You could not have missed them! They wore white t-shirts with the word “Compassion” written in blue across the chest. They were all over the campgrounds at the Chosen International Camporee. Who were these people?
These were Pathfinders from across North America and abroad, more than 6,000 of them, who decided they would take 4-5 hours of their camporee experience to be the eyes, heart, hands, and feet of Jesus in Oshkosh and the nearby communities. They all participated in Compassion Oshkosh!
They blessed the city of Oshkosh with more than 30,000 hours of love, compassion, and service collectively by participating in over 60 different projects, which included mentoring, cleaning, food collection, food packaging, beautifying city areas, and partnering with local organizations for the benefit of the Oshkosh community. You could not miss them inside the campground, but neither could you miss them in the community. They were noticed and thanked by the neighbors, by the Mayor of the city of Oshkosh and her team, and also by the local media, who was more interested in their compassionate service and what these kids brought to the city, than they were in the activities taking place at the camporee.
By doing this, they gave Oshkosh an insight look into what our church is all about, loving, serving, and leading people to Jesus, not only through words but actions, because after all, “actions speak louder than words...” Jesus understood this and that is why he spent more time in the community blessing people with compassion than he did in the synagogue or behind a pulpit.
Another lesson learned from Compassion Oshkosh is that children, youth, and adults are willing to invest precious time, which could have been used in educational or recreational activities to help others. I hope each local church, Pastor, team of elders, Pathfinder and Youth leader across North America takes note of this. Compassion brings people of all ages together and engages people in ministry and mission.
Compassion Oshkosh was sponsored by the Ministerial Association of the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists as a component of a greater vision, Compassion 10 Million, an official missional initiative of the Adventist Church in North America, which calls for a collective 10 million hours of compassion every year by Adventists across United States, Canada, Bermuda, and the islands of Guam and Micronesia.
Pastor Jose Cortes Jr., is an Associate Director of the Ministerial Association and leads Evangelism, Church Planting, and Adventist/Global Mission for the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.