The World’s Smallest Pathfinder Club

By Christina Dotson
Do four people even count as a real Pathfinder club?” Rachel wondered. She plopped down next to me at the table in the nearly empty school lunchroom, where we always held our club meetings. 
“Make that three people,” said my brother Tony. “I don’t think I’ll be coming anymore. I’m getting too old for this.”
“Aw, poor grandpa,” I teased. “Come on, Tony, you’re a freshman in high school. You’re not exactly ready for retirement.”
“I’m ready to retire from camping, that’s for sure,” Tony replied.
I decided not to point out that he hadn’t actually been camping with us in years, not since the time he caught his coat on fire and rolled 20 yards downhill into a river.
My brother was not what you would call the outdoorsy type, so it made sense that he wasn’t too enthusiastic about Pathfinders. Still, we couldn’t even afford to lose him from our club, not since our membership had apparently shrunk down to four.
Across the room, Rachel and Andy’s dad was talking with our church pastor, probably trying to decide if it was even worth it to have a meeting, and who should be in charge of that meeting if there was one. In years past, Chad and Todd’s father had been our Pathfinder leader. But since they had all moved to Oregon, we found ourselves not only without our leader, but without our two most energetic members, as well.
“Remember years ago, when we first learned to march?” I said. “Remember how Chad told us that when the drill leader said ‘halt’ we were all supposed to spin around in a circle with our arms spread out?”
“Yeah, and you little kids believed him.” Tony laughed. “And when everyone else came to a stop, you and your little friends started spinning around like tops until you fell down.”
“Hey, we were a lot younger, then,” Rachel said. “And I’m pretty sure we knew it was a joke. We were just having fun.”
“It was funny for a while,” said Andy, “until we went to that state camporee and you spun around in front of strangers. That was just embarrassing.”
“I’ll tell you what’s embarrassing—this!” I said, gesturing to the nearly empty room. “We used to have a huge Pathfinder club, remember? We used to have uniforms and march in camporees and carry a banner with our name on it. What are people going to think of the Clarksfield Christian Crusaders, now? We’ll have to change our name to The Clarksfield Pitifuls.”
“How about The Has-Beens?” said Rachel. 
“The Incredible Shrinking Club!” Andy suggested.
“The Abject Four,” said Tony, showing off his vocabulary, as usual.
 “Are you guys over here feeling sorry for yourselves?” the pastor asked as he joined our group.
“We’re simply coming to terms with the facts,” said Tony. “There are only four of us. We can’t have a club with only four members.”
“Why not?’ our pastor demanded. “Gideon defeated an entire army with only 300 soldiers.”
“That’s a lot more than four,” said Andy.
“Jesus had only 12 disciples.”
“That’s three times as many as four,” said Tony.
“David and Goliath!”
We didn’t have a comeback for that one.
“My point is,” the pastor went on, “God can use a small group of people to do great things for Him. You just have to be willing to let Him use you. What do you say?”
The four of us looked at each other.
Finally Tony shrugged. “OK,” he said, “but I’m not going camping.”
*     *     *
The next chapter will be posted online Thursday evening, February 21!
    Read the main story, “Anything Can Happen,” each week in Guide!

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The World’s Smallest Pathfinder Club

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