The year’s testing event was challenging, but organizers used their ingenuity to pull off the program which had over 1,000 participants, including volunteers and mentors behind the scenes. Pictured here is one of the two Lansing teams, left to right - Justine Klein, Umi Majee, Sam Calvelage, Coach Zamantha Hampton, Jessica Klein.
Joined by 125 other teams across North America and from England, the teams participated virtually, answering 90 percent of the questions correctly.
“I could not be more proud for all of them all no matter their scoring outcome,” said Ron Whitehead, Lake Union Conference Youth director. “They are all outstanding young Bible scholars.”
Lake Union Club Ministries coordinator, Craig Harris concurred: “I am very proud of our youth for sticking with the PBE program through very different and difficult times. They listened to the questions read over Zoom, used [the technology platform] Nearpod to answer the questions, and used a second computer to Zoom to their fellow teammates that may not be in the same location."
Organizers of this year’s virtual testing used their ingenuity to pull off a program which had over 1,000 participants, including volunteers and mentors behind the scenes.
“The fact that NAD and the local clubs pulled this off is extraordinary," said Harris. "They understand the importance of hiding God’s Word in their heart and persevered in memorizing the important letters.”
The winning strategy for the several clubs, including Ann Arbor’s, was memorization songs. They spent about eight hours a week since the end of last September committing verses to memory through song.
When one of their teammates who lives in Canada wasn’t able to join the team for their in-person practice because of the country’s strict lockdown measures, the team improvised and found ways to still connect online.
This was the second year participating for 11-year-old, Lily Canada and she said has learned several valuable lessons from her experience. “This proves that hard work pays off,” said Lily who’s a member of the team Ann Arbor - By Faith. “If you put a lot of work into something God will help you. It’s a nice experience to feel accomplished.”
Her older sister, Leah, was captain of the Ann Arbor - Covid Conquerors team and while she missed seeing her friends in-person, she feels it has been meaningful overall. “It’s good to memorize these things in your head so if the time ever comes it’s easy to remember the things that can help you at that moment.”
Chicago's Shiloh Church team had a few relatively new members such as 10-year-old Eden Nicholson. This is her first year and she was responsible for studying 2 Peter and found that she has gained so much valuable knowledge from her studies. "In chapter one, it talks about how when Christ went to heaven and that some people are short-sighted and then turned back to their old ways. Chapter two talks about judgement and that we need to read Bible for themselves. It's a great experience learning about God and how he can help you with your problems.
Her older brother Micah is in his third year as a member of the PBE team and served as this year's captain. The daily drills have come to an end, for now, but in studying the entire book of James, he has learned about depending on God. "We shouldn’t be quick to be get angry. We should be quick to listen, said the 12-year-old. "If we have any problems, we should ask God for wisdom."
Youth leaders and PBE organizers emphasize that the point of the Pathfinder Bible Experience is not about winning but about storing God's word in their hearts for eternity. Whitehead remarked, “I cannot wait to see how the PBE Class of 2021 will use their Bible study knowledge to tell the world about Jesus.”
Below is a full list of the Lake Union teams that participated in the Division level testing: