National Bible Quiz winner plans to keep studying
The first-place winner in the senior division of the Ninth National Bible Quiz in the Philippines plans to keep studying the word of God.
"I am so blessed, really, and it will not end here; we will start in small groups," Alexis John Caguingin said. He was among 29 finalists from all over the Philippines who competed in junior and senior divisions during the January grand finals at the Philippine Bible Society Auditorium.
The four rounds of the competition included two rounds in which contestants answered questions about the Bible, and a third round in which they recited a Bible verse. In the fourth round, the top five in each division presented verse expositions – comprehensively explaining and describing Bible verses.
Caguingin emphasized the phrase "Don't be afraid" in his verse exposition. He noted later that the phrase is mentioned 365 times in the Bible.
"There's nothing to be afraid of, so don't be afraid," he said, adding that the message is "the Lord is with us."
The theme of the quiz, held every other year, was "Sharing God's Word, Empowering the Poor, Transforming the Land." The United Methodist Church Board of Christian Education and Discipleship sponsors the quiz in partnership with the Philippine Bible Society.
The national competition began in 1997 as part of the build up to the celebration of the centennial of Methodism in the Philippines in 1999. It was the brainchild of Baguio Area Bishop Daniel Arichea Jr., who was then assigned to the Board of Christian Education and Communications and was the chairperson of the Philippine Bible Society.
Develop interest in Bible study
In partnership, The United Methodist Church and the Bible Society have used the quiz to "generate support from the churches and develop interest in Bible reading and study, especially among the youth and children," said Judge Benjamin Turgano, chairman of the quiz program.
He said the national quiz "aims to raise awareness of Biblical truth among the youth and strengthen the conviction that God's word is the basic foundation of a happy and peaceful life in this world."
Nora Lucero, general secretary of the Bible Society, expressed her joy and thanksgiving for the quiz. "By sustaining it consistently for 18 years, I believe we will be able to make it until God's kingdom comes," Lucero said.
The Bible wizards
The winners at the junior level were:
- First place, Erica Aurelle Arciga, Tarlac Philippines Annual Conference (PAC).
- Second place, Natasha Gazelle Sico, Pangasinan PAC
- Third place, Lia Jemimah Gregorio, Central Luzon PAC
The winners at the senior level were:
- First place, Alexis John Caguingin, Bulacan PAC
- Second place, John Clarence Pera, Quezon City PAC East
- Third place, Billy Joe Fortes, North Central PAC
The Bible quiz provides great experience and opportunity, said contestant Jason Mark Dado from the Visayas Philippines Annual Conference.
"We will encourage others, we will share our experiences, we will persuade other young people to help them develop their faith in God," Dado said of his group, which included Avegail Rose Montecillo and Devorah Grace Garcia, both from Mindanao.
Coaches see value
The Rev. Teresita Takot, a coach from Mindanao, said the quiz was a great challenge that needed to be emphasized more.
"Our annual conference shall pay attention on this, not just for the church workers but for the young people," Takot said.
Coach Rebecca Kathleen Vidal from Pangasinan said the quiz was empowering for the young people. "When we go back to our place, we will help revitalize the local church."
Nina Arciga, the mother of Erica Aurelle, said her daughter was an accidental participant.
"She was a nanny to her younger cousins and other young people, but when a participant is missing, she took over," she said.
Arichea thanked all those who have sustained and supported the program for 18 years.
"We can evaluate and improve this, and probably offer new ways of doing it. We are moving on to perfection," Arichea said.
Gladys P. Mangiduyos is a correspondent for United Methodist News Service and chair of the United Methodist Church Board of Christian Education and Discipleship. She is based in Manila, Philippines. This article was first published Jan. 20, 2015, by United Methodist News Service.