Whatever it Takes — Even if it's Pathfinders

There is nothing closer to our hearts than our kids, right? And there is nothing more important than nurturing them into a meaningful relationship with Jesus Christ that will secure their eternal life in Him.

None of us can know for sure what decisions our children will make in the future. Sometimes two kids from the same family and environment make very different choices about the claims of Jesus on their lives. And, not even our heavenly Father is always successful in raising His kids — not because of His mistakes, but because He endows each of them with the freedom of choice.

As our children were growing up, Linnea and I often talked, prayed and worried about decisions Analisa and Katie might make in the future. We realized if our kids ever chose to keep God out of their lives, we would never be able to live with ourselves unless we as parents had done everything we knew to guide them toward Godly decisions.

So we took them to Sabbath School every week. Linnea often helped lead out when helpers were few. We made sure they attended Vacation Bible School. They participated in the Pathfinder club and its activities. We congratulated them as they earned honors. We told them it was neat they were "Busy Bees" and "Helping Hands." Dad even got himself in gear and got his Master Guide around that time.

We sent them to Adventist schools, attended the musical programs and basketball games. We helped with Home and School efforts and sent cookies to the bake sales. Whenever the church youth group needed a place to hold an event, we offered our house. When the school had ski days, I volunteered to drive (and get a discounted lift ticket). It's amazing what valuable conversations you can have with your daughter while you are riding on a ski lift together — and what you learn about some of their friends and classmates when you ride the chair with them.

It is truly amazing and even miraculous when you think of all the things our church does for children and youth. I encourage you to take advantage of every single one of them. It may be exhausting to keep up with all that energy, but do it. Be there for them. Do whatever it takes to provide an environment where it will be easy for them to decide to be faithful followers of Jesus.

And that is how I feel about the youth of the North Pacific Union. I can't make any guarantees. Some of our kids will choose to drift away, in spite of our best efforts. But the good seeds planted will always be in their hearts, and we will never cease praying for them or seeking ways to reconnect. I want every one of those young people to be with us in the Kingdom. And I want to know we did everything we knew to help them get ready to meet Jesus. Every dollar spent, every hour given, every prayer said, every class taught, every Pathfinder club, every youth group is well worth the time and effort if it helps in guiding our kids toward an eternal relationship with their best friend, Jesus.

November 01, 2009 / Editorial

Max Torkelsen II, North Pacific Union Conference president