IRISH MISSION PATHFINDERS IN WATFORD BIBLE EXPERIENCE
30th March 2017
Two teams of Pathfinders from the Irish Mission crossed the Irish Sea early in March to participate in one of the most intense experiences that Pathfindering can offer. Imagine spending months intensely studying six of the letters written by Paul. You’re trying to memorise details and understand the finer arguments, knowing that you, and your team will be challenged to recall information and solve problems along with 12 of the best teams from the United Kingdom and Ireland. The teams who demonstrate the best knowledge of these books will be catapulted to a similar event in the United States of America! This is the Pathfinder Bible experience! The Irish Mission’s participation in this event on 11 March was a first and memorable experience.
When thinking back on these last several months, Jean-Ellis, from the Ballinacrow club, said, “The study process was nerve racking at the best of times because you just don't know what they are going to ask.” Then he added, “Just reading those six books, it really shows how God can transform a person's life from bad to good. I understand so much more about Paul and his mission now. The stuff I learnt isn't just for the PBE, it is for life.”
Pathfindering is experiencing an up-turn in the Irish Mission in recent times, says Erin Gordon, member of the Irish Mission Pathfinder leadership team. Pathfinder and Adventurer clubs are actively running in seven churches. The number of members is continually growing. Last year, children in attendance at the annual May Camporee were 108. At that Camporee, the Pathfinders and Adventurers participated in their second annual Bible Bowl. Everyone studied the book of Genesis and prepared to answer questions on the content.
It was so well enjoyed that the Pathfinders decided to join in the official Pathfinder Bible Experience (PBE) hosted by the North American Division. In this event, teams move up in levels and test together as an Area, Mission, Union, and Division. Teams who earn a certain percentage at one level of testing move on to the next level.
Though the Irish Mission is in the Trans-European Division, this division currently does not host a PBE event, so those who score 90% of the highest score in the British Union Conference go on to participate in America. This year, the NAD chose Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Timothy, and 2 Timothy as the books for the Pathfinders to study.
There were two Irish Mission teams who scored high enough at the Mission level to participate in the Union level. The Union level event took place in Watford, England on 11 March. This was also a history making event for the Scottish Mission, as it was their first time participating in the PBE as well.
Unfortunately, neither of the Irish Mission teams qualified to participate at the Division level, but thankfully there is a greater prize than going to America! The purpose of this event is to encourage Pathfinders to read their Bible, and to read it in a more in depth manner rather than just going through the motions.
Grace-Ellis was also involved with preparation for the PBE. This was her first year as a Pathfinder, having just moved up from Adventurers. When asked if she noticed a difference in her walk with God since she started preparing for PBE, she said, “"Yes, because the more you read the Bible, you learn more and more things about God that you didn't know before, and it brings you closer to Him.”
Amelia's team from Dublin only participated in the first level of testing, and did not go to Watford. She was still enthusiastic about the experience. “I thought the Pathfinder Bible Experience was a great way to get people studying their Bibles more, because, not only do you get a great prize for succeeding, you also get to know the Bible. I noticed a huge difference with my walk with God through the PBE, because I know now that God works in so many marvelous ways through reading what miraculous works God has done to Paul.”
The Irish Mission’s participation in the Pathfinder Bible Experience is finished for this year. There are however camporees and other team activities to look forward to. Erin says, “Please pray for our Pathfinders and Adventurers, that they seek a more personal relationship with Jesus and that they can be used as a witness to their friends and classmates of what it’s like to live a life with Christ.”
[Erin Gordon, Photos by the British Union Youth Department]