A group of Pathfinders spruced up the Christian compound where a Seventh-day Adventist congregation meets in the United Arab Emirates, burnishing a growing reputation for helping others in the Middle East.
Thirteen Pathfinders and their leaders picked up trash, cleaned open areas, and painted the outer wall of the Anglican Church where Adventists hold their regular services in the Emirate of Sharjah this week.
In some Arabian Gulf countries, Christians are given church areas where they are allowed to worship. In the United Arab Emirates, each of the seven Emirates has at least one designated church area where several religious denominations have been built churches and other denominations rent rooms and worship halls to conduct services.
The 4Ever Faithful Sharjah Pathfinder Club drew widespread praise for their cleanup work.
“When we asked the compound administrators for permission to beautify the area, they were surprised but impressed, and they granted us permission without any problem,” said Pathfinder club leader Randy Sonsona. “When they came to see us working, they were extremely happy and touched. Even other people from the neighborhood and those who were just passing by stopped to watch and appreciate our Pathfinders at work.”
Pathfinders play a key role in fulfilling the mission of the Adventist Church in the Arabian Gulf by establishing meaningful relationships with members of their surrounding communities. In late 2014, the Pathfinders were invited by the Sharjah Scout Mission, part of the Scouting4Peace Foundation, an international scout group, to march in a parade celebrating United Arab Emirates’ national day.
Ten of the 21 formally organized congregations in the Adventist Church’s Gulf Field region, which includes the United Arab Emirates, have Pathfinder clubs with a total of about 85 Pathfinders, 35 master guides-in-training, and 60 Adventurers.
Lynn Lukwaro, Pathfinder director for the Gulf Field, said regional Pathfinder clubs have welcomed more than a dozen non-Adventist members to various club activities over the past year.
“Some join one or two activities, while others keep coming back and finish a honor or two,” Lukwaro said. “A few come regularly and have gone through our curriculum. The Lord has blessed the Gulf church through the Pathfinder work.”
The Pathfinders assist Adventist mission in other ways as well. Lukwaro told of a woman who unsuccessfully tried to locate an Adventist church after arriving in the Gulf region.
“One day she prayed and told God that she must find a church,” Lukwaro said. “She then found her way to the Christian compound nearest her and, while there, prayed for God to direct her to the Adventist church. When she opened her eyes, the first thing she saw was Pathfinders in their uniforms entering one of the buildings. She followed them — and that’s how she found the church.”