I was ten years old the first time I spent a week away from home. My mom bought me a sleeping bag and I headed off to my first International Pathfinder Camporee. I was nervous and excited! I didn’t know what a Pathfinder was or what we were going to be doing on a commercial speedway for a week, but it seemed like it would be a fun adventure!
This was my first event with the Seventh-day Adventist Church. To be honest, I didn’t even really didn’t know what a Seventh-day Adventist was! I knew that some family members were Adventist and they had invited me to attend this huge campout with them. They were kind and loved Jesus. I had started to learn about God and wanted to know more.
So, I piled into a van with my cousins and some other kids and headed to Colorado. During the road trip I made some new friends, learned some songs and played car games. When we arrived, I was amazed by the sea of people in front of me. I had never seen so many people! All of these kids were here to learn about God and spend time with other Christian kids? Amazing!
Every day we made our “beds” and made sure our tents were orderly. We had breakfast and devotional time with our group before heading off to do all kinds of activities, from interacting with nature to crafting, mechanics and learning about camping skills. There was so much to do and see! Not only were there a ton of different activities, but a ton of different people, too! It was awesome to see all the cultures, countries and languages around us.
In the evening, this sea of people from around the world would gather together to sing praises and learn about God’s love, Bible stories and Jesus’s sacrifice. The program was great and you could tell a lot of work had gone into it. I wondered how such a big event could come together, how much dedication and passion these Christians had and what this all meant for my life.
The week ended and I headed home, a little different than when I had left. A few years later my family started attending a Seventh-day Adventist Church in Fort Worth, Texas. To my joy and surprise I learned that the International Pathfinder Camporee happens every five years, and I was able to go again and bring my two brothers. It was one of the coolest experiences of our lives! The last time I went to the International Pathfinder Camporee, I was a counselor and was in charge of my own group of kids. Ten-year-old me would have never imagined I would have been back at this enormous event as a leader.
In Jeremiah 29:11 the Bible tells us, "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" I had no idea what God had in store for me that summer many years ago. But, He used one special trip and a few special people to teach me about Him and His church. God has awesome plans for your life. Pay attention because if you let Him, He will take you on some amazing adventures!
By Kristina Pascual, Managing Editor