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The Blessing of Hosting: A Host Interview

January 11, 2023

Sheri George shares her experience as a National Bible Bee Host:

How did you hear about the National Bible Bee?

I originally heard about the National Bible Bee through a blog of another mom.  I had heard about it for years before actually looking into it.  I looked into it because my son, who was 15 at the time, was looking at a summer full of farm work but not much else.  He wanted to be mentally challenged and I remembered hearing about the NBB.  So I searched online and found there was still time to sign up.  But there were no host groups anywhere near us and at the time, none in the city we are closest to.  So I ordered the materials just for my son and he did the whole study alone that first year.  Most of us (the rest of the family) were not involved… yet.

What inspired you to host?

After our first year attending the National Bible Bee Competition in 2017, we were amazed at what we saw and we were hooked!  On the drive home, my son asked, “Mom, would you be a host next year?”  And how could I say no?

How long have you hosted?

We have been hosting since 2018.

How did/do you go about getting participants to join your group? 

We started advertising with some local homeschool groups in our area but at the time, it was a small group and we didn’t get any interest.  So we advertised with a larger group in St. Louis, about 1 and a half hours from us.  We had 6 participants that first year and we drove 1.5 hours to each meeting to host.  We didn’t know what we were doing but we tried to be a blessing and encourage everyone to finish the study.  Over the past 4 years, God has grown our group to a size we could never have imagined!

How big is your group?

We started with 6 and now this last year we had 47 participants and all of them came to meetings here in our local town.  God also brought us a large church building for our meetings which meets all of our needs.  It is amazing what God has done in such a short time of 4 years of hosting.

Do you host alone, or do you have other parents/alumni/participants help you?

I hosted alone my first year.  In my second year God brought me an amazing co-host and our group grew and our ability to serve different age groups improved much!  As of this year, I have a co-host, many volunteers, my alumni son and together we served 47 participants throughout the summer.

What does a “normal” meeting look like for your group?

Each year has been different.  This year, 2022, we had more consistency to our meetings. Since we had so many participants of a variety of ages, we did a little bit as a large group then broke into age groups from there.  It looked something like this:

10 min – announcements, prayer and singing our theme song “I’ve Been Redeemed”

45 min – Scripture recitations by age group/practicing with a partner and recoding a score and winning “beads” for a necklace and putting noodles in a jar to fill it – earning an ice cream social each time it was filled.

1 hour – Beginners and Primaries did various activities supporting the subject matter in the Unit that was studied that week.  One meeting, my co-host had actual wheat to thresh and they learned all the steps in the harvest/threshing and then even made bread!  This brought the book of Ruth to life for the littles.

Juniors and Seniors typically played various games on the subject matter for the Unit we were working on that week.  We played Kahoot at almost every meeting, had some discussions about the content in the Journals and had alumni share study tips.  We also play a big game of Jeopardy at our last study meeting.

1-2 hours – having a pot providence lunch and playing games/fellowshipping.

Our last meeting each year is PROCLAIM Day.  On this day, we allow 3 hours for the event an another hour for a meal afterwards.  During the event we have recitations and then a “game show” by division which shows all the questions as provided by NBB.  At the end of these events, we have a mini-Scriptorium where both parents and children recite scripture.  We have music in-between the recitations.  During this time, the judges are totally up scores and writing out certificates and awards for our winners.

Then the winners are PROCLAIM day are announced, all perfect recitations are announced and all those who qualified to take the NBBC qualifying test are announced.  It’s a very exciting day that everyone looks forward to.

What motivates you to continue hosting?

There is so much joy in hosting, I think I leave each meeting feeling more blessed than the participants.  At our group grows, the workload has grown too but amazingly, it feels like less work because so many moms are energized to help and to plan and host the meetings.  I’ve seen how the National Bible Bee has impacted so many lives and have seen the work in my family’s life as well.  The word of God is so powerful that I will continue to host as long as I am able!

How have you seen God’s Word work in the lives of your participants?

I have heard so many testimonies from our local group participants that it is hard to choose just one to share.  This year, we had a participant who was not saved.  By the end of the summer study, he wanted to be “Redeemed” he said, and he gave himself over to the Lord and was Baptized the day after our Proclaim Day event.  What a joy.

How has hosting blessed/impacted/ challenged you?

It has definitely challenged me to study longer and harder than I would have without the summer study and competition.  And in doing so, I have more of God’s word hidden in my heart.  Because of the National Bible Bee, I have now memorized whole chapters of the Bible – something I never thought I was able to do for a variety of reasons.  But God has shown me that no matter my age and no matter how busy life is, anyone can memorize scripture.  And once memorized, it becomes easier to understand as the Bible explains itself.  It is impossible to completely meditate on God’s word if it is not memorized – at least for me.  There are too many distractions in the world.  But as I memorize scripture I ask questions about it and I dig deeper than I would have without the Summer Study challenging me to do so.

What is your favorite part about hosting?

PROCLAIM Day – where I see the work that God did through us, all summed up in one day!

How has your host group impacted your community of believers?

This has been a great blessing as we have met people we would have never met if not for the summer study.  Few people from our own church are involved in our group, but so many families from other churches and even as far as 1 hour away, have joined our group and our friendship with these families is amazing.  A friendship that is sitting on the foundation of God’s word.  I’ve heard one young girl in our summer study say to her mom, “Mom, you have to talk to the other parents!  We can’t let these meetings end just because summer study is over.  These are our people!” 

That statement alone made hosting a huge blessing for me.  I am so little on my own, but God used my small amount of ability to make something wonderful.

Compiled by NBB Alumna: Janese Hurst

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