“I told my dad we’d get lost,” Andy complained as we plodded back into the cabin and plopped down on the floor, too exhausted from our hike to care how dirty it was. “I told him we didn’t know how to read a compass or follow a map.”
“It wasn’t a big deal,” Rachel pointed out. “Maybe we didn’t know where we were on the map, but we were never really lost. We found our way back OK.”
“Yeah, but it’s embarrassing,” I said. “I bet all the other Pathfinder clubs made it to the final checkpoint. I bet we’re the only losers who had to give up.”
“We’re not losers!” All eyes turned to Jaimi, who glared down at us fiercely. “So what if we’re the smallest club around?” she continued. “Being small doesn’t make you a loser. I’m the smallest person in the club, and I don’t care. Our school is small, and we’ve never felt bad about that. You’re only a loser if you choose to act like one!”
“OK, OK,” I said, holding up my hands in surrender. “You’re right. I’ll stop putting down our club.”
Outside, someone blew a whistle.
“What’s happening now?” Jaimi asked.
“Evening worship,” said Rachel.
Once again we hurried up the hill, taking our seats on the stumps and logs surrounding the fire. The other clubs were in high spirits, sharing stories of how quickly and easily they were able to make it through the orienteering course.
“Listen up, everyone!” one of the leaders announced. “Tonight we’ve decided to hold a Bible quiz competition! To make it fair, we’re going to try and even out the groups. Take a moment to put yourselves into teams of five or six.”
There was a wild scramble as everyone tried to stay on a team with their friends. Since there were only four of us, we didn’t have that problem. Instead, we needed to find some other kid who was willing to join us.
“How about him?” Jaimi suggested. She pointed to a small boy from another club who had been left out during the mad dash to form teams.
“Couldn’t hurt,” I said. I figured we didn’t stand a chance of winning any kind of competition against these other Pathfinder clubs, so having a little kid on the team wouldn’t make a difference.
The boy’s name turned out to be Kevin, and his face lit up when we invited him to join us.
“Are you new to Pathfinders?” Jaimi asked.
“Uh-huh,” said Kevin.
The leader began going around the circle, asking each team a Bible trivia question. Teams could discuss answers among themselves, but if they got a question wrong, they were eliminated.
We let Kevin be our spokesperson, shouting out our answers when our turn came. At first the questions were easy. Who was swallowed by a whale? Who was thrown into a fiery furnace? But they quickly got more challenging. One by one, teams were eliminated.
Our club was still in it.
“Who were the first three kings of Israel?”
We whispered among ourselves, then told Kevin what to say. “Saul, David, and Solomon.”
“What was the name of the woman who protected the Israelite spies in Jericho?”
“Rahab!” Kevin proclaimed.
There were four teams left when we came to a question of which no one seemed to know the answer.
“The prophet Hosea married a woman who repeatedly ran away, abandoning him and her children. The story of Hosea’s forgiveness illustrates how God feels about people who turn away from the Lord. What was the name of Hosea’s wife?”
Each team was given the question. No one could answer it. Our team had the last chance. If we knew it, we would win.
“Hosea’s wife?” Andy whispered as we huddled together. “Are they kidding?”
Rachel and Jaimi just shook their heads.
“I think I know this story.”
We stared at Kevin.
“My dad listens to this song about Hosea,” he continued. “His wife had a funny name, but—oh, I’m sorry, I don’t know.”
The little boy looked crushed, but I was elated. “You’re right!” I exclaimed. “There is a song about Hosea! Kevin,
you’re a genius!”
I whispered the answer in his ear, helped him hop up on a log, and grinned as he shouted for all the woods to hear, “Hosea’s wife was Gomer!”
It was only a small victory from a small Pathfinder club with the help of a small new friend, but in that moment we all felt like big winners.