Pathfinders Come to Village

Pathfinders’ Trek to or from Oshkosh Via Battle Creek

It’s by far not the shortest route to Oshkosh or back from anywhere in the world but it certainly is the most constructive and informative course. What may that way be? Why of course that path is through Historical Adventist Village (HAV) in Battle Creek, Michigan. At least that is what 5457 global Pathfinders learned. During a three week span, beginning the week before through the week after, Pathfinder Clubs from around the world traveled to Battle Creek on their way to the Camporee in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Some clubs came from the farthest corners of the world like South Korea, Papua New Guinea, Latvia, Russia, Estonia, Belgium, Brazil, Peru, Mexico, Dominican Republic, England, Argentina, Austria, Australia, Italy, Canada and MORE and others not so far like those from the US including: California, Maine, Florida, Louisiana, Texas, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Washington from sea to shining sea. Beginning as early as 8:00 AM and ending as late as 10:00 PM, the Pathfinders came to hear the many stories of the roots of Adventism that run deep in Battle Creek.

At HAV they learned that in 1855 four men, J.P. Kellogg; Dan Palmer; Cyrenius Smith; and Henry Lyon invited James White to move the publishing work to Battle Creek and provided $1250 to purchase a piece of land and erect a building to house the publishing work. Pathfinders were amazed to learn the John Loughborough was only 16 years old when he started preaching the message of a soon coming Savior. In the Hardy House Exhibit, these young Adventist learned that Edson White built the boat “Morning Star” in Allegan, Michigan, so he could do missionary work in the south that led to the establishment of what is now called Oakwood University. Many Pathfinders attend one of our modern-day Adventist schools. So the stop in the one-room school house informed them that Goodloe Harper Bell was instrumental in the establishment of the Adventist School System in Battle Creek in 1872. Next stop on the tour of the village, Pathfinders visited the actual Parkville Church and heard the exciting story of Ellen White’s Civil War vision and while in that vision she did not breathe for twenty minutes. David Hewitt, the most honest man in all of Battle Creek, lived in a log cabin very much like the one the Pathfinders walked through at the Village. In that cabin they received the knowledge that Hewitt learned the great Adventist message from Elder Joseph Bates because Bates had had a dream that he should share that message with the most honest man in town. Sometimes, the young people learned, that folk like to hang onto their old believes. Such was the case with Deacon White, the father of James White. It wasn’t until he was well along in age and lived in his little cottage across the street from his son and his wife, Ellen, that he accepted the seventh-day Sabbath truth. The second to last stop of the Village tour is the replica of the Second Meeting House. Many historically important events of the Adventist Church occurred in that Meeting House. Among them was the choosing of the name “Seventh-day Adventist” in October, 1860. The last stop on the Village trek is the home of Ellen and James White. The Pathfinders were able to walk in the steps of the Whites in their own home and this is the only home where James and Ellen lived with all four of their sons and how their youngest son died in that home in Battle Creek. Yet through their personal pain and heartache they continued to serve the Lord. Though there are many more stories that the Pathfinders heard, these are just some of the highlights of the knowledge the Pathfinders received while at HAV.

This HUGE Pathfinder tour undertaking was carefully and expertly organized by the HAV caretaker/managers, Betty and Don Scherencel. They requisitioned numerous volunteers from as far away as Arkansas and California. These volunteers performed as docents, shepherds, and armband checkers. Some worked tirelessly in registration, as water carriers, or did cleaning and photography. Tours were provided in both Spanish and English while others were translated by Club members in their own native tongue. Besides all of this the Scherencels arranged for a food truck to be on the premises so that no one would go hungry. All and all this three weeks of bustle with all God’s children was really just a little taste of heaven after we all pass through this path on our course to eternity.