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A-J MEDICAL

  MEDICAL  >  Vista   >  Religion  >  Announcements  >  Births

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Saturday, November 23, 2002
Last modified at 2:14 a.m. on Saturday, November 23, 2002
2002 - The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal


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photo: religion

  About 12 sixth-grade girls sing, pray, play games and talk about how to live their faith better. The girls take turns leading the Bible study begun by Gabbi Morgan, center, in her home about 10 months ago.
JIM WATKINS AVALANCHE-JOURNAL

God's Girls
Sixth-grader holds Bible study group for friends

By BETH PRATT
A-J Religion Editor

Giggles and more giggles waft down from upstairs late Tuesday afternoons in the southwest Lubbock home of Richard and Pam Morgan.

That is not unusual, considering they are the parents of three daughters, Claire, 16, Gabbi, 11, and Kathryn, 8.

But the giggles are interspersed with singing, prayers, serious talk and Bible study. Sixth-grader Gabbi and friends meet weekly for a Bible study that she designed and implemented when she was a fifth-grader. She is a sixth-grader at Preston Smith Elementary School.

It was a book, "The Prayer of Jabez for Kids," that inspired Gabbi to invite friends over for Bible study.

The book started her thinking "about what God wanted you to do with your life," she said. "So I called friends and got a lesson together."

The Bible study has grown from three or four girls to a regular attendance of 10 to 12 from 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesdays at Gabbi's house.

"The hardest thing is getting them not to talk during the lesson," Gabbi said.

She has developed her leadership techniques out of experience.

photo: religion

  Sixth grader Gabbi Morgan leads a weekly Bible study in her home for her friends. She initiated the project and plans the study.
JIM WATKINS AVALANCHE-JOURNAL

"The first time I gave them food, they were all quiet," she said, "and I thought, 'OK.' "

Snacks became a regular part of the program, along with games and other activities.

Jasmine, the cat, goes from girl to girl for a generous dose of petting while the girls quote Scripture or talk about how their faith can help them deal with school or family issues.

They wear matching pink T-shirts that say "God's Girls" in blue on the front and a print of small angel wings on the back with "I'd rather be praying" underneath.

"We all go to different churches, and some don't go to church," Gabbi said. She and her family attend LakeRidge United Methodist Church.

On Tuesday afternoon, Gabbi read from Romans 8:31: "What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?" and other selections. Then, she invited the girls to quote their favorite verses.

This year, other members of the group take turns bringing a Bible lesson and planning an activity.

The Bible study is not about church or what adults might think a group of girls should do.

Madison Taylor, 11, was one of the first to join Gabbi's Bible study. She attends Slide Baptist Church.

"I knew God before I came, but now I'm a better person," Madison said. "It's fun, and Gabbi's a good teacher."

Leah Albers, 11, said, "We do skits and we do like to sometimes sit down and read from the Bible."

Leigh Holder, 12, began attending the Bible study this fall.

"I always liked going to church and doing Christian stuff," Leigh said.

She's a member of First Bap tist Church. The Bible study reminds her of a girl's missionary study group at church.

Leigh's favorite activity with the Bible study group was a visit to a nursing home. The girls sang and told about their study group.

"I feel like we made a difference in people's lives," she said.

Emma Itria, 11, also began attending the study group in September.

"I don't go to church, and I've always wanted to," she said. "It's so much fun here."

Leigh added, "We all come from different churches, and that's really neat."

One of the advantages of coming from different churches is that they teach each other new songs.

Lauren Ashley Owen, 11, said her favorite activity is the singing, and her favorite song is "Every Move I Make." She attends First United Methodist Church and is looking forward to being able to travel with the church's youth group when she is in seventh grade.

"I like when we all get together and pray and share about how to let God take control of us, Lauren Ashley said. "It helps me think (that if) some people don't like me, God still loves me."

Sarah Suggs, 11, who also attends LakeRidge, said she is surprised at how the group has continued. Three of the girls met a little during the summer, she said, but the group came back even stronger for the fall.

For the nursing home visit, Sarah said the group took decorated pumpkins, painting "God loves you" and "Have a great day."

At school, "we look to see if anybody's left out, and we'll go talk to them," Sarah said.

The hardest thing in the group is that "when we are talking about when we met Jesus, we all start talking at the same time."

JeNea Puckett, 12, who attends Calvary Baptist Church, likes "the fact we can be all together and learn about God and learn about other people's bad experiences. I like the songs and the worship."

For Leigh Anna Logsdon, 11, being with friends and being able to talk about God is important.

"If someone isn't a Christian yet, we help them come to God," she said.

Kadie Quimby, 11, said she heard Gabbi talking about the Bible study group at school. Gabbi sent her an e-mail invitation to attend. She enjoys being with girls she knows to praise, worship and read Bible verses.

Kadee Cagle, 12, said the group helps her to "learn how to care and think about people who don't have as much as most of us do."

Kendra Ezell, 11, said she especially likes the Bible study since she attends church but does not go to Sunday school.

"I've learned how to appreciate people better, to take a chance and get to know them," she said.

One thing is certain, whether singing, talking, playing games or doing a Bible study, God's Girls have a good time. Gabbi enjoys the process of planning and teaching. She might become a youth minister, she said.

Taking to heart the prayer of Jabez that God would enlarge her territory, she has reached out to her peers, proving it's not only adults that God calls to minister.

bpratt@lubbockonline.com 766-8724

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