August 27, 2009 – Vol. 186, No. 24
This issue is about Pathfinders, first and foremost, and then about what happened when 35,000 Pathfinders representing more than 100 countries got together at the International Camporee in Oshkosh, Wisconsin on August 11-15.
Contents include a history of the Pathfinder movement, plans for a Pathfinder Museum near the Historic Adventist Village in Battle Creek, Michigan, and the stories of outstanding clubs. The following is my favorite.
“In December 2007 and January 2008, the Adventist Pathfinder Club in Rwanda built 100 houses within two months for families that were expelled from Tanzania. These people who were forced from Tanzania are originally from Rwanda but have lived in Tanzania for many years. The Tanzanian government forced them to go back and reclaim their properties, but on their return they discovered that their houses were gone. The Rwandan government offered them land, but they did not have homes to live in. The government asked the Seventh-day Adventist Church to help in constructing houses for these families. The first group of 2,380 Pathfinders did the work for two weeks, and the last team of 1,800 Pathfinders finished the work in an additional two weeks.
Different churches offered transportation and meals for about 2,500 Pathfinders. The government provided cement, iron sheets, trees, sand, stones, and doors, and within two months these houses were completed. The Pathfinders not only built these new homes but also helped heal many hearts that had been deeply scarred. Every morning the Pathfinders had devotions with these families and shared food. In turn, these families were amazed to see love in action, not just in words, and several individuals decided to join the Seventh-day Adventist Church.”
—Information provided by Jacques Nkinzingabo, youth director, Rwanda Union
Note: I became a member of the Glendale, California, Pathfinder Club 57 years ago. I tied knots, marched, earned patches and went camping, even in the snow, with friends and classmates. In high school, I was the bugle boy at several regional camporees. (I had my own personal tent, and could come and go pretty much as I pleased.) I’ll never forget lying on the concrete fire ring after all the other campers had been sent to bed, warmed by the coals of the huge fire that remained after the final song had been sung.
I played taps at 10:00, four times in four directions. My horn sounded clear and sweet and lonely. (It gives me the chills remembering.) and reveille four times at 7:00 each morning, (The leaders’ RV’s received my first blast.) after which I went back to bed!
August 27, 2009 – Vol. 186, No. 24
Other stories you might find interesting
I had a dream last night, a dream of General Conference Sessions past and future. I stood in the center of a stadium, packed with people, all captivated by the music and stagecraft in front of them. I looked around and felt a sadness that kept growing inside of me until it was overwhelming.
Some time ago I was sitting in what quite possibly was the most boring church service I have ever been in. (No, I won’t tell you where I was.) There couldn’t have been more than 50 people in the sanctuary, and I’m being generous. We sang no less than 5 hymns. All hymns were sung in a dry, slow manner. The sermon seemed uninspired, barely prepared, and was presented with no sense of conviction. It felt like we were in church for three hours. We were in church for about 70 minutes.