Seven Pathfinders are baptized at the end of of the spiritual message held at the Trelawny Stadium in Jamaica, on day three of the Inter-American Pathfinder Camporee, Apr. 6, 2023. [Photo: Daniel Gallardo/IAD]

April 7, 2023 | Trelawny, Jamaica | Libna Stevens and Ruth-Ann Brown, Inter-American Division

Young people responded to a call for baptism as Andres Peralta, associate youth ministries director for the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, spoke at the end of day three of the 5th Inter-American Pathfinder Camporee, in Trelawny Multipurpose Stadium in Jamaica, Apr. 6, 2023.

“I have a burden in my heart tonight,” said Peralta. “I want one person who came to this camp, who is not an Adventist and is not baptized, to come forward and I will pray for you.” One person responded, then another and in a few minutes more than 120 had come from their seats.

Pastor Andres Peralta, associate youth ministries director of the General Conference addresses thousands of Pathfinders during day three of Inter-America’s Pathfinder Camporee, in Trelawny, Jamaica, Apr. 6, 2023. [Photo: Daniel Gallardo/IAD]

“You might be afraid because you are going to face battles in life, trust me we all have battles to face, so the question tonight is, what kind of battles are you facing tonight?” asked Peralta.

Even when God had assured Gideon that he would win the battles, he still struggled with his own battles. “Some people fight battles they are not supposed to fight,” said Peralta. “What kind of battles are you facing at home, or what kind of battles are you facing silently?”

Pathfinders smile during the devotional program on Thursday, Apr. 6, 2023. [Photo: Daniel Gallardo/IAD]

Battles can take any form, such as relationship pressures, inner battles, doubts, abuse, trauma, or fear, said Peralta. “The internal battle is the greatest battle to face,” highlighted Peralta. He reassured the large crowd that God is His mercy and greatness comes to the rescue. “Even though we have doubts while we are facing our battles, God comes to meet us where we are at, much like Gideon’s experience.”

Andrae Walters, a bus driver who had been transporting groups of Pathfinders and their leaders to the campgrounds, surprised a group of campers from Belize when he showed up to get baptized at a pool close to the stage.

More than 120 young people stand on the field after leaving as a commitment to making their decision to get baptized during the evening spiritual message, Apr. 6, 2023. [Photo: Carlos Angeles/IAD]

His interactions with the pathfinders, especially those from Belize, revived an internal battle he was having.

“I normally have questions,” said Walters, age 37 “I believe in the Seventh-day Adventist Church but I was baptized in the Pentecostal Church. The Bible speaks about the Sabbath and if you understand Sunday worship, it’s from the sun god days, so why celebrate that day on a Sunday?” said Walters.

Andrae Walters is about to be baptized by Pastor Dane Fletcher, youth ministries director of the Jamaica Union, at Trelawny Stadium on Apr. 6, 2023. [Photo: Ruth-Ann Brown/IAD]

He attributes his move towards baptism to the conversations had with the pathfinders from Belize.

“The folks from Belize, encouraged me a lot. Whenever we go out, instead of them enjoying themselves, they would sit and talk with me about God, saying ‘come on Andre, do it tonight. We are not forcing you, just go home and think about it.’”

Delegation from Belize pose with Andrae Walters after his baptism. [Photo: Ruth-Ann Brown/IAD]

Walters kept thinking about it. When he arrived home Thursday night, he turned his vehicle around, called his mother and told her of his decision.

“I didn’t tell anyone else, I’ve had a lot of questions, but my heart feels comfortable here,” said Walters. As he entered the stadium, Walters ran straight to the pool.

After seven Pathfinders were baptized, it was Walters’ turn. Pathfinders cheered as he was baptized.

Part of the drama team performs during day three of Inter-America’s Pathfinder camporee on the evening of Apr. 6, 2023. [Photo: Daniel Gallardo/IAD]

As he exited the pool, he was greeted by his mother and the Pathfinders from Belize.

“I feel brand new,” Walters said.

Church leaders are connecting him with a local congregation in St. Elizabeth where he lives. In addition, several pastors from Belize will minister to Walters remotely.

Drill team from the Dominican Republic performs during a drill competition at Trelawny stadium on Apr. 6, 2023. [Photo: Daniel Gallardo/IAD]

Drama performance featured Gideon testing God and encouraged the audience to have faith and put their trust in God, and witness how God comes through for them.

Day three also saw pathfinders in drill marches, sports events, honor classes and community service outreach projects. In addition, administrators from each union were recognized for their support in bringing their delegations to Jamaica.

Drill team from Jamaica performs a few comands while the team was blind folded on Apr. 6, 2023. [Photo: Daniel Gallardo/IAD]

To watch the camporee’s evening program of Apr. 6, 2023, visit webcast.interamerica.org

To view a daily photo gallery of Inter-America’s 5th Pathfinder Camporee, click HERE

For updates on the week’s events, visit us at interamerica.org

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