Connecting Columbia Union Seventh-day Adventists

Left to right: (back row) Joel E. Johnson, Allegheny West Conference (AWC) executive secretary; Paula Olivier, Black Adventist Youth Directors Association president; Elethia Dean, a Bible Bowl coach; Marcia Sackie, a Bible Bowl coach; (front row) and pre-junior team members Jeremy Kargbo, Caleb Cunningham, Chimwemwe Kulemeka and Xahara Chisebe represent the AWC at the 2023 Bible Bowl Championship event. Photo by Tamaria L. Kulemeka

Allegheny West Conference Goes to Bible Bowl!

Story by Tamaria L. Kulemeka

A nail-biting tiebreaker, study sessions by the hotel pool and visits to area attractions like Universal Studios made the 2023 Bible Bowl Championship in Orlando an opportune time for Allegheny West Conference (AWC) youth and adults to hide the Word of God in their hearts and have fun doing it.

Two youth teams made up of students from Columbus Adventist Academy (Ohio), and one adult team from the Ephesus church in Columbus represented AWC in the 40th annual championship games, hosted by the Mt. Sinai church in Orlando.

More than 30 teams—including senior youth and young adult teams—competed across five categories, hailing from regional conferences around the United States and Canada.

Although none of the AWC teams took home first-place trophies, team members and coaches agree they valued the experience and lessons learned far more than any trophy. Here is what they had to say:

“I learned more about the Bible. … I also learned how important it is to follow the Ten Commandments.”—Xahara Chisebe, age 8

“The lesson I learned was it’s not all about winning; it’s just about keeping God’s Word in our heart, having fun and trying our best.”—Caleb Cunningham, age 8

“I enjoyed studying the Bible with my friends and being able to take a trip to new places.”—Kymble Armstrong, age 10

“I learned to never give up and to always have hope.”—Jaden Castillo, age 10

“I learned about teamwork and how you have to put in a team effort to win.”—Kaelyn Goodman, age 11

“The quote that reminds me of Bible Bowl this year is Psalm 119:11–16. This is my first year, and that verse encapsulates my takeaway.”—Julia Smith, adult participant

“This is my second year coaching. I do it because I believe if children hide God’s Word in their hearts, there will be a transformation in their character, and that’s more important than them winning a competition … they will achieve God’s purpose for being born.”—Marcia Sackie, pre-junior coach

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