieli Leger, ’Eua District director, expressed her gratitude, saying, “We continue to praise the Almighty God for His love and care towards us. We have ended a successful and heart-warming camporee that we were a part of.”
Sione Taufateau, Ha’apai District director, expressed his happiness: “The Pathfinders from the Fo’i-‘One’one (Ha’apai) are so happy in the fellowship that we had. Much love to all the clubs.”
Pele Kupu, Tongatapu District director, encouraged the participants to continue shining: “Let us not end here but let us go an extra mile this year to our neighbours. Hope that we will continue to shine in 2023.”