Bible Bee Nationals 2015

3:15 PM

No, I have not forgotten that I have a blog.  In fact, I have been working on this post ever since a few days after Nationals. So here is a very long recap of Nationals. However, let me inform you that it is not as long as it could be, so don't complain, unless you want to complain that it's too short (and then you'll be punished by having to listen to me talk about Nationals the next time I see you) :). The first draft was three pages on a Word document and that didn't include pictures -- oh, and did I mention that I wasn't even through the Opening Ceremony yet?  By the way, unless you're a more of a Bible Bee-er than most Bible Bee-ers (like me), you may want to skip over most of the first two days, since it's mostly about what it was like for me (like how I felt sick during all of prelims or how I enjoyed reciting Psalm 16).

Hopefully, you'll be able to understand why this post is so long.  Nationals was probably the best week of my life, so it's hard to cut out any of the little details that made it what it was.  Wasn't God so good through Nationals?!  As I told my mother, God was so gracious to me -- He did far more than I could ask or think -- so there is no reason why I should praise myself for what happened, because I was so undeserving.

But without further ado, let's start at the very beginning...

We left home on Monday afternoon and drove to Dallas. We were so excited to finally be on the road! After spending the night there, we drove the rest of the way to San Antonio. We took turns being tested on verses by Mommy and William (age 6). The rest of the time, I mostly just read over my verse cards.

Getting to Nationals was sort of surreal. I had been looking forward to it ever since Nationals 2014 ended. When you go a whole year without seeing friends, it makes it extra special when you do see them. Nationals started feeling more real when we were seeing friends before we had even gotten out of the van! We made our way to registration, although it took us awhile because we kept on stopping to talk to people :).

After registering for Nationals, we went to check into our rooms. We had planned to get two regular rooms, but there was a mix-up, and we ended up getting a suite instead. This was one of the many ways that God was sovereign over Nationals. It was so nice for us to have a little extra space. 

After doing a little bit of unpacking, Daddy and Mommy went to the host dinner and the rest of us ate supper in the room and got ready to go to the Contestant Fun Night. We ended up leaving for the Contestant Fun Night before Daddy and Mommy got back because we didn't want to be missing out on anything.

It's always so much fun to meet new people and see old friends!

Playing games with the other Seniors
Side note on this picture: During Nationals, people kept on getting Joy and I confused.  Being myself and Joy's sister, I didn't think that we looked that much alike until I saw this picture and saw myself in the background of it. I thought that it was Joy, but then when I looked at another picture, I realized it was me! I guess that if I get myself and Joy confused, those who only see us once a year are going to have a really hard time telling us apart! :)

I can't believe that I missed the Memverse/Quizlet picture! I was playing Apples to Apples, and then the group at our table prayed together and I completely forgot about the picture until I saw it online :). Oh, well! I guess I'll just have to remember next year.

One of my favorite things about the Bible Bee is that the contestants are really living out 1 Thessalonians 5:13: "Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing." Everyone really hopes that everyone else will do their best and glorify God. One of my favorite memories from Nationals is praying with the other contestants. It is so encouraging to be with so many godly young people.  I love the fellowship.

Our family having a little time together before the big day. 

Samuel and Thomas before leaving for prelims
If I was Roy Patterson, I would say, "I love the love on this balcony." I'm so proud of my Primary brothers! And aren't they so cute?! :)

"Ah, this is the day we longed for; now we have it; we see it!" Sorry, that was a Primary memory passage from 2014. Once you've heard your brothers recite a passage a dozen times, you end up knowing it better than you know your own. Anyways, it was the day that I had been longing for. After George (my Junior brother) and Thomas and Samuel (my Primary brothers) had left for their Written and Oral Rounds, the girls and I had a bit of quiet time to study. I paced on the balcony while I quoted/read John 7-10 (I didn't have time for John 11 and 12). Then we left for our Written Test. The test is all sort of a blur to me. I remember there being many times when I started to give one answer, and then realized that it was a different answer, but other than that, I don't remember much. I didn't have time to go over the whole test twice, but I felt peace about it and wasn't too worried. 

After the test, we went outside and talked with the other contestants for awhile. It's always nice to compare notes to confirm that you gave the right answer. While we were talking with a friend, her dad suddenly pulled out his phone and showed it to her. She said, "Oh!" and, "Is that good or bad?" Then she told us that she had received her written test score. Apparently, there was a glitch in the system, and many of the Seniors were emailed their written scores, even though we weren't supposed to know until sometime after Nationals. Of course, when Joy and Delie and I heard this, we ran upstairs to check email and see if we had gotten our scores. This was a big mistake. I had already been feeling pretty sick, but when I saw my score, I felt even worse. I still didn't think that I would make it to semis, but I wasn't completely sure now. And now this put a lot of pressure on how I did in orals. One little mistake might make all the difference!

Before 1:00, the girls and I left for our oral round.  I was #11 in my group, so I had to wait awhile, but I enjoyed talking with the other contestants in our group while we waited, and I was definitely glad to have an audience! :)  I also timed the other contestants in our room so that I could get an idea of how long the passages were that would be called. By the time that it was my turn, I was feeling worse than I had all day.  This was another way that God's grace was evident to me -- I was more aware that I couldn't do it on my own and needed God's strength to get me through orals. 

Romans 5:1-11 and John 20:24-31 were both "problem passages" for me, but I decided not to start-over unless I was certain that I had made a mistake.  I made it through both of them without too much difficulty, by God's grace.  I was so glad that they called Psalm 16. It is one of my favorite memory passages from this year. I love David's humility and honesty in saying "I have no good apart from you." It was such a great reminder -- anything good in me is Christ's righteousness imputed to me. He alone deserves the glory and praise. I also love how David says "in your presence there is fullness of joy".  Things of the world may make us happy, but true, lasting joy comes only from the presence of the Lord. 

After I had finished Psalm 16, my judge said, "Whew! I thought you were going to pass out." I said, "I felt like I was going to." I just about collapsed in a chair next to my parents, and then I listened to Joy and Delie recite. By the time they were finished, I already felt so much better. After orals, we went outside and talked to the other contestants about the Written and Oral rounds. Then we went to the Opening Ceremony training. After that, we relaxed in the hotel room. There's something so nice about knowing that you're done competing and can finally sit and think or read a book without feeling like you're using precious study time -- or was I?

"Oh, I guess that my picture is being taken!" :)
The Opening Ceremony: one of my favorite parts of Nationals! I love the excitement and anticipation of the Opening Ceremony. I have to admit, though, my hands got pretty tired of clapping :). 

I loved singing "Ancient Words" with everyone else. It was such an appropriate song -- even though we may care right now about whether or not we made it to semis, finals, etc., God's Word is eternal and it's what matters.

I love all my little Primary friends! I'm so thankful that these little people are spending so much time in the Word of God at such a young age -- that's definitely something that I wish I had done when I was younger. I was so excited when some of my friends (including my younger brothers, Thomas and Samuel) made it to semi-finals! Congratulations, Primaries!

And the Juniors! It's funny, now that I'm a Senior, I feel so much older than the Juniors. But, I will refrain from calling them "little" like I did the Primaries -- I'm not sure that my brother or Junior friends would appreciate it if I did. Great job, Juniors! 

I'm not sure what I was laughing about in this picture. Anyways, it was so much fun being up there with all the other Seniors that I couldn't help smiling :).

Seniors!!! You are all such an encouragement to me. You share study tips (even though it may mean that the person that you're helping scores higher  than you), pray for each other, and stir up one another to love and good works (Hebrews 10:24). I couldn't have done it without y'all. 

And of course, this was the moment we had all been waiting for. As the announcer of the semi-finalists in 2013 put it, he was the most anticipated speaker. And the semi-finalists are...drumroll, please...

As the first nine names were called, I kept on hearing myself scream. I didn't mean to, but I was so excited for all my friends who had made it to the next round. I was especially excited for the ninth person, "Delie Moss", but I hardly had time to think before they called the tenth, "Anna Moss". No; it couldn't be true, surely that wasn't my name; he said "Ana", so it's probably not me, I thought. But of course there wasn't anybody by that name, so it had to be me. I was so overwhelmed. God had been so good in allowing me to compete at Nationals at all. This was a very unexpected gift, one that I didn't deserve at all. It was a picture of the Gospel -- we don't deserve God's grace, but He freely gives it to us anyway. 

At first, I was too shocked to cry, but then once I started, I had a hard time stopping. And then once I was done crying for myself, I had to cry for everyone else.  If you look closely in the picture, you can see that I was still wiping away tears. It took me several minutes to really calm down. 

I'm so proud of the Primaries!  It really takes a lot of dedication on the part of both contestants and parents for Primaries to compete in the Bible Bee (no matter where they rank).  I really enjoyed watching all my little friends who advanced to semis, especially my little brothers! :)  I pray that God uses His living and active Word to grow them in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

I bounced two inches out of my chair when I heard that one of my friends had made it to Junior semi-finals, so I really didn't want to miss watching her. At the same time, I really felt the need to review verses before Senior semis (especially since I hadn't been studying during Primary semis), so I livestreamed it in the hotel room. I reviewed verses during the people that I didn't know, and then I would turn up the volume for the people that I did know.

Don't we look excited?!  For some of us, competing in semi-finals was something that we had dreamed about for years -- I know that it was definitely that way for me.  But I sure wasn't expecting it this year! I was so thankful that God gave me the opportunity to recite His Word to thousands of people. I pray that the passages we recited were encouraging and convicting to all who were watching. I'm also thankful that He allowed me to compete in semis this year when I wasn't expecting it and was even more aware of being undeserving of it.  It made it extra special that I knew it was a gift from my Heavenly Father, not something I had earned.

One of my favorite memories (and I apologize if you're tired of me beginning sentences with that :)) was praying with the other contestants right before semi-finals.  I know that the outcome was important to all of us, but this was a moment for us to pray that God would be glorified through whatever happened and that His will would be done. 

After praying, we went around, hugging and shaking hands with each other.  Everyone was so somber that it made me laugh.  I said, "We act like we're about to die."  We were supposed to be excited, not sad! :)

I have to admit, it was kind of fun being on stage. Although I was a bit apprehensive about the first round, I felt a lot of peace about it and wasn't very nervous.  I told one of my fellow semi-finalists that I felt a lot of peace about semis since I didn't think that I would make it to finals. I know that that sounds silly and probably doesn't make any sense, but that was really how I felt about it.

I told a friend that I had always thought that if I were ever in semis I would be competing with "Bible Bee celebrities", but instead I was just competing with friends! It was so much fun hearing friends recite; and it also made semis that much better because I would be so excited no matter who made it to finals. 

And being in semis with your sister is even better!  God has really used Delie in my life to encourage me to study the Word of God. Because she and my brother George qualified for Nationals in 2012, I wanted to qualify in 2013, and Nationals 2013 had a huge impact on my walk with the Lord. And of course Delie being in semis last year made me want to be in semis someday even more (though I certainly wasn't expecting it this year). Hey, maybe I'll win next year! I'm just joking, of course, I'm not planning on winning next year or any year :). But, of course, God may have different plans.

I love how miserable we look in this picture! Most of us look like we're certain that we messed up, though of course we would have already known if we had since one of the other semi-finalists would have told us.  

"The difficult thing about Bible Bee is...sending people home from not being able to proceed to the next round, and that's what breaks my heart..."

I love this picture! It's my screensaver right now :).
"...fortunately for me, I don't have to dismiss any of you!"

This is one of my favorite memories from Nationals! I loved all the hugs, high fives, and smiles. I also loved the comraderie of semi-finals. Even though much was at stake, everyone was still cheering everyone else on.

As I was reciting this passage, it really hit me the significance of it. I was reciting this in front of thousands of people. Although there were many believers in the audience, I'm sure that there were also many unbelievers. I pray that they understood that they need to repent and believe or "they will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His might" (2 Thessalonians 1:9).

I got that passage right, but my next passage was John 6:26-29. I had always had a bit of trouble with the said/answered pattern in this passage, but I probably would have gotten it right if I hadn't been on stage and hadn't had only ten seconds to think about it. I paused to think about it, but since I didn't know how much time had gone by, I just had to go with whatever was in my head at the moment -- which wasn't correct :). As soon as I went backstage, I knew that I had messed up. My sister was crying, and several of the other contestants looked so sad, that it was kind of funny. I said something like, "Y'all are more upset than I am!" I really was fine with messing up. I hadn't been expecting to make it to semis at all this year, so I really would have been happy no matter how I did in semis. Anyways, now I could relax, judge Delie and Carissa P. (the remaining ESV-ers), cheer the other contestants on, and talk with the other contestants who had been eliminated. We really had a pretty good time back there, talking about Bible Bee and joking about going out for ice cream to celebrate being finished with competing.

I was sitting backstage. Roy Patterson was calling names. No, Delie hadn't messed up! And I didn't think that the others had, either. Maybe she had made it to finals! I quickly pushed this thought out of my head, even though one of my fellow semi-finalists was telling me that she probably had since we knew that some of the contestants who hadn't been called had messed up. But then I was hearing Roy Patterson say that she and three others had made it to finals! I screamed at the top of my lungs and jumped out of my seat.  I really wish that I could had been on stage to give her a hug, but I had to wait until she came backstage. That was quite an exciting moment!

The fun thing about being eliminated is that you get to stay up late with everyone else!  On Thursday night, Joy, George, and I went downstairs and joined a game of Dutch Blitz.  Except, it wasn't just Dutch Blitz; it was Dutch Blitz combined with Spoons (actually pens) and everyone was on a team.  I was on a team with George, but we got eliminated on the first round because we were too busy playing Dutch Blitz to remember to run to get a pen.  We had a fun night seeing friends, meeting people, and playing games.

Primary finals was so much fun!  We sat near three families who each used different versions, so we were able to test the contestants on the passages.  We could also make a fairly accurate guess as to what the answer to a question was.  I'm pretty sure that someone from our group would've gotten up and gone to the front if they hadn't corrected the glitch with the "righteousness" question :).

Congratulations to the Junior finalists! I didn't get to watch much of this round because my Game Show audition was during it, but I enjoyed the part that I was there for (except that I did horribly on the questions... :)).

The commentator's booth did a great job!
Senior finals was sort of a dream come true (well, all of Nationals was :)). This was our family's fourth year to participate in the Bible Bee, and I had always hoped that we might one day have someone in finals.

I was so excited for my friend, Emily H., to advance to finals and place 3rd!!! Congratulations, Emily!

As Delie recited Philippians 2:1-18, I suddenly remembered that when we came to Nationals in 2011 as spectators (it was only a couple of hours away from us), somebody recited the first part of Philippians 2. I don't remember who recited it, but the passage must have really have had an impact on me for me to remember it four years later! Interestingly, Joshua B. and Bethany X. both competed in that round, and now Delie was competing with them!

The five Senior finalists.

I loved that we could answer the questions along with the finalists! I didn't love that I missed this question :).

I enjoyed getting to answer a few questions about the Bible Bee during Senior finals!

Delie reciting her winning passage. But, as I told her, all of the passages that she recited were her winning passage, because if she had messed up on any of them, she wouldn't have won.

After she finished reciting it, Mommy says that I screamed very loudly (I went back to sit with our family after the mini interview).  I was so excited since I was pretty certain she had gotten it right, though I wasn't completely certain since that was a problem passage for me ;).

Now I'll let the pictures do the talking...

 "I love the love on this stage." -- Roy Patterson

Congratulations to all of you!

"Well there's one young lady that I haven't called yet.  It's Delie...Delie, I need you to know the ultimate treasure is God's Word. You'll never forget that. Heaven and earth will pass away, silver and gold will pass away, but God's Word is going to last forever. I can see that in your eyes and in your heart."

"So I just need to let you know -- straight out, flat out...

" are the winnner!"

(I'm just about to laugh and cry at the same time while editing this part of the post.)

Our family hugging Delie after she had won.

I find it rather amusing that someone took a picture of me crying. I think that more than half the tears I have cried this year have been happy Bible Bee tears :).  Words can't describe my feelings right then, so I won't even try to describe it. 

The Closing Ceremony: the most bittersweet part of Nationals.  I think that John (age 2) thought it was all sweet! It really was so sad that Nationals was almost over, but of course we tried not to think about that too much. I'm so thankful for all that God did through Nationals 2015, for the things that He taught us about Himself and His Word, and how He allowed us to have this special time of fellowship.

I was so excited when Delie won the oratory award!  I love hearing her recite.

Congratulations to the Scripture to Music winners.

 Several participants presented a poster signed by many Bible Bee contestants.  Thank you Mr. Upton and Bible Bee staff for all that you do to make the Bible Bee what it is!

Dr. James Dobson spoke with the semi-finalists and finalists. 

After the Closing Ceremony, they took the annual picture...

...without me!!! :(
You have no idea how mad I am that I missed this picture! I went up to our room "for a few minutes", but the few minutes turned into about half an hour, and so it appears that they took the annual picture without me. I would have been disappointed to miss this picture no matter who had won, but for my own sister! As I jokingly told some friends, I was the most important person to be there except for Delie :).

We were going to play Dutch Blitz at a table, but that wasn't going to work very well, so I said, "Hey, let's play on the stage!"  Of course, I was joking, but we ended up playing on the stage anyway.  I was just hoping we wouldn't get in trouble for it (which we didn't) :). 

After Dutch Blitz (11:30ish), we (Joy, George, and I; the rest of the family had already gone up) decided that it was time to go to bed so we started to tell people bye.  But then we got into a conversation with a brother and sister about everything from goats and Ninja to the last days and freewill vs. predestination, so we didn't end up leaving until after 1:00. That was quite an interesting conversation!

After the Saturday morning worship service, a friend was baptized.  It is such a blessing to witness her love for the Lord!

We enjoyed spending time with some families before leaving San Antonio Saturday afternoon. 

So many dear friends!  "I thank my God in all my remembrance of you" (Philippians 1:3).

Sunday afternoon, we were re-watching Senior semis, when we heard a knock at the door.  Daddy went to the door, and there were some of our Bible Bee friends! They had come to put a congratulations poster on our door (they thought that we wouldn't be home yet), so we enjoyed visiting with them for a few minutes.

Well, that was Nationals 2015!  I'll have to try to make the Nationals 2016 recap a bit shorter so that y'all will actually have time to read all of it :).

Thank you to all of you who sent me pictures!  I really appreciated it since we didn't take many pictures at Nationals.

I hope to see y'all at Nationals 2016! Keep seeking the Lord, and don't stop studying His Word!

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  1. This was *so* wonderful to read, Anna! =) And it wasn't too long. :P I love recalling all the wonderful Bible Bee memories. It truly was a wonderful, Spirit-filled time, and I am so glad that I got to be a part of it! And that I was able to meet your family in person! You all are so sweet and such beautiful sons and daughters of the Lord! I am excited to see where the Lord takes you and how He uses the Bible Bee later in your life. <3

  2. Enjoyed reading this, Anna! :) I actually have been writing down everything I remember from nationals, and I still have 2 days left to write down, and have like 26 pages! O.O but I agree, nationals week is the best week ever.

    See you next year, Lord willing!

  3. I liked your post Anna, I almost (sort of) feel like I'd been there! Hopefully I will be next year!
    I was SOOOOO excited when Delie won! I was watching it live... I was like... really excited!!! After re-watching it (several times) I saw she was almost starting to cry before he even told her, because she knew, I guess. THAT IS SO COOL!!! :D I was so wishing you'd make it to finals... but maybe next year! :D

  4. Thank you so much for posting this, Anna! We didn't do Bible Bee for the first time (ever in the history of Bible Bee) this year and I missed it so much. I really enjoyed seeing all the pictures and reading the memories. :) Hope to see you all next year! :)

  5. Ah, the memories! So wonderful!! :)

  6. Thanks so much for writing this, Anna! I agree with Allison- it wasn't too long! :D I really appreciate the time and effort you put into this: it really captured what was special about Nationals for me! It makes me sad though, at the same time!

  7. Hi Anna and Moss Sisters! I really enjoyed reading this post and seeing all the pictures! We felt like we were in San Antonio, TX with you and all as we watched the live-streaming. It was neat to see some of the "behind the scenes" pictures. I got Anna and Joy confused more than once in the pictures. :) John also looks so much like Anna when she was a baby

    Thank you all for encouraging me to memorize more of God's word. Keep up the good work for Christ.
    To God be all the glory!
    I love you all!

  8. Such a fabulous recap, Anna! I loved reading your perspective of the week & it definitely wasn't too long. Nationals posts are never too long, in my opinion. :) :) I loved seeing the joyful bond you share as a family - rejoicing with each another and many happy tears shed! And, aww, that annual BB winner picture is so fabulous, once again. :) Love! And the baptism must have been such a sweet ending to your time together. Congrats again + many blessings to all of you Mosses! The "Bible Bee bond" is truly incredible and I thank God for it. <3

  9. Oh, how this post brought back so many wonderful memories! Thank you, Anna, for putting this together and for encouraging others to fully seek after God. You are godly example to me, and I'm always so blessed and challenged by what you have to share. I had so much fun reading/following your Nationals experience and enjoyed all the pictures. I'm sorry you weren't able to be in the annual group picture with the winner... :( When we were taking the pictures, your mom said that you would be really disappointed to miss it. So excited for how God blessed your family this year at Nationals, and once again, congratulations on making it to semi-finals! ~Kaitlyn R.

  10. {first, no you do not know me...last year was our family's first year in BB, and although my next sista and I qualified we were unable to come. We are planning on Nationals 2016 though!}

    Wow, this is amazing, seeing a sista win from another sista's perspective! Our family was watching all the livestreaming from OH, and loved it! Delie, your recitations were so powerful! And your two little brothers in Primary semis were adorable!(I forget their names...maybe Samuel and Thomas?)
    Hope to get to meet y'all someday, hopefully Nats 2016! I have one more year(I'm turning 18 in a month), and 6 of my younger sibs will be doing summer at least!(I'm the oldest of 9:) I will try to remember to reference your blog for BB study tips=)
    May the Lord bless you!
    Rachael, a fellow Senior BB contestant from OH
    (p.s. BTW, We know the Bontragers, the Adams', and the Xiques', too. The B's actually convinced us to do BB=)

    1. Hi, Rachael!
      I enjoyed getting your comment! :) And congratulations to you and your sister on qualifying! I hope that you get to come next year! Nationals is such a wonderful experience.

      I'm glad that you enjoyed the post! God's grace was so evident to our family throughout Nationals...I really don't know what else to say :).

      We know all three families as well. I think that I've seen you comment on Elizabeth's blog before. My sisters and I are planning to go to Allison's retreat, so if you're there, I'll hopefully get to meet you in a few months! :D Hope to meet you either then or at Nationals 2016!

      P. S. I have eight sibling, too :).

    2. Hi Anna!
      Yes, our family was really impacted by the livestreaming...we are all looking forward to the 2016 Bible Bee season! (thanks! We really wished we could've come, but it just wasn't going to work out.)

      Wow, then I guess I'll get to meet you earlier then-my sista Anna:) and I, along with a couple of friends are coming to the retreat as well!!! Small world:) That's so super exciting! I know you will love it-Retreat is such a blessing!

      p.s//That's so fun! The youngest in our family is 2 1/2 years. I love large families<3

    3. Wonderful! Looking forward to meeting you then! :) We haven't worked out all the details yet about how we'll get there, but I'm pretty sure that we're coming (Lord willing)!

      The youngest in our family is 2 and a few months :). What is the boy/girl ratio in your family? Joy and Delie are my only sisters (both of them older than me), and then we have six brothers younger than me :).

      See you in a few months!

    4. Me too!:) SO exciting!

      We have 4 girls in a row(I'm the oldest) and then 5 boys in a row!! It makes for interesting family dynamics, for sure=)

      Yes, you as well!!! God bless<3


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