On July 30, 2023, 20 Oregon Conference Pathfinders and staff boarded a plane for 15 hours of flight time over the Pacific Ocean.
They were blessed with the opportunity to attend the third North Asia-Pacific Division Pathfinder Camporee at Sahmyook Adventist University in Seoul, South Korea, joining more than 2,300 other Pathfinders from around the world representing 14 countries including Taiwan, Mexico, Philippines, Mongolia, Japan and, of course, South Korea. In addition to Oregon, there was also U.S. representation from Oklahoma.
For Oregon Pathfinders who attended, this camporee abroad was filled with many of the dynamics they are used to experiencing at a regional camporee, such as inspiring worship services and music, baptisms, pin trading, honors, enacted Bible stories, fancy drills and parades.
Yet, at the same time they were able to experience it from a very different perspective, experiencing a new environment and culture as they were submersed in languages, foods and customs that were very different from those experienced at home.
Pathfinders were able to not only experience Pathfinder ministry outside their bubble and natural habitat, but they were also able to witness the extended reach of biblical narratives and the message of hope in Jesus that Pathfinders are regularly reminded of in their local church, school or club.
In the evenings throughout the week, they witnessed a powerful musical on the life of Joseph and mind-blowing cultural performances, saw their peers from different countries be baptized and heard messages of hope translated from a different language. All these were a subtle reminder that God’s family is world-wide and reaches far beyond our borders.
Throughout the days, Pathfinders had the opportunity to participate in more than 120 activities including archery, knife skills, leather work, knotting, space telescope making, fruit carving, 3D printing, climbing, boating, zip line, water bounce and water activities, just to name a few.
One of the daily afternoon highlights was the interaction with Pathfinders who spoke different languages in their efforts to trade pins and collect as many pieces as possible from other nations. It was a challenging yet fun experience that brought many great memories as the kids learned to get out of their comfort zone and make connections with other young people.
This experience will bring encouragement to our Pathfinders in years to come, remembering the theme of this camporee — "Focusing our Vision" — and recognizing that it is in keeping our eyes on Jesus that allows us to make it through our time here on earth, no matter what town, state or country we might be in.