Pathfinders Announce 'We Are Alaska!' at Oshkosh
Finally, at 2:30 p.m. on Aug. 14, 2019, a loud and crisp “forward, march!” was sounded by area coordinator Seven Toleafoa, as 115 Alaska Pathfinders and staff from clubs all over the state took their first step in parade formation. As the formation passed the review stand at the International Pathfinder Camporee in Oshkosh, Wis., the shout “We are Alaska!” exploded in unison as the group passed by. Surprised union leaders later commented to Tobin Dodge, Alaska Conference youth director, “Everyone knows Alaska is here!”
How did this happen? In 2018, the Alaska Conference made a bold decision to step out in faith and prepurchase 100 tickets for the 2019 Pathfinder Camporee even though previous attendance records showed less than 20. This vision was blessed by heaven, and the Holy Spirit began inspiring men and women, boys and girls to come together and dream big. Prayers ascended, costs were calculated, leaders stepped forward, clubs began fundraising, and donors joined in the adventure that led to the largest showing of Alaska Pathfinders at the International Pathfinder Camporee in conference history … and God gets all the glory!
The vastness of the Alaska Conference and the limited access young people have to attend Adventist schools is challenging. This is why the Pathfinder ministry is especially meaningful here. Our dream is to have vibrant Pathfinder clubs in every community in Alaska to provide a Christ-centered, recreational-spiritual program. We are earnestly praying for spiritually committed, dedicated leaders in Alaska who sense the importance of working with young people of Pathfinder age (ages 10–16).
Opening night ceremonies at the camporee included flags and fireworks as 57,000 Pathfinders from all over the world joined with praise team leader Chad Angasan, Nome Church pastor, in the theme song, “Chosen.” Each of the six evening programs included singing, powerful preaching and a compelling drama of how David the shepherd-boy became king of Israel and how he always came back to God.
Throughout the week’s activities and excitement, hearts were responding each night to the powerful call of the Holy Spirit to make decisions for Jesus. One of these young hearts was sitting next to a pastor from Alaska. When the evening appeal was given to "grab the hand of an adult near you and make your way forward for baptism,” Samantha Lonser from Anchorage's Hillside O’Malley Church grabbed that pastor’s hand and ran to the front of the enormous stadium. The pastor could barely keep up and will never forget that moment. Eight Alaska Pathfinders joined 1,302 other young people in the single largest youth baptism event in the history of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Is the ministry of Pathfinders making an eternal difference? Ask Lonser and the other Pathfinders baptised at Oshkosh. C’mon Alaskans, let’s get Pathfindering! “We are Alaska!"