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Recent NEWS!


August 21, 2014

Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America Releases Statement on Unrest in Ferguson, Mo.

Silver Spring, Md. — The President of The Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America Daniel R. Jackson, issued the following statement in response to the ongoing unrest in Ferguson, Missouri on August 9, 2014: 

“As a part of the larger family of America, Seventh-day Adventists grieve with Michael Brown’s family and extend our heartfelt condolences for their tragic loss. We are praying for our Ferguson community family who are in such great pain.  

 “We pray that justice will replace injustice, that truth will replace deceit, that inequality will be replaced by equitable brotherhood and that God's peace will prevail. We pray that the deeper issues made obvious by this situation will be addressed with immediacy, courage and effectiveness.  We acknowledge that the pain being experienced today has not emerged out of this single incident but is rather a part of a much larger universal cry for justice.  

 “I pray that we will all hear with our ears and our hearts the words of a wise man who once said:  ‘He has shown you O man what is good.  And what does the Lord require of you, but to do justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.’  We will keep praying.”
 
ABOUT THE SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST CHURCH
The Seventh-day Adventist Church is a mainstream Protestant church with approximately 18 million members worldwide with more than one million members in North America. The Seventh-day Adventist Church, following the example of Jesus Christ, seeks to enhance quality of life for people everywhere. Their lives will illustrate both faith in God and the church's commitment to the betterment of all human beings.



August 16, 2014

Investiture Program Pins Master Guide Pathfinders Ages 17-77



Intentional leadership and mentoring is a strategic part of the program for the Night Hawks Pathfinders from the New Hope Church in Fulton, Maryland.
 
This Saturday, August 16, seven members of their club were invested as master guides at the “Forever Faithful” International Pathfinder Camporee in Oshkosh, Wis.  
 
Kiralin Francis, Night Hawks Pathfinder counselor and teen leader in training (TLT), age 17, has been in Pathfinders since age 10 and was invested as a master guide with two others her age. “Our leaders have pretty much always been master guides,” said Francis. “They showed lots of dedication to the club. That was really important to me when I was younger.”
 
Benjamin Eapn, another 17-year-old master guide TLT Pathfinder invested was motivated to complete the master guide program to catch up to his cousin, another 17-year-old master guide, TLT, Allan Mathew. Eapn wanted to be invested at Oshkosh because, “the environment of being around a bunch of other Pathfinders, 40,000 plus other kids around you, I feel like it is a bit more respected. When you are here, among your peers, they know.”
 
“If you just try your best you can do it,” said Eapn. “The club is pretty supportive. Age is not a boundary that we keep on kids. We have kids that are younger and we let them come on trips and teach them.”
 
Mathew says when he saw everyone getting pins and honors at Pathfinders when he started he was motivated and earned 20 honors his first year.  “Pathfinders have been a big part of my life. My parents, they are also Pathfinders back in India, so it goes on for generations.”
 
Another Pathfinder who was invested with her master guide was 77 year old, Gloria Dixit from the Night Hawks. Dixit lives in both Maryland and Toronto, spending time in each location to be near family. She earned most of her master guide qualifications back when she attended Spicer College in India. After she had raised her children and had grandchildren she decided it was her turn. “I always wanted to do master guide,” said Dixit.
 
To complete the qualifications she had to take wilderness survival and went camping in the rain for four days. From 1979-1992 Dixit also worked with Pathfinders when her family was involved.
 
This is the first International Pathfinder Camporee that Dixit has attended. “Oshkosh is great. Once in a lifetime.”
 
All of these master guide candidates in one club is not accidental, according to Ann Roda, pastor at the New Hope Adventist Church, Fulton, Maryland. “We are intentionally incorporating into the teen leadership training the master guide. Already we are targeting some of our younger kids, ages 10 and 11, looking at some of their leadership potential and kind of targeting them. We can nurture them from a young age.”
 
Link to Pathfinder Master Guide requirements.
http://gcyouthministries.org/Leadership/MasterGuide/MasterGuideRequirements/tabid/127/Default.aspx


Battle of the Entrances: It's About Building a Kingdom
by Conna Bond

If you walk around the campgrounds at the 2014 Forever Faithful International Camporee, you may suspect that a “Battle of the Entrances” is going on, with unions, conferences, and individual Pathfinder clubs vying to build the biggest and best entrances for their club or regional campsites. It’s not really a battle, though. The entrances are open invitations to connect and interact. It’s less, “We’re here!” and more “Come in and get to know us!”

The Oklahoma Conference entrance features a massive replica of a feather headdress that reflects the rich Native American heritage of Oklahoma and its “natives” of all races. You can walk right through the headdress and into the sea of matching tents that shelter the 467 Pathfinders from Oklahoma. Each of the 17 clubs from the Oklahoma Conference has its own identifying feather from the headdress, representing both regional unity and unity in Christ.

Like many conferences from the North American Division, the Oklahoma Conference hosts Pathfinders and church dignitaries from other countries for the camporee, providing space and supplies and “putting more water in the soup,” so to speak, so others outside the NAD can more easily attend. This welcoming spirit makes it possible for many Pathfinders from around the world to participate who might otherwise be left out. This year, the Oklahoma Conference is hosting church officials and youth leaders from the Korean Union Conference.

Next door to the Oklahoma headdress is a replica of The Alamo that serves as the entrance to the Texas Conference campsite, where 4,400 Pathfinders and leaders are gathered. It took Johnathan Coker, a former student of Southwestern Adventist and Andrews Universities, between 300 and 400 hours to build the entrance out of 4-by-16-foot pieces of expanded polystyrene foam (EPS), paint, and a lot of special-order glue. He worked from high-resolution photos of the actual Alamo, building it half-scale to the original.

 “I tried to base everything on the original monument,” he says. Working with foam, however, imposed some limitations. “It was hard to copy the intricate carvings from the original,” he continued. “For me, it’s about aesthetics. It’s about making a statement that things that are grand and large and beautiful really matter—like beautiful churches and sanctuaries. God designed us to like things that are beautiful for a reason. Aesthetics matter to God. When we devalue aesthetics because they aren’t practical, we cut ourselves off from that part of His character that loves beautiful things.”

According to Armando Miranda, associate youth director for the Texas Conference, it’s about building other beautiful things as well. “Pathfinders is one of the most important youth evangelism programs we have in Texas,” he says. “It’s a vibrant ministry. In the past three years we’ve baptized more than 100 young people.” In essence, building beautiful entrances represents the process of building a beautiful kingdom for God.

The Potomac Conference entrance is another stand-out this year. A small army of conference volunteers came to Oshkosh ahead of time to erect a three-story, fort-like structure out of local wood and hand-lashed bamboo with an “eagle’s nest” that offers a stunning 360-degree view of the campgrounds. Harold Linzeau, area coordinator for the Potomac Conference, says the idea behind building the structure was to invite interaction with passersby. The structure provides an almost irresistible invitation to climb.

“When you’re part of a Pathfinder club,“ Linzeau says, “your world is your club. It’s all about you. Then when you get together for your regional camporees, you get a bigger view and start to realize that it’s not just about your club. And then when you climb up three stories high and see the endless number of tents stretching out all around you, representing Pathfinders and clubs literally from around the world, you’re reminded of the larger community to which you belong. We built this structure so other Pathfinders would interact with us and experience that same sense of community and worldwide belonging.”

Large or small, each club or regional sign or entrance represents an invitation to connect and to join together in building a beautiful kingdom that will last for eternity.

Photography by Rich Herard, James Bokovoy, and Bryant Taylor

Exhibits with a Mission at International Pathfinder Camporee
by Tamara Wolcott Fisher

In a world where people typically want to sell you something, there are a few booths at the “Forever Faithful” International Pathfinder Camporee in Oshkosh, Wis., that want to share.
 
If one were to wander around Hangar A you would find Adventist Mission, HOPE Channel, and Middle East and North Africa Union who each represent service opportunities for the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
 
“We have found that most missionaries have made their decisions back when they were like eight, nine, ten years old,” said Nancy Kyte, marketing director for Adventist Mission. “We want to be here to let them know that being a missionary is a worthy career.”
 
Adventist Mission created a place at their exhibit where Pathfinders could come, try on hats from different parts of the world, and take a photo with their camera or phone.   Another very popular exhibit booth to visit is the HOPE Channel. Instead of pin trading, HOPE Channel created a TAG hunt where participants search throughout camporee for tags from North America, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, and Antarctica; with clues from their TAG HUNTER booklet.
 
The Middle East and North Africa Union is sharing awareness of their unique mission field to the Muslim culture and how Pathfinders can be involved. Many have painted their thumbs and imprinted the map wall that is used as a backdrop for the booth. The exhibit also invited responses on mission and want people to respond in a heart language.
 
Other ministry exhibits at Camporee include the Just Claim It Prayer Wall. Pathfinders can sign their name and prayer request on the wall and those working the booth for the North American Division Youth Department will pray over those names and requests. They will even take your photo at their exhibit.
 
ADRA (Adventist Development Relief Agency) also has a ministry exhibit nearby in Hangar C. They encompass the entire back part of the facility and their goal is to educate Pathfinders that not everyone has a grocery store with packaged broccoli nearby. Their exhibit shows realities of life like how to obtain clean drinking water and the necessities of a latrine. ADRA searches out deprivation, social injustice, and need – and then works to eliminate them.  
 
Adventist World Radio (AWR) has an exhibit at camporee for the very first time. They really wanted to broaden their awareness, says Shelley Nolan Freesland, communication director for Adventist World Radio. Their exhibit is outside near the hangars and consists of a rock climbing wall and a tent where people can take a quiz to learn more about AWR.
 
Freesland added, “We are glad to get exposure and the chance to talk to people about AWR. Between short wave and our FM stations we have the potential to reach three quarters of the worlds’ population, in nearly 100 languages. Our podcast system is available at AWR.com and on iTunes. Apparently, we are the biggest provider of content on iTunes.”

Photography by Brent Hardinge

Shofar Help Pathfinders Pause, Remember to Pray
by V. Michelle Bernard
 
It was 8:40 a.m. and 17-year-old David Nazaire realized he didn’t have his shofar. He ran straight across the massive campground and returned to a hangar to meet his club, the Hackettstown/Rockaway Guardians from New Jersey, at 8:58, just in time.
 
Each day during the Forever Faithful International Camporee at 9 a.m.Noon and 6 p.m. Nazaire and hundreds of others scattered around the campground play a shofar, alerting the people around him that it is time to pray.
 
Playing the shofar is hard says Nazaire, a trumpet-player who says he’s learned the trick, to blow it from the side of his lip. “It just takes practice," he says.
 
Nazaire’s pastor, Jorge Coxaj, gave him and two of his friends shofars at the beginning of the camporee and asked them to play it three times a day.
 
Coxaj explains that in the Bible the shofar was made from the horns of animals sacrificed. “Every time it was played it reminded the people of the animal that died to take their place, which they all understood was Christ. …”I gave them the shofar and told them to play it… to remind the people to stop and pray at those times.”
 
Each Pathfinder club at the event was given a shofar, and campers enjoy the daily reminders they bring.
 
Landon Mercer, a 10-year-old member of Capitol City Ambassador Pathfinder club from Olympia, Wash. had a chance to play the shofar and says that playing it is harder than playing the trumpet, but he likes it because it’s loud. And he likes loud things.
 
Opal Singer, one of Mercer’s counselors likes that the shofar reminds people to pray, because “we don’t do it often enough,” she says. “God is often placed on the back burner, but this brings Him back to the front again. “
 
Marybel Vega, the treasurer/secretary of the San Diego South Bay Believers
says hearing the horns has helped a lot. “When I hear it I walk and pray,” she says. “There is so much going on day by day, you need somebody to remind you to stop, but when you do hear it (the shofar), it is a blessed moment,” says Vega. “I wish I had it every day.”

Photography by V. Michelle Bernard



August 15, 2014


Pin Trading Brings Conversation, Fun, and Memories


Pathfinders at the “Forever Faithful” International Pathfinder Camporee in Oshkosh, Wis., cannot go anywhere without someone approaching and asking if they want to trade pins. The exact number of pins traded is unknown but the passion for trading is very visible.
 
Steve Durant, with the Timberwolves Pathfinder Club from Westminster, Md., says, “Pin trading allows you to meet new people that you don’t really know even if the relationship only lasts for a few seconds.” Durant came to camporee with 20 pins but has traded for many more. 
 
“Esther” Jung Kyue Young, from Korea, is the director of the Oseo Pathfinder club. She makes friends by trading pins and even gave out 100 fortune bags to new friends. She plans to go home and give the pins to her club.
 
“The pin trading secret is to make sure the other person walks away happy with the trade,” said Don Adams, Pathfinder Director of the Edmond, Oklahoma club.
 
Some of the most sought after pins to trade at camporee include: the Pacific Union Conference pin that opens with a panoramic view; a trio set of badges from Potomac Conference; and the Beltsville, Md. Bronco white horse pin.
 
Pathfinders not only trade pins but they can also purchase them from The Pin King booth in hangar A. Pins cost from $6-$10, and they sell about 60 different pins, many as sets. Mark Miosi, who owns an audio/visual business, owns the booth and loves to design and sell pins. In 1999, Miosi attended camporee and fell in love with pin trading. In 2004, he opened The Pin King booth and has been back every camporee. Miosi advises which pins have more value: pins from this year’s camporee; a basic pin that has extras dangles, spinner and/or blinkies; and limited edition, staff only pins.
 
Pathfinders can also earn a Pin Trading Honor sponsored by the Georgia-Cumberland Conference. There is a list of 14 requirements including: what pins can be worn on your Pathfinder uniform or sash, what are the three “F”s of pin trading, and make trade pins with 10 different people, eight of which must new friends.
 
For Igor Tsvetkov, staff member with the Patterson Redeemers Pathfinders from Richmond, Va., pins are sentimental. “If you want to meet a lot of other people and spend time with people from other countries, you have got to do pin trading. It’s easy to talk to people when you have pins to trade.”
 
Jennifer Robles, counselor for Pleasant Grove Mensajeros from the Dallas, Texas, says, “Whenever you walk by, from camp to camp, you just hear these different languages mixing in. The commons words are pin trading or pins. It is a blessing to meet all these new friends, we are all connected by our love for God and it is fun.”
 
Luis Alvarez and Elvin Armenta, with the Kansas City, Mo., Alpha Omega Pathfinder Club, are first time pin traders who really enjoy meeting others. Alvarez said, “I traded the first day for a big New York pin, the guy was leaving and did not want to trade, but I walked with him and he traded it to me.”
 
Armenta said, “I think it will be really cool to have all those pins on my Pathfinder uniform.  It will be cool to show that I went to Oshkosh and traded pins.”
 
Eric Serpas, Northshore Stars, in Ill., traded his rare guitars for a rarer still fourth pin to the Potomac Conference badges. “My advice on pin trading, it is not about getting a collection because everyone wants it. If there is something that you like, just get that. Don’t go with the crowd.”

Photography by Bryant Taylor and Brent Hardinge

Pathfinders Touch Hearts, Help Community
By V. Michelle Bernard

In between pin-trading, earning honors, and exploring the massive exhibit halls of the Forever Faithful International Camporee, more than 60 pathfinders piled into a yellow bus Thursday morning, headed for the Salvation Army Community Center in Fond du Lac.
 
The outing was one of the many community service events planned during the camporee. Other clubs spent the morning making arts and crafts with children at the Neenah Public Library, cleaning up the Winneconne lakeshore, volunteering at the Lutheran Homes and Health Services in Fond Du Luc, among other projects.
 
But at the Salvation Army Community Center, clubs from Colorado, Virginia and New York pulled weeds, cleaned windows, loaded boxes into trucks and packed lunches. The tasks may seem menial, but they mean a lot to the Salvation Army staff.

The Fredericksburg Patriots from Virginia, unloaded a truck full of seasonal supplies for Michael Detert, thrift store manager, saving his staff almost two hours of work.
 
The Orange Prayer Warriors, also from Virginia, pulled weeds and washed windows, finishing tasks that would take a Salvation Army staffer more than four hours, says Connie Millard, community development director.
 
“As the weeds grow people would walk past and wonder if things are okay, is there life happening there,” says Millard about their need for help cleaning up the facility.
 
“They took what would have taken hours for staff and allowed us to do what we need to do and still make it (our office) beautiful,” she says. “It shows our neighbors we are here and care,” says Millard.
 
But these service projects do more than help the community, they help the pathfinders live out their faith.
 
David Skrowbowski, a TLT in the Oakwood Knights Pathfinder club in Taylor, Mich.’s club helped clean up the grounds of the Lutheran Homes and Health Services in Fond du Lac.
 
“As Christians our ultimate goal over everything is serving others, which is ultimately serving Christ in the end,” he says.


Exploring Oshkosh Cuisine with President Jackson



Watch as Dan Jackson, president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America, visits the food vendors at the Forever Faithful International Camporee, held in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. http://vimeo.com/103553429


August 14

Bike for Life Pedals to Oshkosh from North Carolina
By Tamara Wolcott Fisher

People travel in a variety of ways to reach the Forever Faithful International Pathfinder Camporee held in Oshkosh, Wis., August 11-16, 2014. Many spend hours and arrive by bus, Pathfinders from other countries travel via airplane, but eleven Carolina Conference Pathfinders rode their bikes.
 
Ranging in age from 13 to 67, the Bike for Life group from the Carolina’s pedaled 830 miles to attend the international event. The group left Asheville on July 27 and arrived in Oshkosh on August 12 around 12:30 pm. According to rider Brian Aalborg, from Charlotte, the bike riders average 60 miles per day, with 110 miles on a long day and 40 on a short day. The group stayed in Adventist churches and schools or other faith community locations along the way and even took time to stop in Battle Creek, Mich., to tour Adventist village. They also took Sabbath off from riding.
 
“When I stared the ride I had not been on a bike for 6 weeks,” said Kathy New, who attends The Gate church in Canton, North Carolina, and sits on the Pathfinder Council for the conference. “The kids realized I could not keep up and the boys would ride in front on me and break the wind. The girls would say, ‘Come on Ms. Kathy. You can make it.’ It really encouraged me.” When people would find out one rider was 67 and that New was 64 they were surprised.
 
New said the first ride took place in 1999. The group was so impressed with the changes for both Pathfinders and adults that they decided to make the Bike for Life an annual event and they have done so every year, except one. The Pathfinder group rides for one week each summer to locations in the Carolinas and beyond.
 
Jordan Zinke and her dad, David, from the Greeneville Northstars Pathfinder Club in North Carolina, is age 13 and trained two months for the ride. She said the challenge for her was the headwinds because she is so light. “God blessed me because He made my will power stronger. I asked God to give me strength.”
 
David Zinke led the pack with a radio in one ear and directions in the other. “God blessed me. He allowed me to experience this with new people and a new sport,” said Zinke. “It is amazing when you get a bunch of people together that close doing something that is rigorous there is a lot of opportunity for people’s temperaments to come out.  I think we really came through as a group and I think that our Christian experience came through.”
 
A challenge for Zinke along the trip was securing his cell phone to his bike. He tried three different devices and finally created his own with a belt clip. He is a mechanical engineer by trade.
 
The group also gave away Forever Faithful Tour brochures that share health information and websites directing people to Bible studies and health sites.