Each year, Pathfinders have an opportunity to demonstrate their Bible knowledge at the Pathfinder Bible Experience (PBE), the official North American Division Pathfinder Bible study program. During the PBE, Pathfinders are tested on assigned books of the Bible through four levels of competition: area, conference, union, and the division final.
This year, for the first time, the Southern California Conference (SCC) hosted the PBE’s union-level testing. Twenty teams from all seven conferences in the Pacific Union Conference converged at San Fernando Valley Academy on Saturday, March 25.
“It takes a lot of collaboration with different leaders to make it possible,” Sal Garcia, SCC youth ministries director, said of the event. “We’re blessed in SCC and our union to have Pathfinder leaders who are willing to give their time and resources to make this possible for Pathfinder clubs.”
On testing day, teams answered 90 questions on the book of John. Two SCC Pathfinder clubs, from Pasadena and Tamarind churches, were among the 10 first-place teams to score 90% or higher and advance to the division-level event that will be held in Florida April 21-22.
While PBE has been around since 2011, SCC has just recently gotten involved. In 2021, SCC participated for the first time via Zoom, with area and conference level testing organized by then- PBE coordinator Javier Elenes.
This year, Matthew Reyes, member of Hollywood Spanish church, stepped in as PBE coordinator. As a longtime Pathfinder club ministries member who’s served as a junior counselor, drill instructor, deputy director, and master guide club director—to name a few—he was gently nudged into the role. After much prayer, and seeing the need for this program, he accepted the nomination.
“We encourage and promote academic excellence and athletic performance by enrolling our kids in extracurricular activities,” Reyes said, “but we should not—and in my view, cannot—let opportunities where our kids can grow spiritually pass by.”
“We are very proud of all the Pathfinders who have participated,” Garcia added. “We have seen the growth that’s taken place in each of their lives through spending so much time reading, studying, and memorizing God’s Word.”
Because this event is still new to SCC, many churches are still learning about PBE. However, Pathfinders have already shared their excitement with Garcia to participate at the area testing next year.
“I hope that PBE is here to stay in the SCC and that many more teams get involved in the program,” said Reyes. “It’s a fun and rewarding experience for all involved.”
The Pasadena church Pathfinder club is raising money to help their team get to the division final in Florida.