TED Adventurer and Pathfinder Bible Experience Finals in the Netherlands

Winning is temporary, but knowing God is for eternity.

David Neal, tedNEWS
TED Adventurer and Pathfinder Bible Experience Finals in the Netherlands
The London Filipino International church team, Osprey-Diadem, pictured with South England Conference Pathfinder director Clifford Herman (front row, right). Left to right, back row: Adrian Baring, Jay Yang, Alyssa Maghopoy. Left to right, front row: Rhae Layson (assistant coach), Kari Layson (team captain), Chrysell Cenal, Romila Azares (head coach), and Dominic Azares. [Photo: David Neal]

We are in Schiedam, near Rotterdam, Netherlands, on a balmy spring Saturday [Sabbath]. An international group of 925 Pathfinders and 850 Adventurers from many European nations have looked forward to this day for a long time — because they have prepared for it!

Today, in a large gymnasium, they will be tested on how much they know about the first six chapters of Joshua and the first five chapters of Judges. Adventurers in the morning session will answer 44 questions on a more focused area of the two books, and Pathfinders in the afternoon session will answer 90 questions.

Having successfully completed their national heats, they now have the privilege and excitement of traveling to the Netherlands for the Trans-European Division (TED) Bible Experience Finals. With them are mothers and fathers, guardians, club leaders, coaches, area coordinators, conference and union directors, and support staff dedicated to making this event uplift the Bible in an age-relevant way.

Hosted by the Netherlands Union Conference (NUC) under the leadership of Aicha Manuela-Martijn, Scouts and Pathfinders coordinator, and directed on behalf of the TED by Kevin Johns, British Union Conference Youth and Pathfinder director, the event opened just after 9:00 a.m. with a flag parade led by the Netherlands Union’s all-female drum corps. After a brief time of praise and worship led by Allard Nammensa and his inspirational praise and worship band, it was time for the testing to begin.

The Testing Time

The testing time is a complex process for an international event. With 64 Pathfinder and 47 Adventurer teams, rows of judges sit behind computers, and monitors display questions that require language translation for each national non-English-speaking group (Romanian, Ukrainian, Polish, Croatian, Belgian, and Dutch). A few national groups unable to travel to the Netherlands participate online.

Pathfinder and Adventurer club teams are composed of six members led by the captain and a scribe. In addition, each team is given an independent and impartial runner to take the answer across the gym to give to the judges. The teaching principle at work is collaboration, as teams sit in a huddle, work together to arrive at their answers, and then check and double-check those answers — all in hushed tones to ensure that the neighboring teams don’t hear their deliberations!

Awards Matter

As is tradition for the Bible Experience, the key value of the Bible rises high above the competitive spirit, but understandably for children and teens, competition is a motivator. It is to be enjoyed in the spirit of fun and friendship. Every team is awarded first, second, or third place. This year Osprey-Diadem, a British Union Conference Pathfinders team from the London Filipino International church, achieved first place with a 100 percent perfect score!

Reflecting on the day’s experience, TED president Daniel Duda commented, “It is good for people to get together in the fifth and largest Bible experience so far, and it is a joy to see the value of this event increasing. It is also good to see teams from our division — but also from Kenya, Romania, Ukraine and Belgium.”

Reflecting on its lasting value, Duda said, “The Bible Experience helps children and teens grow and mature their faith, because they study the Bible, see the bigger picture, see struggles that they share with one another, and it helps them to see that there is more to life than what they experience.”

Candy Layson, TED associate treasurer, attending as a member of the organizing team, was “really impressed with the organization of the Dutch team led by Aicha Manuela-Martijn … I also want to commend the contribution of Kevin Johns, who initiated this event in 2013, and who directed today’s complex proceedings with excellence. With the quiz surrounded by praise and worship led by the great music team, I loved the atmosphere created,” Layson said.

Layson is also mother to two members of the winning team and said she is certain that the Bible Experience helps Pathfinders and Adventurers love studying the Bible.

A busy moment as Kevin Johns (BUC) and Judith Roelandse (NUC) announce the placings for each club.

It Takes a Team

Directing the events of the day on behalf of the TED, Kevin Johns was thrilled about what had taken place. “It was wonderful to see so many children participating in the ABE (Adventurer Bible Experience) and PBE (Pathfinder Bible Experience). These are the highest numbers taking part at TED level since the division became involved and is a testament to the impact this program is having on Adventurers and Pathfinders.

“This is not a competition, and it is more than just a test, because it is fortifying the minds of our children with God’s word,” Johns said. “Our directors from Kenya who brought their Pathfinders to join us commented, ‘Once we introduce PBE in Kenya, it will spread like a wildfire!’ ”

Johns had high praise for the hosts. “Thank you, Netherlands Union Conference and the team of Pathfinder leaders who worked tremendously hard to put the event together and give us a taste of the Dutch culture. And thank you to all the support staff and local club leaders.”

“But the most rewarding element of the program for me,” Johns concluded, “is seeing the 18 Pathfinders respond to the appeal by Gabriel Kwaye [NUC Youth director] for baptism, joining a further 73 Pathfinders who responded to the appeal at union level testing. It is now the work of the local club leaders to work with those Pathfinders and lead them to a relationship with Jesus. This is the whole purpose of the Pathfinder Bible Experience.”

As one Bible Experience ends, the work toward another begins. The books to be tested on next year? Romans and 1 and 2 Corinthians.

The original version of this story was posted by tedNEWS.

David Neal, tedNEWS