Girl from First Lamar wins National Youth Bible Drill
By Allen Palmeri
July 12, 2005
LAMAR – The National Youth Bible Drill winner is a 15-year-old Missouri Baptist girl who points to her early days in the First Baptist Church, Lamar, Children’s Bible Drill program as a key to victory.
Kimberly Marti won the national championship June 10 at First Baptist Church, Orlando, Fla., in a competition for seventh through ninth graders that included 11 contestants from 10 states.
“There are a lot of people who helped me,” Marti said. “(My) getting started in fourth grade helped a lot.”
Encouragers in her life include: her father and mother, Jerry and Debbie Marti, who have been married 17 years; her sister, Jennifer, 14, who competed at nationals last year; her brother, Jeremy, 8; her pastor, Robb Hodson; and her co-Children’s Bible Drill leaders, Pam Caruthers and Beverly Ramseyer. Special recognition of her achievement came her way June 26 at church when state Rep. Ed Emery, a member of First Lamar, presented her with a resolution in honor of her achievement.
“This is a major accomplishment, and it takes much discipline, memorization and prayer,” Hodson said. “She is a very godly young woman.”
The Bible Drill program consists of students memorizing the order of the books of the Bible and several series of verses which include Scriptures that support Baptist doctrinal statements. Drillers are quizzed on a passage or book and must locate it in the Bible quickly; they are allowed 10 seconds in Children’s Bible Drill and or 8 seconds in Youth Bible Drill.
Kimberly Marti said drilling with her sister was very helpful. Last year, Kimberly drilled for two months with Jennifer to prepare her for nationals. This year, the roles were reversed.
“Whenever I drill against her I’m faster usually,” said Kimberly Marti, speaking of the work it took to earn a bonus point for being the first one at nationals to step forward with the answer on any given question. “We both have a lot of fun trying to beat each other.”
Jennifer just missed a trip to nationals this year, finishing second to her sister in the Missouri Youth Bible Drill.
“They’re an encouragement to each other and certainly proud of each other,” Debbie Marti said.
Jerry Marti said that he hopes that his daughter’s national championship will spur other Missouri Baptist boys and girls to get involved in the Bible Drill program.
“All of the kids are winners, because they put God’s Word in their hearts,” he said.
His wife, who home schools their children and incorporates Bible Drill as part of their school day, agreed that the beauty of the program is not so much that one participant can become a national champion but rather that all of the participants can learn to treasure the Holy Bible.
“It is important for our children to know that the Bible is very important,” she said. “As parents we need to encourage our children and make a major investment in their learning the Bible. We started drilling Kimberly and Jennifer outside of Children’s Bible Drill. When we spend time with our children, we know what they are learning. When situations occur, difficult or happy times, we can encourage our children with the verses they have learned.”
A Bible Driller can participate in church, associational and state competitions from 4th grade through 9th grade, with a select few like the Marti sisters rising to the very top to advance to nationals. Kimberly has run out of eligibility, but Jennifer can drill for one more year.
“They always had their verses down,” remembered Caruthers, who introduced the sisters to the Children’s Bible Drill program. “They worked at it diligently every week.”
In the end, Kimberly Marti emerged with the crown much like a sprinter would in the 100-yard dash. She was the one who leaned into the tape as others strained through the final yards. Leslie Taylor of Lillington, N.C., finished second.
“All of the drillers were very sharp,” Debbie Marti said. “It was very stiff competition. Until they told us, we had no idea who was going to win.
“It’s hard for a parent to sit through.”