Adventurer Bible Experience – Newbold College – Union Final
15th March 2019
Imagine a large hall filled with over 40 teams consisting of 6 Adventurer age children in each team. Imagine the noise! Then try and imagine that same hall with that same large group of children concentrating deeply on answering difficult Bible questions about the Gospel of Luke. You have imagined the morning of Sabbath 9 March and the Union final of the Adventurer Bible Experience in Newbold College's sports hall.
Children had been practising for months in their teams. Some, like Coventry, used weekly tests on WhatsApp to meet together over the internet and be tested. Others took a more conventional path and gathered together on Sabbath afternoon as clubs to learn and be tested on the Gospel of Luke. Most teams had adult coaches guiding teams, Rochdale used the services of two young ladies from their Pathfinder Club. Blessing Marasha (a Friend in the Pathfinder Club and Yara Fernandes ‒ a Companion) led their charges to a very well deserved first place.
The morning's test, comprising 30 questions, took the form of specific questions about the first 12 chapters of the Gospel of Luke. Pastor Ikwisa Mwasumbi, the North England Conference Pathfinder director was paired with Pastor Gene Clapp to read out challenging questions. Teams gave their responses in writing to Graders, adults who collated results from teams.
The hall had been quiet until the 30th question. The last question allowed pent-up excitement to flow. The children cheered. The end had come. Results were gathered and checked as Adventurer scaled worship continued along the theme of Luke. While the Adventurers might not have appreciated a sermon on the meaning of the parable of the lost sheep and the lost coin they certainly appreciated Pastor Armando Miranda (Jnr), the North American Division Pathfinder director's story about a lost lamb and a highly animated tale about a lost pound coin destined to buy a bike. The latter story was told by Pastor Gene, the Pathfinder Bible Experience director at the North American Division.
Results arrived and were announced. Every club had performed well reaching one of the two highest categories. The response as clubs were called to collect certificates and pins showed that this was no competition to beat the performance of another club. There was great delight from all around the room as each club were rewarded for excellent work.
The North American Division is the place where the Pathfinder Bible Experience began some years ago. Pastor Clapp from that Division and the Pathfinder Bible Experience director noted the impact that the Pathfinder Bible Experience has had on the whole of the North American Division. Parents and children are studying the Bible together – when they didn't before. Over 300 Pathfinders who know the Bible well have been baptised. Perhaps even more significantly whole Conferences and groups of Conferences have gathered to work together when before they might not have had that opportunity. Barriers between people have been broken down, there has been a strong unifying force at work within America as groups of children have excitedly studied the Bible together.
Tabby Magwizi, a leader from the Aylesbury church, reported that the children in her church really wanted to learn about the Bible and that this had prompted parents to read with their children. Leonardo, from Newport in the Welsh Mission, said that he loved learning things while young Alistair (aged 4), a very helpful boy from that club, was really looking forward to taking part in the Adventurer Bible Experience next year. Princess Mathea, aged 8, and a member of the Filipino International church Blue team said of the ABE, "A very good experience for every Adventurer. We have short memories but this way we get to know the Bible more and more."
It is an adult leader, Bogdan Stan, one of our Romanian pastors in the Irish Mission, who has noted that in his experience an involvement in the Pathfinder Bible Experience by a church, 'triggers everything'. The clubs that took part in the Pathfinder Bible Experience last year have so enthused the Irish Mission that now there are six more clubs taking part in the wider activities of the Pathfinder organisation in Ireland. Pastor Bogdan notes for us that it is, "not the entertainment, it is not the activity of Pathfindering that has developed interest in God. The study of the Bible through the Adventurer and Pathfinder Bible Experience has led children to God because God had spoken directly to children."
Many of the children who took part in the morning's Adventurer Bible Experience went on to serve as young ministers during the afternoon acting as couriers for the Pathfinder teams. While too young to go on to a Division event in America the children who had worked SO hard for many weeks could go back to their home churches and reveal their excitement and their great experiences to excited church members.