Camporee in Venezuela Results in 170 Baptisms and Inspires Young and Old

More than 5,000 Pathfinders and supporters enjoy counseling and training options.

Steven’s Rosado and Inter-American Division News
Camporee in Venezuela Results in 170 Baptisms and Inspires Young and Old
Members of a Pathfinder club perform a march during a competition on March 28 in Aguas de Moisés, Sucre, in eastern Venezuela. More than 5,000 young people from the East Venezuela Union Mission territory attended the II Pathfinders Camporee held March 24-30. [Photo: Jonathan Lanza]

“If you don’t believe in your dream, no one else will.” This was the message from Seventh-day Adventist international evangelist Arnaldo Cruz to more than 5,000 young people from the East Venezuela Union Mission (UVO) who fulfilled their dream of attending the II Pathfinder’s Camporee #Conquista2paratriunfar held March 24-30, 10 years after the first gathering in that region.

Organizers shared that some of the participants had to travel up to three days to reach the event venue in Las Aguas de Moisés, in the state of Sucre. The participants’ journeys included walking through jungles and over mountains, taking a canoe on the river, and traveling by car. Others sold Adventist literature and prepared meals ahead of the event to raise the funds needed to attend, they reported.

As part of an atmosphere of celebration and spiritual renewal, around 170 of the young attendees gave their lives to Christ through baptism. Another 600 were invested in various Pathfinders honors, according to UVO youth ministries director Jesús David Chacón. “To get great results, we need to make great efforts,” Chacón said. “And that’s what young people and their leaders across our territory did to participate in our camporee. We can only say: ‘Glory to God!’ ” he added, visibly moved.

A young man who was among those baptized shared that he had been already baptized years earlier. “For various reasons, however, I walked away from the church. But I came to the camp, and [Pathfinder director] Andrés Peralta and Arnaldo Cruz motivated me with the Word of God to renew my covenant with the Lord. And today, thanks be to God, I did it.”

Similarly, Andreina, a member of the Stars of Israel Pathfinder Club, said that she gave her life to Jesus through baptism “because He has always been with me.” She added, “He has always helped me, and when I feel alone, He never leaves me. He is the only one who watches over me and protects me from heaven.”

On the other extreme of the age spectrum, Vestalia Vachesco, an 80-year-old Adventist from the Northeast Venezuela Mission, said she has always felt a passion for Pathfinders. “I have been attending Pathfinders events for 27 years, since I met the Lord,” Vachesco said. “A month before I arrived here, I had surgery, but that didn’t stop me. I shouldn’t be here because I have prostheses in both hips, but I don’t like missing camporees,” she explained.

Along with Peralta and Cruz, two musical duos from Argentina, Zimrah and Sosteny2, attended the event and shared songs of praise and worship to God. “We feel really connected to this atmosphere of worship. Singing here has filled our hearts,” Zimrah members shared.

Young people also enjoyed a still unpublished musical based on the life of Joseph, written by Francis Viloria. Daily drama performances took place during the event. According to camporee participants, the musical touched their hearts and strengthened their commitment to stay faithful to God in every circumstance.

“Apart from his faithfulness to God, one thing I learned from Joseph’s life is excellence in everything he did,” Viloria said. “I have always thought that when a young person places themselves in the hands of God, the Lord does wonders for them.” It is reflected in everyday life, Viloria added. “If we have to sweep, we sweep well; if we need to write, we write well, and if we must take a photo, we try it to become the best photographer. When God sees that disposition, He will begin to use us more and more.”

In a specially prepared House of Prayer, approximately 2,500 attendees received spiritual support. The House of Prayer was kept open 24 hours a day during the camporee. People had the opportunity to spend intimate moments with God, meditate on His Word, pray, shed tears if needed, share their distress, or express their gratitude. Also, camporee participants were able to receive psychological support, thanks to stations distributed throughout the camp. Many others received training on various honors.

Juan Mariño, of the Central East Venezuela Conference and one of the counselors during the event, explained that “many young people, teens and pre-teens, arrived in this place with their parents because they have problems in their homes. Here, they found practical advice.”

On the other hand, Samuel Peña, who traveled from Mexico and oversaw the camporee instructors, shared that in this, his first visit to Venezuela, he enjoyed the enthusiasm and affection of the people, their interest in learning, their specific questions, and their brave spirit. “Human warmth is very beautiful here,” Peña said.

During the camporee, regional church leaders highlighted the missionary medical cadets project, whose members participated in the event, helping to keep participants healthy. More than 50 attendees were certified as new members of the team.

In closing, Peralta emphasized the importance of aligning personal dreams with God’s dreams. “When you allow God to work in you and align your dreams with God’s dream for your life, not even the devil can stop those dreams from being fulfilled,” he said.

The original version of this story was posted on the Inter-American Division news site.

Steven’s Rosado and Inter-American Division News