MIRACLES AND WITNESSING: 'ANCHORED' – BUC PATHFINDER CAMPOREE
11th August 2016
The BUC Pathfinder Camporee which finished on Saturday evening, 6 August, was preceded by a week of adventurous and varied activities, a day trip to caves which produced witness opportunities, and worships that led hundreds to come forward to commit their lives to Jesus, at Pembrey Country Park, Wales.
In the months running up to the event some people had even raised the question of whether there would be enough Pathfinders to attend the camporee due to other events happening this summer. After an eleventh hour rush on registrations, which tested even experienced leaders' nerves, we ended up with about 800 Pathfinders and staff. Seemingly there were other attempts at scuttling the plans for the camporee, including suppliers pulling out in the weeks before the camp, until a miracle of timing on the Friday before the camp started, signified that the purposes of God cannot be thwarted.
The marquee company, who hadn't yet finished erecting the main marquee due to delays in their other work earlier in the week, submitted a final bill with the demand of immediate payment. This impossible request came after lunch on Friday when the BUC office had closed for the weekend. After prayer by the advance camp party, who had been informed of the situation, it transpired that all things are down to God's timing.
The associate treasurer said for some unknown reason, he had delayed his departure from Watford to attend the Swansea church opening. He was contacted while he was about to reverse out of his drive to make the westerly journey. That four-hour delay meant he could go to the office and authorise the payment. But we were unable to make contact with the cashier who had to make the payment. Then, remarkably, the cashier sauntered into the office because he had lost his house keys and wanted to check if there was a spare key at the office! There is more to the story, but it was a magnificent sequence of timing, and we thank God that the transaction was made and the marquee construction completed in time for the opening ceremony.
It shows that what God intends to take place cannot be prevented.
After that miracle of timing, there was a sense that nothing could stop the Spirit of God caring for the camp. There was some disappointing weather, but the Pathfinders got on with camp life. Activities included honours such as; Electricity, Shells, an ADRA badge, Horse Husbandry, and a new Ghanaian-based Adinkra badge.
Pastor Obinnaya Iheoma, commenting on the Sanctuary honour he led, said, "I have delivered the honour at many camporees… The attitudes of the campers in attendance, especially at the Sanctuary honour booth was exemplary and I believe it to be a reflection of the message delivered by the two emotive speakers Jonathan and Richard. If all camporees were like this, I would do [it] again and again and encourage more people to attend."
The adventure activities included the climbing tower, skiing and donutting on the dry ski slope, scooters at the skate park, canoeing, and horse riding. A community service project meant a team weeded, cleaned, and painted two anchors near the main entrance to the eight-mile sandy beach.
On the Friday of camp, 742 visited the Dan-Yr-Ogof show caves; a chance to view from underground the results of the flood and natural erosion. With so many visiting the caves it could easily have put off other visitors. What the Pathfinders do not know is the influence on one visiting family. We have received an email from a public visitor who expressed their praise at the good nature and commendable behaviour of the different groups he spoke to. He went as far as saying, "I am not at all religious but the sound of some of your groups singing in the caves was a highlight of our holiday. It was beautiful." We never know the influence we have on others, when we are 'courteous and obedient' and 'keep a song in our heart'.
Thursday evening the newly elected TED Pathfinder director, Peter-Bo Bohsen, ran an incident hike, and Sabbath afternoon offered the opportunity for a Bible Beach Art activity while the sea was out. You can view a video of Peter-Bo Bohsen at the camporee here.
Thank you to the wonderful BUC staff, new and old, and to the two speakers, Pastors Richard Reid and Jonathan Burnett, who between them made appeals which produced commitments from Pathfinders and staff to be 'Anchored' in their faith in Jesus Christ.
Already the invitation was made for BUC Pathfinders to join together again next time in Scotland, unless our hope in Jesus' return is realised.