Although I only competed at nationals twice, I attended several other years with my sister who was competing, and one thing that struck me every year, was people's attitudes. You would think that at a competition that big, with that much money at stake, that people would be more uptight, unfriendly, concerned about themselves and focused on the money. But they're not. Every time I've had the opportunity to attend, I've been so blessed and encouraged by the contestants love for God and desire to glorify Him no matter what.
I love how they acknowledge that EVERYONE, even those who didn't make it to Nationals, are winners. If you were to go around and ask the contestants if they're nervous about their scores, you'd hear something like . . . "Well, I am excited to find out if I went on, but I did my best and I'll glorify God no matter what happens. Every hour of studying was worth it even if I never make a dollar off of it. Knowing God is worth more than that."
I've seen competitions where the contestants are trying to beat the other contestants, and sometimes, that can get too tense and focused on first place. At the Bible Bee, you don't hear people talking about how they're going to get first place. . . instead, you hear them praying for their friends . . . encouraging others . . . and giving God the glory.
Winning 1st place in the senior division is HUGE! $100,000.00!!!! Yet in my years of Bible Bee, when the 1st place winner is announced, they're not proud about all they learned . . . instead, they display humility and glorify God. If any of you watched the live stream this year, you'll especially know what I'm talking about.
Sorry, I didn't mean to go on this long, but when I think of the Bible Bee, I think of Believers encouraging each other in the Word, and building each other up. It's beautiful.
Anyways, last year, I aged out and was no longer able to compete. I was pretty sad about not being able to go back this year, but as I thought about Nationals, I realized that the very things I learned there wouldn't allow me to feel bad for myself for not getting to go. I was THRILLED for all my Bible Bee friends that I knew would be there and I was REALLY excited that one of my cousins had qualified.
It wasn't very long after I started thanking God for the Bible Bee and that I wasn't going to be there, that I got a phone call. . . "Hey, Cilla, we have an extra seat in our van. Do you want to come with us to Nationals?"
I was pretty much bouncing off the walls when I called my cousin back and told her I could go. I couldn't believe God's goodness in letting me go one last year!!!!
The M. family was GREAT to travel with and I LOVED the trip. . . although if you think of it you could send them a sympathy card . . . they were stuck with me in the vehicle for around 48 hours!!!
Anyways, on the way down, we stopped at some other cousins' house and I had an absolute blast spending time with them!!!!
Like always, the competition was GREAT! Watching the contestants recite is so . . . hard to explain. It's like the Scriptures come alive on their tongues and I was really blessed and encouraged by all the Scripture I got to hear.
Recognize any of these people?
They had some GREAT speakers there and I don't have pictures of all of them, but it was really neat hearing about the Ark Encounter from Ken Ham, the Museum of the Bible from Steve Greene (the owner of Hobby Lobby) Ray Comfort and E.Z. from LivingWaters, Ted Cruz's dad, Max Lucado, Michael Farris from HSLDA and several others.
If you don't recognize them, these are the Benham brothers. David and Jason Beham, if you're not familiar with them they are (can't you tell?) identical twins and REAL characters. You may know them from their time in minor leagues baseball, or from their t.v. show that got cancelled because of their Christian stands, or maybe you've read one of their books. They were AWESOME at the Bible Bee and it was neat seeing their passion for following Christ.
And it wouldn't be Bible Bee without someone pulling out the Dutch Blitz cards! I love that game!!!
So that's about it. Did I say I had a BLAST?!?!?!?!?!!
Thank you SOOOOOO much, M. family, for letting me come along! I am so proud of Esther for qualifying and I'm excited to see how God uses the Bible Bee in the future.
Oh, yeah, and in case you're wondering why the M. family needs a sympathy card from you . . . does the picture explain it? When I try to stay hydrated . . . LOOK OUT!