After three days of activities, honors, and guest speakers at the Berrien County Fairgrounds in Berrien Springs, Michigan, United States, the Lake Union Pathfinder Camporee concluded on Saturday, September 17, 2022.
Highlights from the concluding day included a parade of Pathfinders, wearing their full-dress uniform. Led by a police car and fire truck, the Pathfinders marched throughout the fairgrounds to the grandstand. “I’d say [the parade] went very well,” Eric Herve Jean-Baptiste, the parade’s coordinator, said. “I think the fire truck/police car for the escorts, for the dignitaries, put a little gravitas to the parade.”
Jean-Baptiste, who also serves as Lake Region’s Pathfinder coordinator, said the review stand at the end of the route was also a highlight of the parade. “Usually, we have the conference directors on the review stand with the dignitaries,” he said. “[But] I switched it up. I wanted the conference directors to lead their conference, so that you can recognize who the leaders of the conference are and to see them march. They did an awesome job.”
After the parade, Pathfinders transitioned to the grandstand for a special Sabbath worship service. Three baptisms took place during the worship service. Rachel Capps, 14, a member of the Eau Clare Critters club, was one of the people baptized. Her family has a tradition steeped in club ministries. Four of her siblings were baptized at previous Lake Union camporees. “I love Pathfinders and it’s a very special thing to me,” she said. Although she was nervous right before the baptism, she said she was helped by the club’s Teen Leader in Training (TLT) director Rahel Wells, and “ended up really liking it.”
During the worship service, a special offering was taken to benefit Pathfinder clubs in Cuba. “Our union has a Pathfinder tradition to help other parts of the world. Pathfinders take care of Pathfinders,” Ron Whitehead, Lake Union youth director, said. “In Cuba, there is not a lot of options down there for their support except us. And so, Pathfinders in Lake Union have adopted Cuba to be our place to support over the years.” Over the years, the money has been used to purchase equipment, training materials, backpacks, and other essentials. “These are things that they can’t have access to, but really makes them stand out in their communities. Most of their clubs are community kids … so, what an evangelism opportunity we’re offering our fellow Pathfinders in Cuba.”
Throughout the day, several activities and honors were available for Pathfinders, and they also had the opportunity to travel to Warren Dunes State Park in Sawyer, Michigan to earn the Dunes honor.
A Special Calling and a Final Appeal
At the evening worship service, Andrés Peralta, associate youth director at the General Conference, concluded his series of messages based on the “Fearless” theme. Focusing on how Pathfinders can be “Fearless” in serving God, Peralta shared how he became a pastor. “Even if you don’t believe in yourself, God shows you, and believes in you,” he said. “God will never choose someone unworthy. God chose me because I’m his special treasure. Don’t be afraid. He has chosen you!”
At the end of his message, Peralta made an appeal to Pathfinders who feel called to pastoral ministry. “If you have felt the calling to be a pastor, I don’t care if you’re 3 years old … or if you’re 20 years old; if you want to be a pastor someday, I want to pray for you,” he said. “We need warriors that are fearless!”
“I’m going to be very transparent,” Peralta continued. “To the girls that are here … do not allow anybody, whether the church, a pastor, an institution, or a vote to say that you cannot be a pastor,” he said, speaking to several girls who had indicated during the appeal their interest in becoming a pastor. “If you feel the calling to be a pastor… you are a special treasure.”
The Final Charge
At the conclusion of the evening worship service, Whitehead, Peralta, and Armando Miranda, associate youth director of the North American Division, gave a final charge to the Pathfinders. “The Lord has called you to be fearless,” Miranda said. “But to be fearless, you have to trust in the Lord with all your heart. Do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all that you do. When you are looking at your future, I charge you to seek Him in everything that you do and look for His wisdom. When you do that, He will direct your paths,” he continued.
“The most important thing in Christianity is to be with Jesus,” Peralta said. “When you get up in the morning, instead of grabbing for your phone, be with Him. I charge you to be with Him.”
In conclusion, Whitehead charged the Pathfinders to stay faithful. “Let us stay faithful until we meet again, either on the planet, or in heaven.”
The original version of this story was posted by Lake Union Herald.