Have you ever thought that the Word of God is too difficult to learn? Or that you must be a certain age or have a certain IQ to study it? Liberty is a living testament that anyone, no matter the age or situation can learn the Bible, love the Bible and be changed by the Bible.
Liberty Anema is a sweet ten-year-old girl that loves the Word of God and has enjoyed participating in the National Bible Bee. What is unique about Liberty is that she was born with Down Syndrome. When sharing a little about her background, her parents, Ken and Renee Anema, said, “She was born, Nov 17, 2009. We found out the Lord gave us a special gift in blessing us with a daughter having Down-Syndrome”. They also shared that at birth Liberty had two small heart murmurs which grew closed by the time she was 8. “She has very low muscle tone which caused significant delay in her crawling and walking”. Her digestive system was also affected by the low tone when she was young, and she struggled to maintain a good weight. Throughout the years Liberty has also dealt with chronic constipation issues, but through all the physical struggles she has had, her parents say that, “God has given her a cheerful disposition”.
Liberty learned to read through many drills and repetitions of flash cards. As she learned to read, her favorite book became the Bible. In the Anema household Bible memory was a frequent practice. Liberty’s older two siblings started competing in the National Bible Bee in 2013. To help them prepare for the competition, the family learned Proverbs 2:1-18 around the dinner table each night. Her parents soon discovered that Liberty was learning it too! They said, “Though hard to understand because her speech was not clear, she was able to recite Proverbs 2:1-5. In the evening before bed, she would step onto the stage (the hearth of the fireplace), announce Proverbs 2:1-18, and then proceed to recite Proverbs 2:1-5”. Her dad started calling her “My National Bible Bee girl!” And that is how her journey with memorizing Scripture began.
Last year in 2019, Liberty, at the age of 9, was able to complete her primary Summer Study on Worship. Liberty’s mom shared, “Every morning after breakfast we would complete the lesson and study the memory work. I was amazed at her focus and motivation. She learned all 14 passages!” Liberty thoroughly enjoyed the summer study and her Worship book became her “prized possession”. Her mom shared that Liberty would “read and reread it on the couch for fun in her spare time”.
The Word of the Lord has worked in young Liberty’s life. She understands her need for a Savior and realizes the gravity of her sin. She acknowledges the authority of God’s Word and loves learning from it. Her parents shared that “she loves the day of Worship and singing praises to God”. The joy and work of the Lord is an evident reality in Liberty’s life. Her parents said, “It is a real joy as a parent to see the simplicity of the gospel take root in the lives of young children. We do not know the future of Liberty’s life, but pray that the Lord would use her to bear testimony of the free grace of our Lord Jesus Christ”.
Liberty is a testimony to all of us that the Word of God can be learned by anyone, no matter the age or physical circumstances. God’s Word is powerful and will take root in anyone’s life. But we must be willing to give it a try.
Check out Liberty reciting Psalm 27:4 here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VoTzrO34Enw
Written by National Bible Bee Alumna: Bekah Leary