It’s been nearly five years since the last South American Pathfinder Camporee. Now, once again a sea of tents was erected in Parque do Peão, in Barretos in preparation for a deluge of Pathfinders. The “Best Adventure” Camporee opened on Tuesday evening with a record audience of 40 thousand in the arena. Hundreds of kitchen, safety, medical and other support services assisted the event.
Pastor Uldocy Zukowski, Pathfinder director for eight South American countries, plunged the hatchet into a wood carving to officially launch the largest ever Pathfinder Camporee.
Dignitaries recognize Adventist contribution
The governor of the State of São Paulo, João Doria Jr., was present in the first moments of the program and addressed his words not only to Brazilian participants, but also to the representatives of each of the other seven countries, with whom he spoke in Spanish. Doria classified the Camporee not only as an encounter of faith, but of hope.
"Our continent is growing stronger from faith, what we have in our hearts, and the faith we dedicate to God," he said. He further underlined the importance of friendships, especially those that will be made over the course of days. "Love is the expression of faith. And those who love respect God, respect the family, respect their friends, respect their country. "
Doria concluded by emphasizing the contribution the Adventist Church has made to society, both in Brazil and in other countries. This tone was also shared by the mayor of Barretos, Guilherme Ávila, who recalled how the Pathfinders have benefited the city in social and health actions, both in 2014, when the fourth edition of the South American Camporee was held, and during the current Camporee.
Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro was not present but sent a letter to participants, read by Pastor Helio Carnassale, director of Religious Freedom for the Adventist Church in eight South American countries. "I know that among you, Brazilians, there are also Adventist youth from sister countries. In the same way, they serve God and want the best for humanity. I call on you to welcome them and show them the well-known hospitality of the Brazilian people," he wrote. "May they enjoy the meeting that they will surely have with God, and may this make all the difference in the continuity of the spiritual life of all of you, Brazilians and foreign brothers."
Choices for new life
Thirty Pathfinders made decisions for Christ during the opening ceremony. Among them was Dalma Vilano, 13, from a club in Uruguay. She has fulfilled the regular classes of Friend and Companion. In addition, she completed Bible studies with the club and didn’t think twice when given the opportunity to be baptized at Camporee. "It's a very good emotion because I'm going to give my life to God. All that I do will be for Him," she shared, just minutes before being baptized.
Vilano is a resident of Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay. Her family was not able to attend her baptism, but not even their absence hindered her from making this decision. "Camporee is a very special moment. It is already something very beautiful to surrender to God, what to say of doing it at Camporee!" she rejoiced.