JET-SETTING PATHFINDERS SURPRISED BY GRACE
17th August 2015
Five British Pathfinder clubs reached out to make new friends as they flew to Switzerland to join clubs from the Inter-European Division (EUD) at their international camporee. On Sunday, 2 August, members of the Gatwick, Ashford, Brighton, Hull and North West London Portuguese clubs took the long journey to beautiful Estavayer-Le-Lac in north-west Switzerland.
Representing the British Union Conference they found themselves amongst over 2,500 other Pathfinders from countries such as France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Portugal as well as the hosts, Switzerland – with flags of many nations proudly on display during the parade at the opening ceremony led by the Gatwick Drum Corps. However, the British were not the only guests at this camporee. Other visitors came from the United States, Malaysia, Singapore and Brazil and added much to the excitement at the camp.
The grace of God shone throughout the week with the temperature reaching highs of 400C - a stark contrast to the temperatures British Pathfinders are used to camping in back home. The good weather re-emphasised the theme of the camp, 'Surprised By Grace'.
Throughout the week, Pathfinders engaged in various honours and activities including water sports and a boat race in stunning Lake Neuchâtel. Each night they followed the story of Jonah as he journeyed his way to Nineveh on 'The Whale Way' whilst they gained an insight into the sinful lives of the Ninevites - courtesy of guest speaker, Miki Jovanovic. Engaging morning worships were led by General Conference Pathfinder director, Pastor Jonatan Tejel. He shared personal stories from his life and experience to demonstrate to the young people examples of how God always has a tendency to surprise us even when it is least expected.
The camp provided an opportunity for international friendships to be formed and allowed local Pathfinder clubs to appreciate the larger Pathfinder community that they are a part of including the vastness, versatility and diversity of the international Pathfinder movement. It was a week of discovery, fun and spiritual growth ending with the baptism of seven young people backdropped by the beauty of a Swiss sunset.
Sadly BUC Youth and Pathfinder director, Nathan Stickland, missed the camporee due to illness. However, he sees such events as life-changing and highly encourages them. He notes that "Camporees happen throughout the year in all parts of the world", stating that "It's always a horizon extending experience to visit other countries to join with their camporee."
Next year you may find a few other countries coming to the UK as the BUC will run its quadrennial camporee somewhere in Wales. Full details will be available by the end of October at www.adventistyouth.org.uk but book your diary now for 26 July - 2 August 2016.
A selection of photos involving some of the British Pathfinders can be seen on the Adventist Church's picture gallery. Daily video reports and more from the camporee can be viewed here: http://aycamporee.org/video-reports.