Iceland | Marica Mirilov, Iceland, TED

About 100 Master Guides, representing 20 countries of the Trans-European and North-American divisions in the expedition, with a further 30 joining the training session, will carry the treasure of knowledge, skills, and the most unforgettable memories. The events in Iceland on 19–26 June 2022 will make the most exciting sermon illustrations and campfire stories.

A joint effort of the two divisions provided a unique opportunity to connect, exchange new ideas, expertise, and skills, and marked the Master Guide Centennial celebration.

Everything in Iceland was “extreme”, starting with adjusting to the midnight sun. 

On Monday, 20 June 2022, a 27-kilometre backpack expedition through different volcanic formations brought the enthusiastic participants to the still-steaming lava crust that emitted on 18 September 2021. The following day, the Icelandic weather proved its reputation of unpredictability, fierceness, and bitterly cold rain that completely soaked all the hikers, and only the most determined completed the day’s expedition.

On Thursday, 23 June 2022, a dip in local hot springs and a guided tour of the volcano’s lava tube was a special treat. 

That same evening, the 15th TED Master Guide training started, and a number of ardent workshop presenters were introduced. The meetings were enriched with dramatic experiences shared by guest speaker Dr. Andres Peralta, associate General Conference Youth director for Adventurer and Pathfinder Ministries.

Chris Ohlmann joined the event with his wife, Melissa, and seven Master Guides from the Alberta Conference in Canada. Ohlmann promotes the Master Guide Outdoor initiative within the North-American Division with the vision of connecting people with God by exploring His incredible creation. He had an opportunity to share the same vision with all the attendees at the Master Guide Outdoors Ministry workshop. 

Ohlmann reflected on the expedition: “As we explored Iceland together, we soaked in the beauty of God’s creation. We also faced challenges from difficult terrains and harsh weather that forced us to rely on one another. These shared experiences created many new friends and a greater connection with our Father in heaven who brought us all together.”

For Lianro WagenerSmith, one of the workshop presenters and an educational psychologist, this was the first event the family attended together since her husband, Anthony, joined the TED team as the Evangelism and Mission coordinator in January 2022. 

In her workshop, WagenerSmith stressed the importance of connecting with children and young people—the power of relationships that can build their resilience in life. “We can’t change the hard things in a child’s life, but we have the power to be a supportive influence during Pathfinder times in our clubs. We should create secure, safe, and nurturing relationships; as such, they can be a tipping factor for children who have experienced adversities.”

The Sabbath celebration was the highlight of the event, recognising God as our Creator and the One who commissions us. 

Although everyone was wondering when exactly to start the Sabbath since the sunset was a little after midnight, the Black Sand Beach and a view of the huge Atlantic Ocean was a perfect venue to reflect on the vastness of God’s love, share personal experiences, and be united in prayer.

Sabbath morning service was packed with encouragement that came in different ways. Peralta once again reminded everyone present that the Almighty God is the only one who creates from nothing. 

The most appropriate way to celebrate 100 years of Master Guides and finish the event was the investiture of four Master Guides from Cyprus, two from Poland, one from Norway, and a certified leader from Scotland, commissioned and welcomed into the worldwide family of Master Guides.

A Master Guide of 30 years, Machlon Comvalius, from the Netherlands, speaks about the event: “It was fantastic to meet and speak to other leaders and share experiences.”

Dejan Stojkovic, TED Youth director, passionately reflected on the “OneTeam” concept of Pastor Armando Miranda, North-American Division Youth director. “The [joint] event between the two divisions is truly building the unity and cooperation of the Pathfinder movement leadership. None of this would be possible without the sacrifices and hard work of each staff member and volunteer and, above all, the Icelandic Mission Conference and their dedicated Pathfinder leader, Dr. Birgir Oskarsson, who went the extra mile to make this event a great success.” 

Stojkovic concluded this remarkable event with a charge from the Master Guide song: “Press on forward, Master Guides, with holy boldness, we’re invested with great strength. To help all the youth who choose to be with Jesus, and they long to follow Him.”