Caleb is my nephew. He's a wonderful, sensitive, bright boy, 10 years old, the third in a family of 8 (soon to be 9) children. Caleb is usually pretty quiet, with his head in a book or his fingers on the piano. He isn't someone who is terribly outgoing, but he doesn't hesitate to make friends. From the time he was a little boy, Caleb has always had a heart for God. He asked Christ into his life at a very early age and followed that a few years later with baptism. I remember when he was about 3 or 4 years old, running around the house with his brothers, wielding a (toy) sword, and spouting off Bible verses that I didn't even realize were in the Bible...verses from I and II Chronicles, Judges, Proverbs, and more. My sister-in-law Tammy spends time each morning with the children, having Bible time and reading a daily chapter from the book of Proverbs as well as making sure her children understand what the passages mean. Their children are true examples of learning God's Word from a very young age and hiding (and applying) it in their hearts.
Last year, the Shelby Kennedy Foundation started working on the first annual National Bible Bee contest. The overall concept is similar to the National Spelling Bee with children from all over the United States going through a local contest and advancing to semi-finals in Washington D.C. on November 5 followed by Finals the following day. There are three age groups -- 7-10 years, 11-14 years, and 15-18 years. Upon registering for the Bible Bee, you were given a stack of information...hundreds of Bible verses to memorize, Bible passages, and of course the books of the Bible. Over 17,000 students enrolled in local competitions nationwide -- and at the end of the first round, scores were tallied and the top 100 children in each age group advanced to the semi-finals in Washington D.C.
Overall guidelines were stressed: While competing for rewards is fun, the greatest reward is drawing near to God. As the playing field narrows, cheer for the remaining finalists, even if you are not one of them. Compete in a biblical way -- give one's absolute best for God's glory and leave the results entirely in His hands.
Well, Caleb and his two older brothers entered the competition, along with their sister Hannah. Each gave their best, not knowing what the final results would be. Then, a few weeks ago, Caleb received an email:
"Congratulations! After reviewing your test scores, I am delighted to inform you that your qualification as a contestant in the 2009 Bible Bee National Contest has been confirmed!......"
Caleb is one of 100 children, ages 7-10, who advanced to the semi-finals to be held in Washington D.C.! Only three children in Ohio (not necessarily in his age group) achieved this recognition.
On November 5, Caleb will compete for one of seven, 7!, spots for the Final Challenge to be held on November 6.
Here is how you can help, if you are so led. Caleb needs to raise over $3,000 to cover hotel and food costs. Estimated costs given to the students state they should raise between $3500 and $4000. Due to friends living in the area, Ron and his family are able to drop these costs some but still have a large amount to raise (by the way, Ron is a school teacher; Tammy is a stay-at-home mom who home schools all the children -- and we all know that school teachers don't have a large salary....).
* PLEASE consider sending a donation to Caleb to help cover costs. Donations can be sent to the following address:
Ron and Tamara Toth
Carpe Diem Academy (their home school name)
2990 State Route 534
Newton Falls, Ohio 44444
* PRAY for Caleb that he will have a good mind and teachable spirit and an ability to learn
* PRAY that God would be honored and glorified in all that Caleb thinks, says, and does
* PRAY that Caleb will be able to attain the knowledge and skill required, as well as have joy in the process
* PRAY that Caleb will be transformed by God's Word along with the rest of his family as they prepare together
* PRAY for good health for Caleb and for each member of his family
* PRAY for each of the other contestants in the National Bible Bee as well.
If you would like more information on the Bible Bee, you can find it here: http://www.biblebee.org
Thank you sooo much for prayerfully considering your support of Caleb. What an honor it is for him to achieve this recognition the first year of this competition!