Nothing but smiles appeared on hundreds of children’s faces in Seventh-day Adventist homes across Puerto Rico as Adventurer Clubs around the island joined together for a recent online camporee.
The island-wide Adventurers Camporee drew more than 550 children ages 4 to 9 for a weekend at home to study the Bible; take part in spiritual, physical, and missionary challenges; earn dozens of honors, and more. Several clubs pitched socially distanced tents on their church’s grounds for several hours during the day for safe interactivity during the three-day event, held April 16-18, 2021.
“It was important to allow this young generation to remember … that each one of them has the mission to share the gospel to those around them,” David Sebastian, youth ministries director in Puerto Rico and main organizer of the event, said. “We didn’t want them to miss out on the scheduled event, but having them take part from home is the best we could offer,” he said. It was the first time that the Adventist Church in Puerto Rico has organized a virtual camporee. The last island-wide Adventurers Club Camporee was held in 2012.
Themed on the life of John the Baptist, the camporee let every Adventurer know that every child has a mission when he or she is born on this earth and that God can equip them just as He did for John the Baptist to fulfill it.
“Our mission is the same as John the Baptist, who prepared the way for the coming of Jesus, so that many can be ready for His second coming and take part in the grand heavenly camporee face-to-face,” Sebastian said as he addressed hundreds of children on the Zoom platform program.
“Kids were so excited and happy that they had a special event just for them and their family members,” Sebastian said later. “Parents sent photos of their physical activity challenges, the spiritual projects their children worked on. Some even got dressed up like in biblical times to imitate the ministry of John the Baptist,” he added. “I even saw videos of Adventurers pretending they were baptizing their siblings and their dogs, so they really got into it.”
“Keep on being active in your club and continue sharing your faith with others,” Luis Rivera, president of the Adventist Church in Puerto Rico, said as he greeted the delegation of Adventurers. Rivera also highlighted the importance of such clubs run by the church as a great tool to keep youngsters participating in fun recreational activities that teach values for life.
Adventist Church associate youth ministries director Andrés Peralta greeted the youngsters during the online program. “I’m so proud that you want to prepare the way for when Jesus comes to this earth, and we want you to know that we are here to support you in that mission,” Peralta said.
Al Powell, youth ministries director for the Adventist Church in the Inter-American Division, reminded Adventurers that God is also relying on them to share God’s love to others. “We are the light in this world, and that means that you too can shine the gospel to others around you,” Powell said.
The event was run from the studios of the union headquarters in Mayagüez, through some pre-recorded presentations, musical segments, animated stories, a virtual parade of each club, and an Honors Fair, which featured 19 different honors taught during live portions of the weekend program. The event also featured online Bible trivia games, times of praying for others in their neighborhoods, recognition of club leaders, an investiture ceremony, and arts and crafts.