In the winter of 2002 I typed an essay with a 1997 version of Microsoft Word on what I can only assume was a compute that cavemen used. Because technology is brilliant and also a little magical, the essay was recently returned to me (*surprise*) on a flash drive that might as well have been a time capsule.
I wrote the essay in hopes to be included in a Pathfinder trip to Brazil.
I did get to go on that trip. It was amazing in all the ways I hoped it would be, but as far as my entire childhood and life thus far, the Brazil trip was just a drop in the bucket. Here is my essay, unchanged since the fifteen-year-old Rachel wrote it:
THE EFFECTS OF PATHFINDERING ON MY LIFE
AND THE WORLD AROUND ME
By Rachel Moore
Cape Cubs Pathfinder Club
Many people throughout history have asked themselves how they would change the world if they could. To me, being a Christian Pathfinder is my way of changing the world. Many opportunities are provided which affect my church, my community, and even some countries. My family has helped me to realize this in the past year.
Most teenagers don’t usually care about what their parents do, as long as they leave us out of it. When my parents asked me to leave my church and go to a different one in our district to “revitalize” it, I didn’t question them. In just a few months this dying church was brought up from no regular attendance or services, to a regular attendance of about twenty and regular services such as Sabbath School, VBS, Pathfinders, Adventurers, and choir. I’m still a member of the Pathfinder Club at my old church and occasionally spend Sabbaths at the church. But, just by being a Pathfinder and responsible TLT, I am making an affect on the church even while attending a different one. Because of me and my family’s care and faith as Christians, we ‘revitalized’ a dying church and kept another club going.
I see many Christian youth at Camp or Pathfinder outings but there aren’t a lot in my community, at least, not with my beliefs. I have noticed, though, that the name ‘Pathfinders’ draws attention to classmates and strangers. Many of my friends tell me that I’m different than most ‘church-goers’, that they can tell I stand for something.
My family is planting a church in Perryville, MO., a nearby city where my mother is employed. My parents are planning to plant many churches throughout the years by starting with Pathfinder Clubs. By being a part of this Perryville project, I have seen a couple get baptized and open their home to us to use for a Branch Sabbath School. I have seen children from the Perryville club bring their parents to God and plan baptisms and weddings. One lady asked our pastor what we’ve been doing in that garage every Saturday afternoon. She stated that she works with a man in Perryville and wanted to see what kind of church could change someone so fast.
I once brought an entire family of kids to a Pathfinder Club where they were members for years. Now, they have influenced their family to become Christian. They were all baptized into a Baptist Church and attend twice weekly.
At the Cape Cubs Pathfinder Club, we helped host a Chili dinner last year for the ‘needy’ in the community. I know the people who came will always remember our Club.
Last Christmas, one of our members raised over one thousand dollars in a House of Lloyd fundraiser by herself. I’m sure all those people will never forget how determined she was to help support her Club of Christian Youth, her Pathfinders.
By being a Pathfinder, I can also affect other countries for the better. I can do my small part in my small Club. Even if all I can offer is a prayer, it is a lot. We probably touched more lives than any of us could’ve imagined when all the Clubs brought Bibles to the International Camporee in Oshkosh, WI. Those Bibles were to be sent overseas where Bibles are scarce. When we helped build the plane that has probably brought more food and medical attention to those people in Guyana than they’ve ever had.
When all of the Clubs give money, prayers, and a blessing to a couple to go to Brazil on a mission trip, we touch people’s lives more than we realize. When 20 or 30 Adventist Youth sign up to go on Ultimate Workout Mission trips every year, they touch lives. We may touch the whole world by doing a very small thing in our Pathfinder Club, church, and community.
To me, being a faithful Pathfinder and Christian is doing my small part of changing the world. It means leading the way, helping people find their paths through life, and to God. It is going into all nations, teaching and baptizing people to be disciples for him, regardless of race, sex, or past transgressions. By being a Pathfinder and Christian I’m changing the world a little bit at a time through my church and my community. This is what Pathfinders and being a Christian means to me.
Pathfindering hasn’t just affected me. Pathfinder ministry has been a family affair since before I was born. In fact, my mom just published a book on the matter, half memoir, half resource. If you’ve never understood Pathfinders or if you’ve been interested in it, but haven’t hopped off the fence yet, check out The Power of Pathfinder Ministry by Tina L. Moore.
I might have outgrown Pathfinder classwork years ago, but the things I learned about myself and my God have been invaluable for the whole of my life.
If you have kids and they aren’t part of Pathfinders yet, look for Pathfinders near you. You won’t be sorry!