It was a proud spectacle to behold seeing over 800 young people assemble at Newbold College of Higher Education for the British Union Conference (BUC) regional finals of the Pathfinder Bible Experience (PBE). The event held on Sabbath 9 March saw over 28 Pathfinder clubs that had successfully progressed through local and area testing to qualify for a place in a final that would see which clubs would then proceed to the Division level testing next month in Chicago, USA.
It was a proud spectacle because having visited several Union events for different programmes here were young people represented from all regions of the BUC converging to one place with an extreme sense of excitement and enthusiasm tempered with the decorum and discipline of what being a Pathfinder stands for. These children had spent several months studying the entire book of the Gospel of Luke together with amplified comments from the Seventh-day Adventist Commentary. Each team would have to gain an in-depth knowledge of the book that will enable them to successfully precisely answer carefully worded questions. One simple mistake would lead to loss of points.
It is in this vein that onlookers may very well question whether this is just a Bible competition. These Pathfinders would be the first to testify that it is not. In their journey of acquiring biblical knowledge through studying the book of Luke, that a far greater benefit would remain. The discipline of study that would lead to skills transferrable to how they study at school and most importantly a rich spiritual legacy that would become embedded in their minds for life are just two benefits of the PBE.
The day had begun earlier with the Adventurer Bible Experience on a partial testing of the same book of Luke followed by an interval for lunch before the Pathfinders took the stage. BUC Youth and Pathfinder director Dejan Stojkovic led out in the proceedings with full support of all Conference and Mission Pathfinder directors. Guest attendees included Pastor Armando Miranda, North American Division Pathfinder director; Pastor Gene Clapp, Pathfinder Bible Experience coordinator and pastor of the Waco Adventist church and Pastor Peter Bo Bohsen, TED Pathfinder director.
The amazing experience of the day culminated when all 90 questions had been completed. The anxious wait for each club soon abated when every one of the 48 clubs represented had performed exceptionally well.
Naturally there was jubilant scenes throughout the auditorium. Cheers of delight, joy and happiness was truly a scene to behold. The hard work of the children had paid off and now the joyful emotions could be released by the Pathfinders, club leaders and parents who were all in attendance to support.
The day was a wonderful example of the church from all sectors of the BUC working together in cohesion. The day was well planned considering the logistics of having over 500 children including the Adventurers coming together. The collaboration between the various levels of Pathfinder directors and club leaders was commendable.
One thing is for sure, that although the questions are over, the knowledge and spiritual implications of studying in-depth an entire book, will always remain in the mind and heart of each Pathfinder. This will ultimately contribute toward their decision one day in giving their lives to the Lord and sealing that in baptism.
In closing Pastor Dejan commented, "it's been a truly amazing day, I'm so proud of each of these Pathfinders. It has always been about getting our young people into studying the Bible, and I believe that the events of today will see them continue in this practice." He continued, "we were very happy that for the first time a guest team from Holland also decided to join us and participated. We hope many more Unions will follow this example.