August 20, 2019
“Teach your children right from wrong, and when they are grown, they will still do right” Proverbs 22:6 (Contemporary English Version).
This famous Solomonic proverb came to my mind last Wednesday evening when the recently elected mayor of the city of Oshkosh, Wis., Lori Palmeri, welcomed the 50,000 plus attendants to the International Pathfinder Camporee.
On behalf of the city of Oshkosh, she also expressed appreciation to the Seventh-day Adventist Church for considering her city to hold this fantastic, peaceful and instructional event for sixth time in this city, highlighting the value of this gathering with the most essential group in today’s world: the young people.
She also thanked the Pathfinders for helping her city by the community service provided, by the significant revenue impact and by the publicity of her city around the world.
On a personal note, she told the audience that she was very well acquainted with the ministry of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and the positive influence of Pathfinder clubs. Her mother was a Pathfinder when she was young, and her grandmother was also a Seventh-day Adventist church member who used to attend camp meetings. When she was younger, Lori was baptized at one of these camp meetings.
Speaking of baptism, it was reported on the last evening that about 1,300 young people were baptized at this camporee, making their decision to commit their lives to Jesus and be His followers. The baptisms took place every evening before the night program at the Main Stage, and Thelma Hambrick, our SCC Baptism Coordinator, informed me that other SCC pastors and I had baptized 98 Pathfinders from our conference. Praise the Lord for such a wonderful gift from Heaven! Glory to God for the work of the Holy Spirit! And a big thank you to all those who, in one way or another, inspired, influenced and instructed, these Pathfinders to reach this point in their spiritual journey. To family members, church members, pastors and school teachers — thank you, and God bless your ministry.
Coming to these camporees is a life-changing experience for many for the Pathfinders. I vividly recall back in 2009, here in Oshkosh, having a conversation with a TLT (Teen in Leadership Training) Pathfinder who told me that the Lord was calling him to be a pastor. That night next to our tents in open space we prayed, and we asked God for more clarity and evidence about that call. Last Thursday evening, I was thrilled when I saw that TLT, Pastor Jason Whitley, 10 years later baptizing his Pathfinders from Camarillo church along with Pastor Jillian (Spencer) Lutes, another Pathfinder who now is also a pastor. These two former Pathfinders became Master Guides, and now both are pastors in our conference. Praise the Lord for the Pathfinders ministry!
This year, many NAD conference presidents attended and supported our NAD Pathfinders Camporee by helping at the prayer tent and the baptismal tanks, and I volunteered to pray for two afternoons (Thursday & Friday) and for baptism in the evenings (Wednesday-Friday, Saturday a.m. & p.m.).
The rest of the time I spent either visiting our 63 SCC clubs sites encouraging, talking and praying with Pathfinders and their support staff. My days began at 7:30 a.m. at the SCC club directors meeting and immediately I rushed to their devotionals by sections or by clubs until 9:30 a.m. Otherwise, I would miss them since the Pathfinders were earning honors or participating in community service activities until supper at 5 p.m. By 6 p.m., I was at the baptismal pools ready for the baptisms.
BTW, there were more than 1,600 people from SCC attending this camporee. Wow! We were a considerable crowd, and this year, we were placed in a prime location: next to the “main street” where most of the campers passed by, and we had the opportunity to interact with many more people.
Here is other info from this camporee:
- NextGen Pastors: More than 1,500 boys and girls expressed their desire to be pastors in the future. I met and prayed with 4-5 from SCC.
Next camporee in Oshkosh
- Date: August 12-17, 2024
- Biblical Heroes: Myriam and Moses
- Theme: “Believe the Promise”
- International Pathfinders
- Our L.A. Chinese Pathfinder Club hosted pathfinders who came from Hong Kong and China.
Kudos to Elder Bob Wong and the camporee team, Steve and Lynnette Clement, Antonia Elenes, Rosa Chavez, Resa Recalde, Norman Whitley, Dinora Moreno, Isaias Garcia, Juan Gomez, Matthew Reyes and Esther Ong, who worked so hard to make this experience smooth and safe for our conference attendees.
• Session Town Halls: Beginning next Monday, August 26, five special meetings are scheduled across our SCC territory (click here for details) for our constituency session delegates (and open to church members). The purpose of these meetings is to prepare delegates with clear orientation and to provide relevant information they need to be an informed participant at the constituency session.
• Nominating Committee: On September 8, from 3-8 p.m., this committee will be available at the conference office to receive from DELEGATES any input, comment or concern regarding the nominating committee report. Please ask your pastor for guidance on this matter.
• 65th SCC Constituency Session: This important meeting will be held on Sunday, September 22, 2019, at the White Memorial SDA Church from 7:55 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Your fellow traveler,
Velino A. Salazar
Southern California Conference