Sabbath afternoon, the Mid-America Union Pathfinder Camporee climaxed in a dramatic spiritual event at Mount Rushmore. Hundreds of young people came forward in the amphitheater—not just to commit their lives to God, but to surrender them.

“There is a difference,” explained speaker James Black, NAD youth director. Commitment is an agreement made with God, but surrender means giving yourself up to Him—your whole life.

The majestic setting contributed to the significance of the event, said Hubert Cisneros, camporee director and MAUC youth leader. “I’m going to remember it forever. What helped made it epic was the towering figures of national leaders carved out of the mountain beyond them.” In the face of those great leaders, Pathfinders—future leaders of our church in Mid-America—surrendered themselves to God. They resolved to live out for God the courage and vision that those presidents give this nation.

Elder Black framed his challenge to Pathfinders in the context of God’s miraculous mercy in his own life, from teenage days in a gang to this past year’s victorious battle with a potentially terminal disease.

Preparing the way for Black’s message was a testimony from Thomas L. Lemon, MAUC president. As a teenage pilot, he took his plane up for a solo flight when an unexpected snowstorm rolled in. Lost in the storm, he cried out to God. Soon, off to the left, he saw another plane flying beside his. It was his own father, also a pilot, out looking for him. Lemon’s father found his son and guided him to safety.

Following the spiritual drama at Mount Rushmore, Sabbath evening provided fun for campers at their home base, the Custer High School football field. Ryan Teller, public relations director for Union College and lead communicator for the camporee, had put together a slideshow of the past several days’ activities. Kids got to see themselves on the big screen and relived their joy. They also viewed adults having fun with them—not only local leaders but their own conference president.

Finally it was bedtime. Next morning after a quick breakfast, Pathfinders broke camp and dispersed home throughout the nine-state territory of the Mid-America Union. Many young lives will never be the same.

A professional-grade video of the event is being prepared by Ryan Teller and will eventually be posted on

To view photos of the camporee, please visit our Flickr account or watch the slideshow below.