Pathfinders Experience Homelessness at Sunset Lake Retreat

The kids all waited expectantly for the activities to begin. Little did they know they were in for a surprise. "All right kids, grab a potato, a carrot, an onion, a tin can and let's go eat," the Washington Conference Pathfinder director said.

A look of astonishment covered most of the faces. "Eat what?" someone said, not comprehending that they were to cut, dice, cook and eat their own supper in the tin can over a fire they would build in the rain.

The annual Washington Conference Pathfinder Teen Retreat took on a whole new look this year as more than 200 Pathfinders and staff felt what it was like to be homeless, if only for an evening. In a makeshift shelter, thrown together with a blue tarp, Pathfinders prepared and ate their supper. The chilly air cooled their bodies, but their hearts were warmed by the inspiring message given by Alden Ho later that evening.

On Sabbath morning, after a breakfast of brown rice, church was held in Timber Lodge. Then the kids loaded buses for Tacoma and Seattle to spread a little sunshine to the homeless they found on the streets.

As the kids talked of their experiences that evening, it was easy to see that lives had been changed and these Pathfinders would never look at homeless people in the same way.

Sunday morning the Pathfinders took on the task of picking up trash in nearby Wilkeson, Wash. They managed to find more than a ton of rubbish and haul it off the streets.

The last event was the best: communion. As the kids ate the symbol of the body and blood of Christ, quietness filled the room. This special moment was the perfect end to an unforgettable weekend.

April 01, 2004 / Washington Conference