There was nothing but smiles across hundreds of children’s faces throughout Seventh-day Adventist homes in Puerto Rico as Adventurer Clubs across the island joined together for an online camporee in April. The island-wide Adventurers Camporee drew more than 550 children ages 4-9 for a weekend at home to study the Bible, take part in spiritual, physical, and missionary challenges, earn dozens of honors, and more. Several clubs pitched socially distanced tents on their church’s grounds for several hours during the day for safe interactivity during the three-day event held April 16-18, 2021.
“It was important to tell this young generation, bogged down in a routine in the midst of a lingering pandemic, that each one of them has a mission to share the gospel to those around them,” says Pastor David Sebastian, youth ministries director for the church in Puerto Rico and main organizer of the event. “We didn’t want them to miss out on the scheduled event planned years ago, and having them take part from home is the best we could offer.”
This was the first time the church in Puerto Rico has organized a virtual camporee. The previous National Adventurer Club Camporee was held in 2012.
Themed on the life of John the Baptist, the camporee let every Adventurer know that every child has a mission when he or she is born on this earth and that God can equip them to fulfill it just like he did John the Baptist.
“Our mission is the same as John The Baptist’s, who prepared the way for the coming of Jesus, so that many can be ready for his second coming and take part in the grand heavenly camporee face-to-face,” said Sebastian as he addressed hundreds of children on the closed Zoom platform.
“Kids were so excited and happy that they had a special event just for them and their family members,” says Sebastian. “Parents sent photos of their physical activity challenges, the spiritual projects they worked on, and even got dressed up like in biblical times to imitate the ministry of John the Baptist. I even saw videos of Adventurers pretending they were baptizing their siblings and their dogs, so they really got into it!”
In his greetings to the Adventurers, Pastor Luis Rivera, president of the church in Puerto Rico, said, “Keep on being active in your club and continue sharing your faith with others.”
Rivera also highlighted the importance of these clubs run by the church as a great tool to keep youngsters participating in fun recreational activities that teach values for life.
Pastor Andres Peralta, Adventist World Church associate ministries director for junior youth, also greeted the youngsters during the online program. “I’m so proud that you want to prepare the way for when Jesus comes to this earth,” he said, “and we want you to know that we are here to support you in that mission.”
Pastor Al Powell, youth ministries director for the church in Inter-America, reminded Adventurers that God is also relying on them to share God’s love to others. “We are the light in this world and that means that you, too, can shine the gospel to others around you,” said Powell.
The event was run from the studios of the union headquarters in Mayagüez through some pre-recorded presentations, musical segments, animated stories, a virtual parade of each club, and an honors fair which featured 19 different honors taught during live portions of the weekend program. The event also featured online Bible trivia games, praying for others in their neighborhoods, recognition of club leaders, an investiture ceremony, and arts and crafts.
To learn more about the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Puerto Rico, its initiatives and activities, visit adventistas.pr.
David Sebastian contributed to this article.