Wasn't it just yesterday that my mom helped me sign up for my first ever Bible Bee in 2011? Wasn't it just yesterday that I walked out of the JW Marriott hotel in San Antonio, TX and hugged my friends for the last time?
The memories in between each of these moments are beautiful ones. Every memory from my Bible Bee journey was stunningly beautiful. Yes, there were the painful moments and the stressful moments. The moments of tears and the moments of heart break. But every moment was beautiful because God showed up in every moment on that journey. Sometimes He showed up in ways I knew He would and sometimes it was ways I never would've expected. He was so good and faithful every step of the journey. ♥
Yet when I became Alumni of the National Bible Bee, my journey was not to end there.
I was fourteen, at my first ever Nationals in 2011, when I first decided that one day I was going to host a Local Bee. Every year at Nationals after that, I always reminded myself that someday I wanted to host.
Hosting was an honor that I one day hoped to have. Hosting had the high responsiblity of encouraging, inspiring, and building up the next generation of young people who would be dedicated to the Word of God.
My Local Bible Bee Hosts over the years were amazing, but my host in 2013 and 2014 inspired me the most. And one day I wanted to give back to the next generation of Bible Bee-er's, what my host had given to me. Motivation, inspiration, dedication.
And then, all too soon, my Bible Bee journey ended as a contestant.
When 2016 came around I always thought I would host, but I was actually hesitant to register.
I had many different concerns. What if no one signed up at my bee? What if I wasn't a good host? What if I didn't know how to lead the kids? What if...?
In the midst of my uncertainty, I felt God urging me to register to host. I felt it so strongly, I knew it was His will for me. So I took the leap of faith and signed up as a 2016 Local Bible Bee Host.
Looking back, I wouldn't trade that experience for anything. It was one of the greatest adventures. All the hard work and sacrifice, and yes even tears, that I put into hosting was all worth it the day I stood at my first fellowship gathering, and one of my Primary's recited a Scripture verse to me. They recited so excitedly and it brought back a flood of emotions as I remembered being in their place, reciting. As I listened to them, I knew this was what the Bible Bee was all about. Not the competition, not the prizes, not Nationals. It was about these verses they were reciting and one generation turning and discipling the next to be a student of the Word of God.
It was an honor to host a Local Bee and encourage each of the 11 contestants registered under me. I loved each of them and our group had so much fun. I have never been so proud of a group of kids as I was of each of them as they studied and recited.
When I found out in November that I had been awarded the Host of the Year 2016 award from the National Bible Bee, I was stunned. I had dreamed of winning this award, but never thought it could happen. When God gave me that award, I was humbled and honored. To God be the glory, great things He has done. ♥
So as I look back on winning this award and my time as a Local host in 2016, I decided to write a post to encourage YOU to host a Local Bible Bee this summer in 2017! Yes, you!
And here are the reasons why I think you should:
1) It will impact your life. Having this role of inspiring and encouraging these kids, really should be taken seriously. As hosts we have the honor of pointing these kids to the Word of God and encouraging them to dedicate their entire summer to studying more about Jesus. What better way to use their summer than this!! As you help these kids study and as you listen to them recite, it will impact your life. I know for me, those contestants at my bee inspired me to keep memorizing, even as alumni. Hosting will impact your life in some way, I promise.
2) It will impact the contestants' lives. The Bible Bee changed my life every step of the way. From learning more about how to study God's Word, to hiding thousands of Bible verses in my heart, and to trusting God with every aspect of the competition, I was not the same person after Bible Bee as I was before. I was stronger in my faith and more dedicated to the Word of God because of this journey. As a Local Host, you're giving this opportunity to another child. By bringing the Bible Bee to your town and community, you're giving a contestant the chance to have their lives changed by the Word of God.
3) If you're Bible Bee Alumni, you should host. It's just as simple as that :) I honestly think that as a Bible Bee Alumni, it's our responsibility to turn back and disciple the next generation coming after us. Whether that means hosting, helping another local host, or volunteering at Nationals, I feel it is our responsibility to give back what was given to us. As previous Bible Bee contestants we were given the gift of having the opportunity to study God's Word all summer (and fall!) long! I urge you to give that back to others. As Alumni you also know what it's like to be a contestant and you know how much fun it can be! Hosting was a blast for me because I wanted to create a celebration day and ceremony for my contestants that I know would've made me thrilled as a contestant. You have the special gift of having walked this road before these young ones. Now you can inspire them the way alumni and local hosts inspired you.
4) You will laugh a lot. Yep, it's true. :) You will have just as much fun as your contestants if you let yourself! From making up games to play with the contestants, to singing songs totally off-key, you will have the time of your life and it will be incredible. :)
5) You will learn more than you thought possible. Oh, yes, you will! I learned so much from my hosting experience. I learned how to organize an event, lead a group, and encourage others to get involved! From calling several different places about spreading the word, to emailing my contestants on a weekly basis, everything I did taught me something as well. And the greatest gift of all, was learning more about Jesus as I studied along with these precious kids. :)
So there you have it. And now the choice is up to you.
Will you take the leap of faith and register to host a Local Bible Bee in 2017? You won't regret it, I promise. Take a leap of faith and trust God. It will be amazing. :)
Go here: www.biblebee.org to learn more about hosting in 2017! I dare you. ;)
And if you're between the ages of 7-18, stay tuned for another post coming soon about why I think you should compete in the Bible Bee in 2017! ;)
Praise Jesus ♥
Isabella Morganthal (20) is a homeschool high school graduate who loves Jesus with all of her heart. She is a drummer, writer, creative arts director, and modern-day abolitionist.