As a Ranger (eighth-grader) in Pathfinders, I watched the story of Daniel unfold at the 2014 Forever Faithful International Camporee. The first night’s play showed Daniel and his friends as teenagers, probably around 17 years old, standing up for God before King Nebuchadnezzar.
That could be me! I thought to myself. What is stopping me from doing that?
I am a born and raised Seventh-day Adventist. My parents are teachers and summer camp staff. I have attended Vacation Bible School, summer camp, and church schools and academies, so the Seventh-day Adventist message of “Jesus is coming soon” has never been new to me. However, it is because of Pathfinders that it became real to me.
On Sabbath of the 2014 Camporee, a 19-year-old Master Guide in my Spring Meadows Club, Emily, invested a four-year TLT (Teen Leadership Training) trainee as a Master Guide. Outside of baptism, that TLT had decided to be “Forever Faithful,” and I wanted in on it. I went up to Emily after the Camporee and told her that I wanted to be invested as a Master Guide at the 2019 International Camporee. Little did I know that the path would not be easy.
At the end of my Ranger Pathfinder year, I was inducted into the TLT program, where I would become equipped to direct a club of my own, if I was ever called to do that, and complete the Master Guide requirements.
I started my freshmen year of high school at Forest Lake Academy and joined Solid Bronze, FLA’s hand bell choir. What I didn’t know is I would be so busy with school that it would be hard to continue Pathfinders with drill and Pathfinder Bible Experience (PBE) as in middle school.
I tried to quit PBE, but Emily wouldn’t let me. From that year of PBE, I learned that the Gospel is in every chapter of the Bible. PBE now takes over my devotional life every year from December to February.
The TLT program did become easier the longer I was in it, since I went online my sophomore year. During the summer before my junior year of high school, my family moved to Salem, S.C. Now, I felt alone. Emily and my Spring Meadows Club were 12 hours away, and there were no college or high school students consistently at my new church, but I jumped straight into Pathfinders again in a club of nine members (my brother, sister, and I were three of those). I led PBE and drill once again. My Master Guide card slowly got checked off.
Senior year placed me at Mt. Pisgah Academy. Once again, I joined hand bells and was up to my eyeballs between two jobs, homework, a college class, a class officer position, and applying for college. Oh, and I decided to go on a mission trip during Spring Break. But, God gave me the strength so that Pathfinders did not get placed on the back burner. I joined the Mt. Pisgah Pathfinders as a fourth-year TLT and led drill. By graduation I had completed nearly everything on my Master Guide card.
Three months later, at the 2019 Chosen International Camporee, I stood before my Mt. Pisgah Club and held my breath as Emily exchanged my TLT scarf for the Master Guide one, and pinned the Master Guide world pin above my other class pins. I did it! No, God did it!
There were so many times when I could have quit, like when I moved to a different conference. There were so many times when I didn’t want to read another page of Ellen White. There were so many times when I was simply too tired and overwhelmed to even think that I could make it to Oshkosh and start my freshmen year of college, but God gave me the perseverance to make it through. Like David, He has chosen me for a specific mission, and currently that mission is Pathfinders. All I have to do is remain forever faithful to Him.
Southern Union | October 2019