Delving into a Better Relationship with God

Delving into a Better Relationship with God

Deivi Garcia and Elizabeth Marin


Deivi Garcia and Elizabeth Marin, theology students at Southwestern, entered the scholarship competition “Reclaiming Your Brain” this spring to earn money for college.  They ended up earning much more than that.  They had to memorize Bible verses, and through that found a closer relationship with God and a better understanding of what they believe.

“Reclaiming Your Brain” works like a spelling bee.  Students compete by reciting Bible verses word for word. The theme was the 28 Fundamental Beliefs of Seventh-day Adventists. Students received $5,000 in scholarships for first place, but the anonymous donor hopes to give away more than just money.

“Looking back on my life, I have come to realize that Bible study is the foundation of all that God has done,” says the donor.  “It’s my hope that many are led to a greater appreciation for God’s word through memorizing the Bible.  While this event is a competition, it’s also a way to build up the collective body of Christ.  Everyone wins when they study the Bible.”

Garcia was one of the last people to sign up for “Reclaiming Your Brain.”  He had the list of Bible verses to study, but found it difficult to make time.  Midterms were around the corner and the competition was not far afterwards. He decided he needed to buckle down and really study.

“It’s a challenge to try to memorize things word for word,” says Garcia.  “In the process of learning, you have to keep going over what you already know. There’s a lot of repetition and determination, but it helped me to have the Bible in my heart.

“By memorizing Scripture, it’s like using a weapon against the enemy. It’s a wonderful way to counter what the Devil is trying to do, especially in young people.  You have to think in a way that memorizing is like a sword. Then you can defeat the Devil.”

Garcia continued to study, and it paid off when he won first place at the competition.  He also saw an improvement in his relationship with God.

“Trying to be in fellowship with God is the meaning of life,” said Garcia.  “Just memorizing Scripture will help with this. In the end we’re all winners.”

Marin also found fellowship with God through studying the Bible.  She had signed up to be a part of the competition, but just like with Garcia, school was taking up most of her time.  That’s when a friend suggested starting a study group in the morning.

Around six people began to meet every day at 6 a.m. to study the Bible.  They figured that by studying the Bible early in the morning they would be able to retain it and keep the word in their mind all day.  They did this every day for the last three weeks before the test.

“We figured even if we might not learn it all, the main point was to have the verses in our mind,” said Marin.  “Then we realized that the more we studied, the easier it was to memorize.  The verses stayed in our minds.  We made it a point to keep up studying in our personal life even after the competition.”

“People used to come to me and ask me about what I believe.  Since these last verses were linked to the fundamental beliefs, it made me realize how important it is to study the Bible.  It’s good to know what you believe and why.”

There are plans for “Reclaiming Your Brain” to continue next year.  The theme will be centered on the Beatitudes.  A list of verses to memorize and information on how to get involved will be available soon through the Southwestern Union Record.

“Studying this was challenging but not impossible,” said Marin. “If you want to do this you have to be determined.  It’s challenging and difficult, God knows your effort and what you’re doing, so have faith.”

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