Appletree National Qualifier

7:34 AM

Have you ever experienced the amazing power of prayer? I have, many times, but it really smacked me up the side of the head, so to speak, a few weeks ago at the Appletree Speech and Debate Tournament, in Seattle Washington.
Here, let me fill you in on The Ride, The Tournament, The Prayers.

The Ride
We (The Clarion Speech club I'm apart of) met up real early at a gas station in town, then we carpooled from there up to Portland, then split up to Seattle. I rode with all the girls in the Anderson's big van, and that's where it all started. Mrs. Deems (a mother of some of my fellow club members) had us all memorizing scripture.
"Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom. Singing Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God." Collossians 3:16
The funny thing was, several of the girls kept on saying "teaching and abolishing one another" accidentally, so now, whenever I try to recite that verse, I smile whenever I get to that part. :) But that scripture memory really helped me get things into perspective, that this whole tournament wasn't for me, but for my Father, in heaven, of Whom it is my purpose in life to glorify and enjoy forever. I was in the middle of memorizing a speech on frozen embryos, so I was kinda stressed out, but the fellowship, laughter, and accountability in that van put me at ease. We pulled into Portland for fast-food lunch, where My grandma and I met up with my cousin, Kelly, for lunch. (She lives with her husband in Portland) Then the whole gang of competitors piled up again, and we rode up to Seattle, Washington.

The Tournament
The Appletree Tournament was a national qualifier, meaning competitors getting 1st or 2nd place would directly qualify for Nationals, skipping Regionals. Whoever else made it to finals would qualify for regionals. So in other words, there were a ton of people there, over 250 student competitors, I think, and alot of adrenaline. The 'Tourney' was held the Crista Christian Campus or something like that, which was basically an academy with Elementary, Jr. High, and highschool facilities, so it was pretty big, and, unfortunately, spread out, supplying me with foot blisters aplenty. :( The campus facilities where gorgeous tudor style buildings, one with a touch of gothic 'cathedral' intracacies, very lovely, in other words. But the insides of the buildings were old and ugly, with exterior plumbing, you know, those ugly water pipes stuck to the ceilings, gurling and ticking ominously. But anyways, the first night we were there, we had a dinner and dance, which I thoroughly enjoyed, and, when that was over, we went to my mom's cousin Vipi's house, where she hosted us for the weekend. I competed the next day, and on my very first round, I dropped my visuals in front of the judges, Aaaaaagh. I hoped they wouldn't mark me down for it. I got to see numerous other students compete in Team policy debate, humorous, dramatic, and duo interprations. I had a splendid time. We had an exhilirating game of ultimate frisbee during a break, but it left me feeling sick afterwards, sadly.
I was shocked to break into semi-finals, and even more surprised to break into finals, getting sixth place, and qualifying for Regionals.

The Prayers
Throughout the whole tournament, I was praying like crazy. Simple, short, but agitated prayers, asking for courage, smooth words, a clear mind, and a heart focused on God's will not mine. I don't recall asking for a winning record but God was extremely gracious in throwing that in as part of the package. I still don't think it was any of my own doing. After dropping my boards, having a crummy easel, going over-time, flubbing my script, not having my visuals covered at the beginning of my presentation, and many other things, I knew I got sixth place only by the grace of God. That, my friends, is the power of prayer. The power is not held in the hands of the pray-er, but in the grasp of the Prayer Answerer. :)

In whole, the Tournament was an amazing experience. I hope you've enjoyed reading about The Ride, The Tournament, and The Prayers. Maybe God will soon (if He has not already) reveal to you the power of prayer, as He has so graciously done for me. Thank you for your time.

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