Over 280 Hispanic young people, youth leaders and pastors convened at Camp Arrowhead near Lexington, Nebraska, on July 11-15 for the Mid-America Union Hispanic Youth Camp.

The purpose of the annual event is to help strengthen local Hispanic churches as attendees enjoy Adventist preaching, recreation and fellowship. Camp Arrowhead is an ideal location, due to its central position in the union, its beautiful setting and facilities, and the welcoming city leaders of Lexington, located only four miles from the camp. Camp Arrowhead and the Lexington Hispanic Adventist Church are a known and appreciated part of the community.

Recreation activities included a soccer and volleyball tournament at the Lexington Sports Complex and Middle School Arena. Lexington Parks and Recreation graciously made available the magnificent indoor air-conditioned soccer field and surrounding outdoor complex for the soccer tournament. And the Middle School campus was ideal with its multi-court gymnasium, complete with seating for hundreds of cheering fans.

Trophies were awarded at the completion of the championship game each day. As the tournaments were concluding, the remainder of the campers were free to enjoy an afternoon of swimming. During the hot afternoons, campers found Lexington’s Family Aquatic Center with its two massive swimming pools and giant water slides refreshing indeed.

Fearless followers of Christ

Pastor Daniel Cabezas of the New Jersey Conference was the weekday speaker with the theme: “DIFERENTE” (Different). Pastor Cabezas challenged the young people to be a positive influence for Christ in their world. Friday night Pastor Cabezas concluded the service with an invitation to be a fearless follower of Jesus Christ. It seemed the entire camp responded to the invitation.

The service ended with a special communion service led by the 12 Hispanic pastors who were part of the camp staff. Each pastor accompanied a group of about 25 young campers as they walked the short distance from the Pavilion to Camp Arrowhead Lake shoreline. The pastors each carried a package containing all of the needed materials. How inspirational to see the groups led by their pastors washing one another’s feet, singing familiar songs of praise, partaking in the bread and wine, and concluding with prayer.

Sabbath morning Pastor Tony Anoble, a vice president of the North American Division, challenged the group with the story of Daniel’s three friends as they faced the furnace of King Nebuchadnezzar. Pastor Hubert Cisneros, Mid-America Union Youth Ministries director and coordinator of this event, offered the pastor of commitment. In the prayer an invitation was given to any young person who felt God was calling them to pastoral ministry. As a result, Isaac Fuentes decided right then to be a pastor. He is acting on that decision and will begin his studies at Union College this fall as a theology major. Isaac’s wife, Jessica, was raised in the Lincoln Spanish Church and together they have a three-year-old son.

more than sports and camping

Saturday night concluded with a formal banquet hosted by the Holiday Inn Convention Center, to which the young people came dressed in their Sabbath best. Elder Cisneros served as banquet host and took the opportunity to introduce “Uncle Hubert’s Rules of Banquet Etiquette.” The proper order and usage of eating utensils was demonstrated by Uncle Hubert’s youth staff on stage. Placement of napkins and when to begin eating were emphasized. Young men were instructed on how to pour drinks and retrieve desserts for the young ladies at their table. If attendees had questions they were supplied with a sheet of “Uncle Hubert’s Rules of Etiquette” at each table as a reference, complete with tips for how to be a good listener. The banquet was both fun and educational and added a unique and enthusiastic contrast to the camping atmosphere.