Haley Experiences Iowa Cold

We are so grateful to Haley for the countless ways she has been a support and blessing to the Bright Lights ministry for the past 7 years.

IMG_9025 She normally volunteers from her home in Texas (For example, one of her recent projects was the Simplified Bright Lights Songbook), but we were delighted that she was able to spend about 10 days with us in Iowa at the beginning of January.

IMG_9021 The only problem was that it was a little colder here than she expected. I’m not sure she ever acclimated. ๐Ÿ™

Here were her remarks after we went sledding in 3 degree F weather. (Her idea, by the way. ๐Ÿ™‚ )

We love you, Haley. Thank you for everything! (And sorry you missed our weather here yesterday, it was -9.)

The White Hot Chocolate Drama

20141003_205506_30014 Last night was the annual “Chocolate Walk” and our store (Noah’s Archive) opened up from 8pm- 10:30pm along with many other stores downtown and served chocolate. We decided to serve “spiced white hot chocolate” this year because it would be easy.

20141003_204704_30008 We had a table set by the door to serve customers as they came in.

The problem was that I didn’t start warming the milk in the crock pots soon enough. People began coming and one crock pot was lukewarm and the other was cold. =( I began warming up individual mugs at a time as customers began to trickle it, but I knew that was NOT going to work for the whole evening!

I began to think. How in the world could I get those crock pots to heat up faster? Is there any other way I could heat this?

I prayed. Customers would be coming for the next 2 hours, and we really needed to have something to serve them! Though I knew the Lord can answer any prayer, I couldn’t really imagine how He would answer this one! [smile]

20141003_211301_30018 I began to pour milk into any possible heating device I could imagine. Lol.

Then Nickie came back and realized I needed a little help!

20141003_210827_30016 She agreed with me that heating up white hot chocolate in individual cups and bowls in the microwave all night long was not an ideal plan. And those coffee pot warming bases were not exactly doing the trick!

20141003_205341_30009 After giving the situation a little thought, Nickie had the brilliant idea of taking the whole crock pot OUT of it’s heating base and warming it in the microwave. It worked perfectly, and we had hot white chocolate to serve customers the whole night long. Praise the Lord!

New Neighbors

20140910_134725_29712

No one complained when we learned that a chocolate shop was moving in next door to our Bright Lights office / Noah’s Archive Christian Bookstore. Shelby, Hannah, Nickie and I went over this afternoon to give them some business!

On the other side of our office, we have the world’s best pizza shop (famous in our area) and behind us we have a super cute bakery and very popular coffee house. *Sigh* So blessed. =}

20140910_114515_29708 Today Shelby put up some letters that my dad recently ordered so we can have Bible verses on our big front windows. We’re grateful for all that Shelby and Hannah do when they come in to volunteer.

After an eventful week with family last week, we are now getting back into a routine. I will resume posting a few more reports from England soon.

Jolynn!

We are very excited to have Jolynn here with us! She was a wonderful hostess to us when we were in Singapore and Malaysia, and now it’s great to have her here with us! She has been spending long hours at the graphics computer working on graphic design projects. CD covers, DVD labels, a Noah’s Archive brochure, etc.

Entering registrations for upcoming Bright Lights conferences.

Not only has Jolynn been a really big help, she’s a good friend and we just enjoy having her around. ๐Ÿ™‚

This is Jolynn’s Bright Lights group in Singapore. She has been leading a Bright Lights group in Singapore for the past 4 1/2 years. Now Abigail (right front) is stepping up to lead the group while she is here in the States. See their Bright Lights group’s blog here.

Last week we went to the hospital in Iowa City to visit Genna, a girl from Michigan who recently went through a major surgery. Her family had to travel to Iowa for the surgery and have been away from their home in Michigan for a while now. Genna attended a Bright Lights conference in MI several years ago. Her mom told us that she made a decision at the conference to read God’s Word everyday, and was consistent in reading her Bible 30 minutes every day for two years! Wow – what a great example of consistency. It reminds me of this passage:
“…for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. ” (Gal 6:7-9)
The seed we sow in our hearts will grow and produce fruit later on. There is no avoiding it. The question is: are we planting good or bad seeds? When reading Genna’s care page online I was blessed by the verses she had mentioned that had encouraged her. Wouldn’t you agree that the reason Genna has been so strong and has been such a sweet “bright light” to the nurses and doctors is because she has been planting God’s Word in her heart–and it’s showing now?!

Lunch today. Lots of people “volunteering” at the Bright Lights office this morning. Thanks everyone!! ๐Ÿ™‚

Bright Lights Group Locator Tool


Often people contact us to ask if there is a Bright Lights group in their area, so we set up a google map on our website of the Bright Lights groups that have started around the nation and internationally. Click HERE to use this tool on our webpage and see if there is a group near you!

If you feel led, please join us in praying for these Bright Lights groups! It is our desire that they may be “blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you [they] shine as lights in the world, holding forth the word of life… (Phil 2:15-16)

Guess what arrived??!

On Friday a semi pulled up to our office and we unloaded 5,000 songbooks!

After piles of drafts, it felt wonderful to hold a finished copy.

The songbook process began when Sarah Roberts came last year, helped with the CD recording, and then spent 2+ weeks full time writing arrangments and entering them into the Finale Software. When Sarah Roberts initially e-mailed asking if there was anything she could do to help Bright Lights for a few weeks in the summer, Sarah (Mally) mentioned that we had just scheduled to record a CD and would love to have a songbook to go along with it. The Lord had already given Sarah Roberts this idea independently (though she didn’t know about the recording) and she was excited to come and help. We were thrilled.

After Sarah left, numerous other friends and BL leaders spent time editing, arranging, and entering in new songs. We saw God’s hand of provision in many special ways through many special friends…but of those, Nickie definitely put in the most time of all as she designed and laid out the entire songbook in InDesign. (Not a simple project!)

As we neared the finish line, Sarah and I realized we needed a little more organized system as we went through each song numerous times editing and catching mistakes, so this is the little chart we developed and used for a couple days during the editing process….

Hey, whatever works, right?!

Editing and more editing…late into the night… Deadlines are VERY helpful when it comes to getting things done. (We wanted the songbooks done by our Bright Lights conferences this summer.)

Even Stephen joined the team…

Finally! Finished product! It’s exciting to see the Lord give a desire and then complete it. Our desire and prayer is that this songbook would be a useful tool for Bright Lights groups around the country and that it would direct the attention of multitudes to Jesus Christ.

For more information or to order a songbook, click here.

โ€œIt is good to give thanks to the LORD, and to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; To declare Your lovingkindness in the morning and Your faithfulness every night” Psalm 92:1-2

Busy Days at the Bright Lights Office…

There’s lots of work to do with preparation for the four upcoming Bright Lights conferences. We were grateful for all the help from Lindsay (from NE) and Abby (from MN) who came to visit for the weekend to help. Thanks again Abby and Lindsay!

We are also very excited to announce that Rachel and Bekah May are joining us as staff here at the Bright Lights office!! The Mays live in the area and have been involved in Bright Lights for the past 12 years, so they have been able to jump right in and take on all kinds of responsibilities here at the office. We can’t say enough about how happy and relieved we are to have their help. (Plus, their energetic personalities are a lot of fun to have around. :))

Praise the Lord who is able to provide so perfectly!!! (I’m sure you’ll be seeing more pictures of them on here in the coming year…)

Bekah and Nickie

Rachel entering registrations for the upcoming conferences.

Sarah

Lindsay putting sleeves in the front of CDs.
Stephen

Abby making phone calls

And we can’t forget to include a picture of Dad back there typing away at e-mails. We are all very fond of our heroic leader who is just about always ready to either share a new spiritual lesson or a new great idea. ๐Ÿ™‚

And we didn’t work the entire time Abby and Lindsay were visiting…instead we sat out in the backyard with the mosquitos. Yes, it was my idea. (Bekah came into the office this morning and announced, “Grace! I have 25 bugbites!” ๐Ÿ™‚ )

Recent Special Provisions

As we were gearing up to open our store, it has been encouraging to see God answer prayer and provide. Here are two of those ways:

IMG_6204 Kelly, a good friend from Minnesota, volunteered at the Bright Lights office for several weeks in October and November. She spent hours entering our expanding bookstore inventory into our computer sales software. We didnโ€™t realize what a huge job this was going to be. Kelly “happened” to be here exactly at the time we needed it done.

IMG_6226 How are we going to find furniture for the bookstore?? we wondered. I dreamed of a comfy beige leather couch, but after looking at a few price tags, I knew weโ€™d never buy one. But actually, I did know how we would get furniture. Just the same way we got everything else–on our knees. So we took this need to the Lord.
A couple weeks ago when friends at church asked me how the bookstore was coming along, I mentioned the current need for furniture.
โ€œI need to talk to your dad about that,โ€ a friend, Carlos, replied.
The next day we picked up this beautiful couch from Carlos’ storage unit. Free. And it’s beige and leather… just what I had hoped for. And it matches perfectly with the color of the walls. Carlos also gave us two chairs and some end tables. Wow! Another encouraging reminder that it’s always worth it to wait for the Lord’s provision!

โ€œBut my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.โ€ Philippians 4:19