Alpha & Omega - My time at the National Bible Bee


So here was the main hindrance to my writing more! - I was studying for this! - If any of you are wondering how I did; I didn't make it past the preliminarys. But my prayer before I went was simply that through my recitation or through my conversations there, I could impact at least one person for the glory of God.
  I give Him the glory that I feel this was accomplished!
I am naturally extremely self conscious and my greatest fear was that though normally passionate while reciting, I would lose my composure once on stage in front of those eight or ten families and contestants and either forget all my passages or recite in a scared monotone.  How can one bring glory to God with a heart full of fear? - I spent much time in prayer over this issue, praying that through whatever means the Lord would be glorified through me! He is indeed a good father!
  "Would the next contestant please come to the microphone!"  It was my turn, my heart sped up slightly and my stomach started to feel like it was on a merry-go-round. I stood up, walked to the steps leading up to the platform. 1 step - "Lord have mercy on me!"  2 steps, "hear my prayer O Lord my God!" my beating heart began to subside, step 3, "May Thy name O Lord be glorified!"  I reached the platform and stared out over that small yet unfamiliar group of faces. And my fear was gone! - I was perfectly at home up there!  They gave me my first verse reference, John 7:12, and I remembered it!
  After my recitation was over, several people who were in the room told both me and my mother that they were blessed by my recitation. A gentleman thanked me for sharing the word of God with them all! And mommy said someone told her that he could tell I loved the Lord! - What a blessing! God took away my fear at just the right time and I feel that He also killed a good portion of my fear at that time, never to bother me again! - Praise the Lord, great things He has done!
  As we were walking back to our room, mommy said that she thought that I didn't need to get into the semi-finals because I had already accomplished my purpose! - I agreed, a little halfheartedly at the time because I so wanted to get into the semi-finals, but when I didn't, the Lord gave me peace in knowing that I had still touched hearts and blessed more than one person!
 This was my first year to try and apparently to get into nationals on one's first try is not usual, so I  really am happy! This is also my last year - so I tried to savor every bit, knowing that I would never return as a contestant again! (this is why I titled this post the way I did, if you hadn't guessed that already!)
  
This picture shows me, trying to look composed, waiting for them to divide us up to go to our reciting rooms!
   The trip there and back went off with out a hitch and I know that was one of mommy's biggest concerns!
Several blessings also paved our way throughout the weekend! When we were in the registration lines, we reached one table where, to my great surprise, a smiling lady handed me a large gift bag out of which peeped royal blue tissue-paper and told me! "Happy Birthday!"  I was so surprised I felt my knees knocking! My birthday was on Friday, the thirty-first, and they had put together a gift for all the contestants whose birthdays fell on one of the competition days! - I felt incredibly honored, to think with all the work to organize such a huge event, they had taken the the time to recognize our birthdays!!!
   Blessing number two; the hotel, being such a big and expensive one, had several restaurants in it! For the most part we ate at the cheaper ones, but on Friday night, Mommy took me out to Benihana, a Japanese restaurant where the cook the food right in front of you on a large grill built into the table. Are table was shared by a sweet elderly couple who were attending the bible bee as vendors and we had such a sweet talk with them. When finished, they offered, out of the goodness of their hearts, to pay for our meal! - I felt so loved, I could hardly believe my ears! What a good God we serve who unites all of us together with such kindness and Love!
   And finally, providence number three, (they seem to come in threes don't they?) On Saturday night, we forgot to buy tickets for the family dinner and the booth where we could have gotten them was closed, in desperation we went to the ushers at the door of the dinner room to see if maybe they had any spares that we could purchase; what was our surprise to find that somebody had bought tickets and then, not needing them, had given them to the doorkeepers to just give to anyone who wanted them! - how can we cease blessing the Lord for His providence for His children!
Above is a group of friends from a bible memorization website with whom I had the blessing of studying for the National and Local contest, remotely of course, but it was good to meet them all in real life!
I also had the blessing of meeting a sweet young lady with whom I had been chatting back and forth about the Bee and we had been encouraging each other to keep on going when the memorizing was tough!
She and I sat up in the front row, watching the final challenge rounds! (I know I told someone not to long ago, that sitting up in the front row was not my sort of thing, but I've changed a bit since then!)
Another thing, several of us foolish young folks did, was to sit until nearly midnight a couple of nights, playing Dutch blitz! - That was fun, even though I paid for it in the morning! But adrenalin kept me up the whole trip through! After all, one doesn't get to do such things very often at all!
 We ate a lovely dessert on Saturday night at the closing cermony and I was very touched as they handed out some other awards and was greatly inspired by the story of Shelby Kenedy the inspiration for the Bee.

We sang together at the end  and my heart was indeed thrilled to the core by it all, How can such a holy God come to dwell with us defiled sinners? I asked myself several times, And yet how glad I am that He did, for this is what results, when He does. This tying of hearts, this love, this joy and comradery - this is what the Spirit of God can do for us wretched beings!

   Of course a good trip is never complete without a good set of embarrassments!
I had two. (though perhaps there were more which I didn't notice, being a rather shameless individual) these embarrassments were enough to bring a good bit of color even to my face!

  Awkward moment number one: People say my voice is loud and carries far, though it doesn't seem that way to me! We were downstairs reviewing verses and I was reciting in what I consider a normal tone of voice, and all was well, I wasn't abashed at all, though there were people walking all around, since I wasn't the center of attention, and I spoke with my normal gesticulations and inflections. Then, I hit a mistake and, being relaxed, reacted with my normal response! "OoooH!" spoken in a descending scale and rather loud! It was too late before I realized my situation! A mother and her son were walking by holding hands and an older gentleman with a kindly face. They laughed and the gentleman winked and I was thoroughly embarrassed! However, it did create an understanding between me and him, for ever after, when we came across eachother, he would grin and wink and I had to grin sheepishly back!
  Awkward moment number two: Our church has a Fall Festival which they celebrate annually at a family's farm (whose last name happens to be Forney! ;)  And it was scheduled for Saturday, November 1st, one of the days we would be gone! I was disappointed that I would have to miss it, but Oh well, I had, by Saturday morning quite forgotten that it would be occurring that evening. Mommy and I were eating breakfast in a cheerful little diner with sparkling glass table tops, mounted on a single mettle stand.  "Did I tell you," she began casually, "That the festival has been postponed until tomorrow night because of inclement weather? That means we'll be able to go." We would be arriving home on Sunday afternoon. "No, I didn't know that!" I exclaimed, with glee, "YESS!" in my excitement I slammed my fist into the table top, causing the the glass table and the ceramic dishes to rattle with a very loud, CRASH! No, nothing broke, but nearly every person in the room raised his head to stare at me, a family across the way started chuckling and I wished my chair and its contents would descend to the roots of the mountains! - Even mommy was laughing! - Well, oh, well! ; )

   On Saturday night, I square danced with the others until after midnight regardless of the fact that I would have to get up before five on that morning to leave for the air port! ~ I managed! And don't regret I did it, being that I don't get many opportunities in my area to dance very often and this was a once in a blue moon occasion!
   On Friday night, (I know I'm going backwards but why not?) we had the opportunity to watch a christian juggler perform his tricks! I was laughing till my sides ached at his jokes, and thoroughly awed by his tricks! Then, we got to hear, a male vocal ensemble sing, whom I had never heard before and they brought tears into my eyes with their beautiful singing and love for the Lord! This post would not be complete with out one of their songs. - Best of all, they sang a-capella!

 I will never forget this time! Though most of those people will probably never read this post, I want to say thank you to everyone who made this event possible! - I want to Thank all the people there who sharpened and encouraged me! - I want to thank my local host Mrs. Twila Blevins for all the love and hard work she put into our group! - I want to thank my mother for all the time and effort she spent with me, quizzing me constantly on my verses. - Most importantly, I want to thank my God and Father in heaven, who has done this great work in all of our hearts! ~ Who has performed and accomplished it...The Lord of Hosts is His name!

  It was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
    2 Thessalonians 2:14