by Jay Wintermeyer
PASCO, Wash., January 14, 2015 - Adventist members from Omak to Hermiston and all parts in between gathered in Pasco, Wash. Jan. 10, 2015 for the Upper Columbia Conference Hispanic Camp Meeting.
Traditionally held in early summer, this annual festive gathering moved to January this year to accommodate the upcoming Adventist church business meeting in San Antonio, Texas in July. In spite of the the chilly weather outdoors, the smiling Pathfinder greeters cheered all who attended.
The Pathfinders were a new addition to camp meeting this year. Over the past several years, four new Hispanic Pathfinder clubs organized in Upper Columbia Conference, including one last year. The kids proudly greeted guests and marched into the sanctuary at the beginning of the church service. They confidently took the microphone and shared what made Pathfinders meaningful to them.
As is always the case, powerful preaching accompanied the elevating music and joyful fellowship. This year, Hispanic camp meeting featured four main speakers; José Cortez Jr. from the North American Division, Allan Machado from Florida Conference, José Rojas of Movementum, and Eliseo Lozano from Changing People's Lives Ministries.
Members were deeply blessed as the speakers touched on the four key areas of this year’s theme: Gifted to serve, share, heal and disciple. The four speakers alternated between the adult and youth meetings, sharing age-appropriate messages that inspired and encouraged young and old alike.
Not to be left out, the children enjoyed an amazing set of programs that transported them back to ancient Rome, complete with visits from the apostle Paul. In addition to the Bible stories, children participated in Roman games, crafts and snacks. They eagerly rotated from room to room to immerse themselves in life as an early Christian.
During the event, pastors took the opportunity to cast a vision for the next five years. The vision, called Multi-G 20/20, challenges members to plant four new churches and start 40 new groups with at least 400 members before the year 2020.
The camp meeting dates may have been changed this year, but it doesn’t appear to have affected attendance. Nearly 2,000 people packed out the Pasco venue. Pastor Walter Pintos, Upper Columbia Conference Hispanic ministries coordinator, says “Plans are already underway for next year. With our attendance numbers continuing to grow, we’ve already made arrangements for next year.” Next year a larger facility with even more capacity for the multi-generational activities is booked in Kennewick, Wash.