The Return of the Dinosaur

IMG_3216 We are so happy to have “our” dinosaur back, on loan from the Creation Museum! The Estemmenosuchus (which we affectionately named Esty) is a wonderful object lesson and conversation starter! Esty returned in time to be a delightful addition for the Peppermint walk. Hopefully he enjoyed all the attention he got, lol.

We overheard one boy asked his mom, “Did they shoot him?” =)

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We have several small signs in front of Esty, teaching what the Bible says about dinosaurs. One of them explains,

“In the last several years a number of dinosaur bones have been found with actual blood cells and soft tissue still within them. It is a puzzle to evolutionary scientists how soft tissue could remain in bones for 70 million years but it is not a puzzle for the creation model…”

IMG_3161 The Peppermint walk is something that downtown Marion organizes for families one night in Christmas. It’s a very festive time.

IMG_3141 This year we rolled up lots of scrolls of the Christmas Story (the account told from various places in Scripture) and passed them out to the long lines in the town square. The families were very appreciative.

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IMG_3177 Lots of families also came into our store. It’s a nice spacious place for them to warm up.

IMG_3183 We are very grateful for the Martin family’s DVDs on God’s incredible creation, which we keep playing throughout the evening.

IMG_3185 Peppermint white hot chocolate, cookies, and various Christmas gospel tracts / pamphlets.

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“Because of the tender mercy of our God, With which the Sunrise from on high will visit us, to shine upon those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, To guide our feet into the way of peace.” Luke 1:78-79

Dad’s Speaking Ornaments

IMG_3371 My dad had an idea of how we could make better use of the large windows on our bookstore this Christmas season.

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IMG_3128 He came up with a plan and then recruited some help from Hannah and Shelby who help frequently at the Bright Lights office

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IMG_3369 Dad wanted to communicate concepts to make people think!

IMG_3374 Some friends from church let us use their large Nativity set

IMG_3382 Since there is a stoplight at the corner, often cars are slowing down or stopping as they pass our store, giving them more opportunity to see the ornaments. We also have a lot of people who walk by.

“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people” Luke 1:68

Field Trip to Noah’s Archive

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This morning we had a sweet group of homeschoolers come in to Noah’s Archive on a Field Trip. They are studying Noah’s Ark this week.

They had some cute things to ask and say after my dad’s little presentation:

“Did Noah use animals to build the ark?”
“Why did they use gopher wood?”
“Maybe they used gophers [to build the ark] because it was [made out of] gopher wood…”
“Maybe there isn’t gopher wood anymore because they used it all up to build the ark!”
“Could the dinosaurs break through the wood of the ark?”

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Of course, the group also tackled some bigger questions such as, “Where did all the water come from?”, “Where did the water go?”, “What about the Ice Age after the flood?”, “How did all the animals fit on the ark?”, and “How do we know there were dinosaurs on the ark?”

It’s exciting that God has given us good answers to all of these questions.

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Christmas Evangelism Suggestions!

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If you’re looking for a tract to use this Christmas, here is one that I recommend. It’s produced by Answers in Genesis. It’s filled with interesting information about the historical details of Christ’s birth – details that even most Christians get incorrect. It explains how the word “inn” does not actually mean “small hotel,” but rather “guest room,” which changes a lot about the story! I haven’t found a place where you can read the booklet online, but you can read some of the same information in this article.

The booklet is basically a brief history lesson combined with a clear presentation of the gospel and a lot of Scripture. Click here for more information. (Note: if you order 50, the price comes down to $.49 a piece and if you order 100, the price comes down to $.29.)

Also, for another option, here is a fun “Christmas Quiz” tract that you can print out and give away. These are fun to give because people smile and often start reading them right away.

Christmas opens a whole array of wonderful opportunities for witnessing, and I think it really helps to be thinking and planning ahead. Otherwise it’s easy for the “good things” to squeeze out the “best things” that we could be doing at this time of year.

We often talk and pray as a family about how to use our time in December. I thought I’d share a few ideas, hoping it will spark thoughts of things your family could do. (And I’m sure many of you already do these things!)

It’s exciting to know that so many of you Bright Lights girls are in different states (and countries) and when we all work together we are a global team sharing the gospel at Christmas!

Here are some ideas:

-Every time you check out at a store, give them one of these nativity booklets or another Christmas tract. Tell them, “Here’s some fascinating facts that most people don’t know about the true Christmas story.”

-Invite international students over to your home for a Christmas party. Have snacks and share about the Biblical account of Christmas. Explain how most of America misses the whole point.

-Every time you pass a Salvation Army bell ringer, put something in their bucket and then give them a tract. (We have a friend who told us how she buys a snack at the cashier line to give them along with the tract. It’s also a good idea to stop and talk with them for a minute. They likely get bored. And although they may claim to be a Christian, they may not truly understand the gospel.)

-Invite neighbors over for a Christmas party.

-Pick a family at your church who could use some encouragement. Invite them over for Christmas snacks, singing, and read a Christmas passage in the Bible together.

-Go out witnessing at malls and take a short Christmas questionnaire. (I suggest using a few simple questions such as “Why did Jesus come to be born as a baby?” “What would be the best gift you could ever receive?” etc. )

-Go Christmas caroling. Remember that you don’t need perfect singing voices. It’s more the thought that counts. Just sing a couple carols and leave them with a small plate of cookies (and the “Uncovering the Real Nativity” booklet. [smile])

-Go to a nursing home to sing for the residents and talk with them. If you have never done this before, you may be surprised at how much it means to people.

“…you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” Acts 20:35

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In other news, we are grateful for the help of Hannah and Tia (who come help at the Bright Lights office) for their help in decorating our Noah’s Archive storefront for Christmas today!

More Mexico reports coming soon.

Noah’s Archive Sign Installation

Some projects are just extra hard to complete, and this sign was one of them! There seemed to be a new obstacle to work through at every step. But we saw many answers to prayer. Below are some pictures of the sign creating process.

Preparing to sandblast. Mike and our other friends from Wood Graphics down the street were GREAT to work with, and we’ve gotten very well acquainted because of all we’ve had to work through together. Lots of decisions; lots of discussion. They were very patient with us. 🙂

This man has been painting signs for over 50 years and he did a great job.

The engineering details of mounting the sign with the new wooden sign post cover

Installation!

Putting on the last end cap!

“Praise the LORD! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting.” (Psalm 147:1)

Today Something New Happened….

IMG_7647 Unlocking the front door.

We opened the bookstore in the front of the Bright Lights office. It’s still “sinking in” that we are now running a commercial store!

IMG_7655 Starting our first day with prayer

IMG_7658 First costumer receiving a free book

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IMG_7651 “Can you believe we are actually opening a store tomorrow?” Stephen asked me last night.
“Not Really”

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Thanks to the Lord’s provision, we were able to open this store on black Friday “in the black”. There are DOZENS of stories I’d love to share with you (and probably will eventually!) of how the Lord provided for us to purchase this building debt-free and how He has provided for the interior furnishings at every turn. And, of course, we are grateful to over 115 friends from our area who helped with the remodeling/moving, etc.

See here for pictures of what the building looked like before.

We still have many things to complete and add (permanent outside sign, more shelving and inventory, furniture, etc.) but we’re grateful we’ve finally reached an “opening point”. And we know that He who has been faithful thus far will complete His will in His time! 🙂