Bible Comes to Life for Pathfinders During Fair

August 30, 2016 | Anita Lebold

Where would you expect to find hundreds of young people and adults dressed in khaki and black? At Upper Columbia Academy for the 2016 Upper Columbia Conference Pathfinder Fair May 13–15, of course!

The fair is an annual event that is the highlight of the Pathfinder year. Staff and Pathfinders alike look forward to the opportunity for fellowship, meeting new friends, sharing experiences, recognizing accomplishments and growing together in Jesus. The fair includes a craft and honor display, time for outdoor activities and games, a parade, music, prayer focus, spiritual messages, investiture, and baptisms, all packed into one amazing weekend.

This year, Dick Stenbakken shared “Faces Around the Manger,“ the stories of the wise men, the innkeeper, Jesus' brother James and the shepherd. Stenbakken’s first-person Bible narratives drew those in attendance into the stories of Jesus, as if they were actually there to experience the events.

The Pathfinders were blessed as Tim Greenlaw and Friends led the music, setting the spiritual note for the meetings. The theme song was "Come As You Are" by Crowder. One staff member had just experienced the death of a close family member, and she found the lyrics “earth has no sorrow that heaven can't heal" particularly comforting. 

Pathfinders Marcus and Evan shared that their favorite part of the fair was the speaker.They particularly were impacted by the story about Barabbas. They said the speaker was “a really good actor and made it seem like the story was right from the Bible.”

Their club spent the free time Sabbath afternoon at Manito Park. They were excited about the fair and look forward to coming back next year.

A staff member named Roberta found she could personally relate to the stories of James and Barabbas as presented by Stenbakken. She saw God’s leading through the weekend even in the free time at Manito Park with her club. As they were walking through the park, the club members met an Adventist family visiting from Florida who wanted information about visiting the club's home church in Kennewick, Wash. The family recognized them as Pathfinders by their shirts. It was a very unexpected opportunity to become acquainted with some new friends and share in Christian fellowship.

“I love the chance for kids to fellowship with each other and the opportunity to team with wonderful staff," says Roberta.

Esmarelda, Janni and Samantha enjoyed the fair so much they want to come back again and invite friends to join Pathfinders. Their favorite thing was hanging out with friends. They enjoyed the active scavenger hunt game — running around and trying to find things. They also enjoyed the free time with their clubs. Some rode in vehicles to the top of Steptoe Butte and hiked down together. Some visited Manito Park.

Participating in the song service, particularly “Faith on Fire” and the theme song, was exciting too.

Some other special features at the fair were the review of Upper Columbia Conference Pathfinder participation in the Pathfinder Bible Experience and a celebration of the 20th anniversary of Teen Mission Adventure with a video showing Pathfinders serving the community during their school spring break.

If you get a chance, talk to a Pathfinder at your church about their experience at the Pathfinder Fair, or better yet, become involved with your local club as a Pathfinder or a staff member and experience the fair for yourself. It will be a life-changing experience you will not easily forget.

If you would like to experience the Bible stories Stenbakken shared, you can purchase the Faces Around the Cross DVD set and other materials at