Bright Lights Conferences in Council Bluffs, Iowa, April 23-27

We are excited to announce our upcoming “Strong in the Lord Conference” in Council Bluffs, Iowa (near Omaha), approaching next month!

Age: 8-14

Topics:
• How to Be Strong for the Lord in Your Youth
• Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends
• Developing a Love for God’s Word
• How to Turn Your Heart to Your Parents
• How to Be a Bright Light in the World
• Avoiding Wrong Influences
• Deepening Your Walk with Jesus Christ
• How to Boldly Share the Gospel

Includes small group times, humorous skits, testimonies, hands-on activities, a chalk talk, harp music, singing, and practical, Biblical teaching that will challenge and prepare young ladies to remain strong for the Lord through their teen years.

Parents are encouraged to attend the conference in order to hear what their daughters are learning and reinforce it at home. There will also be sessions for parents covering topics such as the importance of protecting your children, how fathers can set a godly pace for their family, how to win the hearts of your daughters, and building strong mother/daughter relationships.

Dates and Location:
April 23-24, 2019 – Council Bluffs, IA

Schedule:
Tuesday evening from 6:00 – 9:00 PM
Wednesday from 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Registration: $20 per person or $65 per family
Late registration: (after March 31) $25 per person or $75 per family
Includes lunch on Wednesday, snacks, and materials.

Register here.

Follow our “Strong in the Lord” Conference, we will also be doing a “Radiant Purity Conference.”

Note: Our first “Stand Fast” Conference for young men happening simultaneously.

Age: 12-22+

Topics:
• Finding Security in Christ
• Replacing Lies of the Enemy with Truth
• Purity is Not about Your Past
• Truth Over Emotions
• Building Strong Relationships With Parents
• How to Delight in Jesus, the One Who Satisfies
• Using Your Years of Singleness for God
• Crushes, Friendships, Disappointments, and Desires
• Practical Tips for Sharing the Gospel with Your Friends
• Christ-Centered Social Media

A girl who is set-apart for Jesus and walking closely with Him shines with a radiant brightness in this world of darkness. Purity is not found in a list of rules, but in the pursuit of Jesus Christ. It is not a burden, but rather a privilege to represent Him in this world. How can we honor Christ in our relationships? How can we find security and satisfaction in Jesus? How can broken lives be restored to radiant purity? How do we resist temptation and stand strong in trials? Where do parents come in?

Creatively presented through stories and testimonies, practical instruction, skits, and real-life examples, this conference gives Biblical answers to everyday questions and deep life struggles. The material is discreet and appropriate for twelve-year-olds, yet relevant to all ages. Includes testimonies from young ladies who serve as Bright Lights staff, a chalk talk, and harp music.

Fathers and mothers are encouraged to attend. Parents’ sessions will include: 20 Ways to Protect the Hearts of Your Daughters, Every Mother’s Example, and When a Young Man Pursues a Young Lady

Dates and Location:
April 26-27, 2019 – Council Bluffs, IA

Schedule:
Friday evening from 6:00 – 9:00 PM
Saturday from 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Registration: $20 per person or $65 per family
Late registration: (after March 31) $25 per person or $75 per family
Includes lunch on Saturday, snacks, and materials.

Register here.

Speak Truth Conference: Snowflakes & Answered Prayers!

The conference started out with a typical array of complications, beginning at home … one of which was our dying printer. Of course it would stop working just when we had tons to print for the conference. My dad developed a little rhythm and when he’d hit the printer just right it would start working again for a while (our superb IT skills when Stephen’s not around). We are thankful that it worked just long enough to finish printing what we needed. (And we are thankful that Stephen purchased a new printer for us now.)

Setting up Thursday night in Hudson, especially grateful that Anna Kirk was able to fly in from Washington state for the weekend to help and teach a break-out session.

The day of the conference we awoke to beautiful big snowflakes which we enjoyed with coffee, soft music, and our Bibles in the comfortable home where we were staying … what a peaceful start to a conference day for the team we brought from Iowa to help lead the conference.

A couple hours later, we enjoyed a sharing time from the Word and prayer meeting with the local Bright Lights leaders and moms who hosted the conference. What a highlight to hear each others’ hearts and be so united in spirit, even though many of us had never met before.

The girls and moms in this picture (beside our team) are from a Bright Lights group that was originally started by Katelyn Lowery in 2012. After a few years, Katelyn passed it on to her sister, who then passed it on to a selection of five or six older teenage girls from within the group. These older girls led the group together for a while and then decided to split into three different groups. These groups have continue to grow, and we rejoice to see the prayer that has been going into this ministry, and the fruit coming out of it. They all did a wonderful job hosting the conference.

Leaders and helpers from the local Bright Lights groups greeting conference attendees

The weather was very windy and cold as the conference was beginning!

Of course this made it feel so much more cozy and cheery inside! Here local Bright Lights leaders are distributing name tags and conference journals.

The local Bright Lights group shared with us weeks ago about specific request they were praying for this conference. We’re so grateful for their labor of love through prayer.

I think one of the reasons it’s encouraging is because the girls can look around and see, “Wow–I’m not the only girl left on this earth who is seeking to live as a godly woman.” Others are building their lives on the foundation of Jesus and His Word and living it out, and we are in this together.

I’m delighted to announce that Nickie, who always prefers to be behind the scenes, is not only on the cover of Sarah’s new book, her picture is now on the first-ever Bright Lights poster! You see, a few months ago a girl requested that we make a poster similar to the cover of Sarah’s book so that she could have a continual reminder on her wall to “speak truth in her heart.” We received these posters back from the printer just in time for the conference. (Maybe at our next conference we will have life-size cardboard cut-outs of Nickie for sale. 🙂 )

There were a number of girls at this conference who had come to the Testify witnessing training camp a few months ago in August. It was very special to connect again.

Current leaders of the local Bright Lights groups in Hudson (and little sisters – invaluable 😀 )

After the conference ended we had an upbeat cool down time, sharing stories and rejoicing together in all that the Lord did.

Thanks for reading this report and if the Lord brings the Bright Lights ministry to mind, please pray for the local groups that meet around the country on an ongoing basis. This is not an easy ministry; it takes much work to plan and prepare lessons and activities on a regular basis. It takes time, emotional energy, and is impossible without the strengthening of the Lord. But if there was ever a need for such groups for young people, it seems the need is greater now than ever.

And may all of us, no matter our age or season of life, take seriously the command to “encourage one another and build up one another” (1 Thessalonians 5:11). “Encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:25).

Upcoming “Strong in the Lord” Conference

We are excited to announce a “Strong in the Lord” Conference in our town of Cedar Rapids, Iowa! The conference will take place on July 10-11 at Cedar Valley Bible Church, and is for girls ages 8-14 and their mothers. We’re looking forward to seeing how the Lord works in lives and would appreciate your prayers. We’d also appreciate help with spreading the word if you have friends who would be interested! More details are on the flyer:

Register here.
Download flyer here.

Note: A “Speak Truth in Your Heart” Conference for older girls will be happening in the same place July 13-14.

Speak Truth in Your Heart Conference, Council Bluffs

It’s a beautiful day in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and even more beautiful is the Lord’s goodness to us and the way He is working. We just finished a special prayer time (where everyone divided into small groups to pray), and now Sarah is teaching another session here at the “Speak Truth in Your Heart” Conference, in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Please prayer for us, and the mothers and daughters here, as we discuss the TRUTH regarding our identity, our relationships with others, the Lord’s character, sin and temptation, purity, emotions, and witnessing.

Speak Truth in Your Heart Conference: Morelia, Mexico

IMG_2749 Praise the Lord for the way He is working in girls’ lives in Mexico. They responded with such enthusiasm to the messages presented. Ted and Priscilla Clark, with their family and team, did so much work to make the conference special. Notice the beautiful booklets they translated and produced for the conference.

IMG_2826 One college-aged girl with misty eyes told me we can never know how much the conference impacted her thinking. Praise the Lord. She had been dealing with a lot of the world’s lies, and it was so encouraging to see her soaking up the truths taught at the conference.

IMG_2966 We sensed much thirst for girls’ discipleship ministry. Many came from long distances — some drove up to sixteen hours. We were thrilled to learn of many Bright Lights groups going that we didn’t even know about! Please join us in praying for the Lord to raise up many more Bright Lights groups in Mexico.

IMG_3007 Many grandmas came too

IMG_2803 The camp’s beautiful surroundings in the mountains give it a “peaceful haven” feel.

IMG_2821 One unique part of this conference/camp was how much the dads and brothers did. They cooked all of the food for the 200-300 ladies the entire week. And that included a gourmet tea party, in which they served us all. They thought of everything.

IMG_2954 …even pink marshmallows! haha

IMG_2818 Here they are babysitting lots of children while the ladies are in the session.

IMG_2791 This was also the first time we have had dads run jump rope games for the girls during the break. 🙂

IMG_2971 A Bright Lights group from Guadalajara

IMG_2850 The girl who was sitting across from me (first girl on left) explained about a challenge that a young man in her church was spearheading: to share the gospel with one unbeliever every day in the month of February. Many young people took up his challenge in several different churches. She shared about the surprising opportunity the Lord had given her, in answer to her prayers, with one of her coworkers on February 1st. Now all of these young people are halfway through the challenge. Please pray for open doors for them as they are courageously and deliberately asking the Lord for gospel conversations every day this month!

IMG_2903 Picture taking time after the tea party

IMG_2943 The last evening they asked if we could do a fireside discussion on serving the Lord in our years of singleness. As we passed the mic around, many shared encouraging thoughts about keeping a godly perspective of life, ministry, singleness, and marriage.

IMG_2969 Anna Kirk and Emily Selander (who came with us) enjoying a late night discussion with Alma Roa (2nd from left) and her sisters. Alma was one of the main translators of the Bright Lights materials and Before You Meet Prince Charming in Spanish.

IMG_2983 Goodbyes

Our next “Speak Truth in Your Heart” conference is much closer to home: It will be held in Council Bluffs, Iowa. See details here. This will probably be the only Bright Lights conference in Iowa in 2017. (Plans are also being finalized to do one in Michigan in July). Hope to see many of you there!

“Speak Truth In Your Heart Conference” Phoenix, Arizona

img_1820 The conference adventure started in the airport when Nickie and I had to figure out how to move our six 50 lb. suitcases (materials for our book table) and three carry-on’s from the curbside to the Southwest desk while Sarah parked our vehicle in the Des Moines long term parking lot. The obvious problem is that if one person stays with the suitcases at the curb while the other starts moving them inside, who is going to stay with them inside the airport?

Well, we decided to move them all in short, 20 ft. increments through the airport, caterpillar style. (Who wants to pay $20 for 2 carts when you could have so much fun making a scene in the airport!) Thankfully the Southwest desk was just inside the door. 🙂

img_1846 This was our first time to do a Bright Lights conference so far west. It was exciting to have an audience of entirely “new” people!

It’s also been fun to have a totally new conference. (This was our second “Speak Truth in Your Heart Conference” conference. Our first was in Dallas in June.)

img_1866-2 Two sweet girls who are a part of the Bright Lights group here.

img_1875 I enjoyed getting acquainted with these young ladies from Las Vegas, where their dad was burdened to do a church plant. Praise God for the bright lights He is raising up in that dark place!

img_1893 During one half hour period, the moms and daughters formed small groups and prayed together.

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img_1850 A “get to know you” activity

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img_1928 Kirstin (left), who hosted the conference (together with Cati Stokes) has led a Bright Lights group for about three years and had many stories to tell of God’s faithfulness. She also hosted us in her home, and we had a great time with her, her family, and her dogs. 🙂

img_1841At Kirstin’s house spending time with some of the Bright Lights girls the day before the conference started.

img_1883 Cati Stokes (right) is the one who initiated this whole conference and worked closely with Kirstin to make it happen. They have been working on it for months! It was great to finally meet in person, get acquainted with her and her sweet girls, and enjoy fellowship in the Lord.

img_1919 Lots of moms and girls who all came from one church!

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img_1930-2 This picture is for Bekah who requested it. 🙂 We didn’t really do any sightseeing, but thankfully there was a cactus in the church parking lot, so we ran out and snapped a picture with it after we had finished packing up from the conference. Wow, what a huge and very cool plant. 🙂 (I’m still fascinated with them, haha.)

St Louis Bright Lights Conferences Report

img_0308 This past June we held a “Strong in the Lord” and “Radiant Purity” conference in the St Louis area. It was a week of extra challenges and extra sweet moments! There was definite spiritual warfare, but thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of Him everywhere (2 Corinthians 2:14).

One of the challenges was getting the word out about the conference. It was the first time we’d run conferences in this area, so there wasn’t as much familiarity with our ministry. We PRAISE GOD for all He brought–many from longer distances, and many at the last minute.

img_0335 Interacting with the sweet girls who soak in the teaching makes every conference a great privilege. 🙂 Soon, these girls will be the mothers raising the next generation in America!

img_0319 My mom, sharing with the mothers while the girls are in small group.

img_0332 Not only does my mom talk with and encourage ladies, she is always there for us providing encouragement, compassion, and help with so many needs.

13558638_1581960705430967_6062653904360890325_o Cassidy’s small group!

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13558624_1581959735431064_7124101392929408982_o Name tag table

img_0333 Sisters!

img_0383 Sharing time after the conference. One story in particular was especially heart-warming: one of the leaders mentioned that she was really hoping a friend of hers would come. This friend was struggling spiritually, and it seemed unlikely. It was during our free day at the St Louis zoo that this situation was mentioned. Emily said, “Let’s pray now,” and about 12 leaders formed a circle and had a prayer meeting for this girl. The next day, when the girl walked into the Radiant Purity conference, hearts were overjoyed! Not only did she come, but she and her mom stuck around afterward for a long conversation, leading to tears of joy and much praise to God from the leaders.

13558618_1581961375430900_912442822876091343_o Praise God for once again, bringing together a wonderful team of leaders who love the Lord and point others to Jesus.

img_0295 The fellowship we enjoy with the leaders is a highlight. Here was a Bible study with my dad on Colossians 1 after our set up day. We spent a while discussing the phrase, “Christ in you, the hope of glory” ! (Colossians 1:27)

13558814_1581959635431074_6707375456340778191_o We can’t say enough about Allison and her mom (and entire family) and the wonderful job they did in hosting the conference. The Whisler family has been such an encouragement to us!

13497746_1581958762097828_5600175382810266818_o Time to relax and invade the Whislers house for a great dinner!

13497550_1581958718764499_2385022513379067946_o Which included funny moments…

img_0357 …and learning an Arabic praise song!

Thank you to everyone who prayed for this conference. The Lord did beautiful things, and we are so grateful.

“Who is like You among the gods, O LORD? Who is like You, majestic in holiness, Awesome in praises, working wonders? (Exodus 15:11)

Photo credit to Cassidy Schoolz for a few of the pictures, thanks Cassidy!

Speak Truth in Your Heart Conference, Dallas

img_0184 On June 7-8 we held the first official “Speak Truth in Your Heart” Bright Lights conference in Dallas, Texas. For many years we have been doing the same two conferences (the “Strong in the Lord” and “Radiant Purity” conference) so it was special to present totally NEW content.

The name of the conference (and Sarah’s soon-to-be-published book) comes from Psalm 15:1-2 “O Lord, who may abide in Your tent? Who may dwell on Your holy hill? He who walks with integrity, and works righteousness, and speaks truth in his heart.”

We praise God for the way we clearly saw Him working that weekend. We hope to do many more “Speak Truth in Your Heart” conferences! The need is great for young ladies to be replacing faulty thinking with God’s Word. From the beginning, Satan’s strategy has been to use deception. Often struggles in our spiritual lives are intensified because we don’t know the Lord and His Word well enough! Trusting Him is a natural byproduct of truly knowing Him. Psalm 9:10 says “Those who know Your name will put their trust in You, for You, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.”

img_0190 Mothers and daughters, praying together in between sessions.

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For more information on the “Speak Truth” Curriculum, see this blog post from when Sarah presented it at a camp last September.

img_0206 This was a group activity / object lesson on discipleship.

img_0221 Since Stephen and my dad couldn’t be there, we were grateful for the extra help loading up afterward from Daniel Skrnich and Mr. Noland.

Pray for girls here in St Louis!

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Please for girls and parents who are here tonight and tomorrow at our “Strong in the Lord” conference in the St Louis area. In this first session (going on now) Sarah is challenging the girls to be one of those few who does not go the world’s way, but lives their lives for Christ! Please pray that the Lord works in a powerful way in their hearts. Thank you.

“Speak Truth in Your Heart” Bright Lights Conference

Speak Truth Banner

I’m very excited about the brand new Bright Lights conference that will be taking place in Dallas, Texas on June 7-8. As girls replace lies with the truth, they see how God’s Word transforms each area of their lives as the truth sets them free.

Sarah has presented this material at camps, but this is the first time she will be teaching a Bright Lights conference using this material. See more information on our flyer here. Click here to register.