Young people responded to a call for baptism as Andrés Peralta, associate director of Youth Ministries for the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, spoke at the end of day three of the 5th Pathfinder Camporee of the Inter-American Division in the Trelawny Multipurpose Stadium in Jamaica on April 6.
“I have a burden in my heart tonight,” Peralta said. “I want one person who came to this camp, who is not an Adventist and is not baptized, to come forward, and I will pray for you.” One person responded, then another, and in a few minutes more than 120 had come from their seats.
“You might be afraid because you are going to face battles in life. Trust me, we all have battles to face, so the question is, What kind of battles are you facing tonight?” Peralta asked.
Even when God had assured Gideon that He would win the battles, Gideon still struggled with his own battles. “Some people fight battles they are not supposed to fight,” Peralta said. “What kind of battles are you facing at home, or what kind of battles are you facing silently?”
Battles can take any form, such as relationship pressures, inner battles, doubts, abuse, trauma, or fear, Peralta said. “The internal battle is the greatest battle to face,” he said. He reassured the large crowd that God in His mercy and greatness comes to the rescue. “Even though we have doubts while we are facing our battles, God comes to meet us where we are, much like Gideon’s experience.”
Andrae Walters, a bus driver who had been transporting groups of Pathfinders and their leaders to the campgrounds, surprised a group of campers from Belize when he showed up to get baptized at a pool close to the stage.
His interactions with the Pathfinders, especially those from Belize, revived an internal battle he was having.
“I normally have questions,” Walters said. “I believe in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The Bible speaks about the Sabbath. Sunday worship [comes] from the sun god days, so why celebrate Sunday?” he said.
He attributes his move toward baptism to the conversations he had with the Pathfinders from Belize.
“The folks from Belize encouraged me a lot. Whenever we go out, instead of them enjoying themselves, they would sit and talk with me about God, saying, ‘Come on, Andre, do it tonight. We are not forcing you; just go home and think about it.’”
Walters kept thinking about it. When he arrived home Thursday night, he called his mother and told her of his decision.
“I didn’t tell anyone else. I’ve had a lot of questions, but my heart feels comfortable here,” Walters said. As he entered the stadium, Walters ran straight to the pool.
After seven Pathfinders were baptized, it was Walters’ turn. Pathfinders cheered as he was baptized.
As he exited the pool, he was greeted by his mother and the Pathfinders from Belize.
“I feel brand new,” he said.