22 May 2023 | Kilnasoolagh, Ireland [Milan Nakka with tedNEWS]
The Irish Mission long-awaited Pathfinder and Adventurer Camporee took place from 28 April – 1 May 2023, in Kilnasoolagh, Limerick, Ireland. With the theme for the event, “The Potter’s Hands,” over 100 campers were inspired to grow in Christ.
“Arriving on Friday evening by cars and coach, campers were greeted with a hug and a cheerful smile,” commented Milan Nakka, Deputy Adventurer Director, of the Dublin Royals Club. “The late sunset gave us enough time to pitch the tents up and head over to our Pathfinder Shed for vespers.”
Guest speaker was Pastor Ron Whitehead, Children, Youth and Young Adult ministries director for the Lake Union Conference, Michigan, USA. As the Ballinacrow Club led worship, his engaging and lively message inspired Adventurers and Pathfinders to live for Christ.
The Sabbath morning provided a beautiful opportunity for people to engage and worship together. “Day-visitors from all over Ireland attended, including siblings, parents, and friends. It was a blessing to see old friendships renewed, and new forged,” Nakka shared.
The Sabbath afternoon activity provided an opportunity for Adventurers to earn a Treasure Hunt Award, which included map and compas reading. Pathfinders had opportunity to earn a Hiking Honour by trekking to Mooghaun, a late Bronze Age hill fort built around 100 BC, on the summit of a low limestone hill.
“Pathfinders had commanding views of the south-east Clare and the estuaries of the River Shannon and the River Fergus,” Nakka commented. “While on the top of Mooghaun Hillfort, each club was tasked to prepare a presentation on God’s amazing creation, using objects they have found at the Hillfort, and Bible texts.”
The Sabbath programme concluded at the Pathfinder Shed, with a powerful testimony from Vivek Raman, but shared creatively with which the story being acted out by members of the Dublin Royals Club.
On Sunday morning John Sherlock, a retired pottery instructor from County Clare, demonstrated how to make a vase on a potter’s wheel. “His skilful hands turned a lump of clay into a beautiful masterpiece which arrested every gaze as we watched in awe,” shared Nakka. Then, every child received a handful of clay and were taught how to make a pot or vase using the “pinch method.” All pots and vases made were sent to a furnace in Ballymorris Pottery, to be fired. These beautiful souvenirs of the Camporee are also powerful reminders of the spiritual lessons learnt.
The Monday morning service was quite emotional as Makhosana Madubeko, a long-serving area coordinator announced that his journey with Pathfinders had come to an end. It was also special to see Nqabeni Hlongwane invested as a new Master Guide. At this point “it was truly time to say goodbye to all, but before we left, we gifted pastor Ron Whitehead with Irish Souvenirs to remind him of his memorable time with us here in the Emerald Isle,” Nakka shared.
The closing ceremony included an eye-catching display of Marching Drills composed of Pathfinders from all clubs, and expertly led by Siphewe Madubeko. As flags were lowered, campers left the site with the assurance of God’s permanent care and love.
“Yet O Lord, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You are the potter; And we are the work of Your hand” Isaiah 64:8 (TLV).
The original version of this article was published on the Irish Mission website. [Photos: courtesy of the Irish Mission]