Following a tradition, they raised funds to support orphans across the region.
Published on: 01-10-2024
In what church leaders defined as a display of commitment and resilience, Henry Smith, a member of Adventist Youth Ministries, along with Pathfinders Millicent Anna Stella Asane and Lawrence Manful, embarked on a four-day journey on foot from Takoradi to the Valley View University campus in Oyibi, Accra, Ghana. Their destination: the 4th West-Central Africa Division (WAD) Pathfinder Camporee, held December 24-30.
Setting out on December 21, the trio covered more than 155 miles (about 250 km), arriving at the camporee’s opening ceremony on December 25. Despite the long journey, they appeared emotionally moved rather than exhausted, regional church leaders said, receiving a hero’s welcome from the more than 8,000 participants, including youth ministry leaders from the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists (GC) and WAD.
This pilgrimage, led by Smith, has been a tradition since 1996. The Adenta District youth director in Accra, Adu Gyamfi, explained that Smith walks to the camporee regardless of its location, raising funds for orphans on his journey. In 2023, two other Pathfinders decided to join him in this charitable venture.
As the trio reached the Valley View University campus, a police escort and youth band greeted them, and the WAD youth ministries department honored them with special recognition and awards.
The journey, mirroring Joseph’s painful trek to Egypt, enriched the camporee experience, aligning with the evening dramas on stage that offered insights into Joseph’s life, church leaders said. GC youth ministries director Busi Khumalo was the keynote speaker after each nightly drama performance.
WAD youth ministries director Alfred Asiem provided a historical perspective on the event, focusing on Joseph’s biblical journey. He emphasized the camporee’s role. “We bring our Pathfinders together for fellowship, socialization, spiritual renewal, and revival,” Asiem said.
In his opening address, WAD secretary Selom Sessou highlighted Joseph’s story as an example of how dreams shape purpose-driven lives. He underscored the pivotal role of young people in the church, noting that they represent more than 70 percent of WAD’s close to one million baptized members. “We pray that they’ll really have dreams,” Sessou said, “because as they dream and collaborate with God, the church of God in the West-Central Africa Division will have a brighter future.”
Khumalo emphasized that the camporee should be a platform for learning, networking, and spiritual nurturing. “At camporee we learn to have fun. We meet new friends; we meet old friends. We attend honor classes. We learn skills and many other powerful things,” Khumalo reminded attendees.
Irvine Gwataringa, Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Division (SID) youth director, led the early morning daily devotionals throughout the week.
Participants shared their excitement, with Anike praising the opening day’s fireworks, and Alvin from Liberia expressing awe at the camp’s beauty and comfort. Lia Farhane Allah-Ridy, from Chad, also shared her joy, anticipating similar activities in future events.
Asiem thanked God because, according to him, the camporee vision was achieved without any accident or major issue. Security remained tight, with an intruder arrested on December 23 before the official opening. The camporee proceeded without major incidents. “We thank God for His assistance and protection,” he said.