Michigan Home School Conference

Well, I am happy to announce we survived yet another conference without Stephen. Not with ease, but God took care of us!

20140518_143202_26894 The first little scare was when my dad somehow got knocked to the ground by automatic doors that he wasn’t expecting to open outward. That was when I began texting friends for prayer, haha. Dad was fine, just a little startled. We thought “Oh my, I hope this isn’t a taste of what the whole convention is going to be like!”

20140515_125248_26824 The next scare is when we realized our computers were wet. It was raining for most of the travel day and when we arrived we found that a vent in the trailer had come open. Here Sarah is calling Stephen and getting his advice. Praise the Lord the computers still worked and only a few books were damaged!

20140516_181157_26828 Here are Sarah and I making last minute adjustments on a session on family ministry. While Sarah and I were sitting here working, we looked over at dad and noticed that he had literally fallen asleep while he was typing a text! Poor dad.

20140517_135831_26858 The Martin family was presenting eleven sessions during this conference, so we praise the Lord for giving them the strength to get through the weekend!

We’re excited that they are coming to our home tomorrow, so we will finally get a chance to talk with them (instead of just being in the same building but too busy to talk)! For those who live in the area, Mr. Martin will be speaking at our church (Cedar Rapids Bible Chapel, 3412 Oakland Road NE, Cedar Rapids) in two days (Wednesday, May 20) at 7:00 pm on “Astounding Evidence for Special Creation” and at 8:00 pm on “Developing Discernment in our Culture of Deception.” Mr. Martin is a very interesting speaker, and if you come I do not think you will be disappointed!

20140516_200127_26845 We were very blessed by meeting the Nachtman family and hearing of their heart for evangelism / discipleship. In fact, we learned that Mr. Nachtman lives in the same area as a man that my dad has been trying to disciple, so Mr. Nachtman is going to help! This is a very neat story in itself that I will have to post another time.

20140517_160629_26868 I really enjoyed getting acquainted with Valerie and Jason who are the Living Waters representatives in Michigan.

20140517_141642_26863 I loved how their booth was half booth / half nursery. (Not untypical for home school conferences!)

20140517_182453_26885 In so many ways, we saw the Lord provide help to make up for Stephen not being with us. Another wonderful provision was all the help loading the trailer. [smile]

20140516_183042_26834 Todd Wilson (Family Man) and Israel Wayne (Family Renewal) were the keynote speakers at this conference. Both of their ministries are focused on strengthening families–especially dads–and we really appreciate what they are doing!

“Let thy work appear unto thy servants, and thy glory unto their children. And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it (Psalm 90:16-17).”

Texas Home School Conference

We just returned home from a trip to Texas to the Arlington book fair. It was a great trip, but not without difficulty!

I think my favorite part was getting home last night and sitting around for a couple hours telling Stephen all of the stories from the trip … which seem funny now, though they weren’t all funny at the time!

20140508_104745_26672 One of the things that was especially difficult without Stephen was setting up the computers! One of them fell over and died. The other took what seemed like a couple hours to set up … with many phone calls to Stephen!

20140508_173855_26708 After our day of set up, we went over to Lalo and Dara’s house (from Institute for Creation Research) for a very nice time of good food and fellowship. They have been a big blessing to our family whenever we are in the area.

20140509_145022_26749 I don’t know how we could have done the conference without Haley and Natalie, good friends / local Bright Lights leaders who helped to run our booth.

20140510_101107_26767 Moriah, in pink, explained how she leads a Bible study with friends and is interested in using the Bright Lights material with her group. She’s 12, so I introduced her to Haley, who also started a Bright Lights group at 12. Many underestimate what a 12-year-old is capable to do, but the Lord obviously doesn’t! It’s super encouraging to see Him raising up young ladies in this generation with a heart for discipleship – even at twelve.

20140510_124108_26772 One new addition we have at our booth this year is the Scripture Talk DVD for children produced by our friends Kate and Christa Bridges. We are excited about this new resource to help children memorize Scripture!

20140509_140117_26715 The fellowship with the other speakers and vendors is always a fun part of homes school conferences. Here are our friends Michael Hanson and Lalo Gunther at the ICR booth.

20140509_140132_26718 And Carl Kerby’s booth.

20140513_211147_26810 Fellowship over dinner

We have one day at home and tomorrow we head to the Michigan home school conference. We are grateful that Stephen was able to quickly fix our computer that “died.” We’d appreciate prayer for our sessions, many of which we are adjusting since Stephen won’t be with us.

Family Camp in Mexico

20131114_180835_23996-1 We are at a beautiful camp in Mexico having a wonderful time!!

20131115_192423_24034-1 Here is my dad speaking last night on having family ministry.

20131115_193216_24040-2 The missionary doing simultaneous translation

The camp continues until Monday. Please pray for the Lord’s blessing on this time, for good weather (people are in tents and there has been a forecast for rain), for good fellowship even through translators, and for much lasting fruit!

Texas

We had a great time in Texas. Here are a few highlights.

20130507_113559_21053
We were blessed to be able to have a little part in a documentary that is being made for girls ages 11-16 on guarding your heart. I really enjoyed getting to know Maddie Crawford (right), who is heading up the project. John Clay Burnnet (center), the cinematographer who filmed Captivated is working with her, and her brother Jonathan (left) is helping. I am excited about their project!

20130508_171938_21071 We had a few free days in TX that we spent with the Martins. Here Dr. Martin is witnessing to the waiter at a restaurant. I love gleaning from the Martin’s wisdom and non-stop ministry lifestyle. Some of the highlights of our time with them for me were hearing their little miracle stories of God’s protection/provision, brainstorming about some future conference ideas, and listening to Mr. Martin read 2 Thessalonians and expound on it after meals.

20130509_181346_21098 We enjoyed a big meal at Lalo and Dara Gunther’s house. Lalo works for ICR and has been especially focusing his energies into expanding Your Origins Matter. After dinner, Lalo asked my dad to share a devotional. My dad shared from a study he’s been doing recently on boldness. He shared 26 major sources of boldness that God gives to His children. For example, Proverbs 28:1 says, “the righteous are bold as a lion.” Our righteousness (being cleansed in Christ and having a good conscience with men) is one of the sources that gives us lion-like boldness.

20130510_150150_21139 Our friends Haley and Natalie were a huge help to us at the booth at the Arlington book fair – one of the larger school conferences in the country.

20130511_155643_21163 Natalie and Haley, along with our friend Megan, lead a Bright Lights group in TX of about 70 girls, and we really appreciate all they’re doing to host our upcoming Bright Lights Conferences in the Dallas area this July!

Tulsa Home School Conference

20130429_115241_21010 Well … it’s that time of year again! We are actually only doing three home school conferences this year. This week we are doing two conferences in Oklahoma and one next week in Texas. Thanks to Stephen’s ingenious idea of using labeled green bins, we are staying much more organized. [smile]

20130429_131230_21011Multi-functioning box cutter

20130430_132919_21023 The conference in Tulsa was Tuesday and Wednesday and it went well! Lots of significant conversations with people.

20130430_112038_21020 We ran into our friends, the Kwon family. We first met them at a Bright Lights conference in Omaha. Since that time, Nawon, their oldest daughter (20 yrs old) has run two Purity Conferences in Korea! The Lord has given her a heart for girls in Korea and it’s so exciting to see how He has blessed her initiative!

20130501_100248_21025 Avery and Abby, two girls I met at the conference yesterday, are excited about doing more witnessing! They are such a great age to be sharing the gospel with people – I was so glad to see that Lord was putting that desire in their heart.

20130501_201957_21030 Last night we had a nice relaxing time eating dinner with the Wilsons (aka Family Man Ministries…) At our kids end of the table we were discussing things like, “So what was the most common question you got asked at your booth?”, life on the road, the adventures of breaking down with vehicle trouble, brainstorming a few future ministry ideas, etc.

Today we set up again in Oklahoma City and the conference here starts tomorrow. Please pray that there would be fruitful ministry with families here.

“Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.” Romans 12:9-13

California and Connecticut

Sarah, Stephen and I flew to our last two home school conferences–one in California and one in Connecticut.

For our last conference, we “shipped” some of our material via suitcase, since we were allowed to check 2 suitcases per person. We had 6 large suitcases, 3 small suitcases, and 3 other carry-ons. Twelve pieces of luggage and only three people makes it a bit harder to get around! I tried to push them all like a little train but it didn’t work. [smile]

We had a rather unique trip to Connecticut, actually. Stephen found a cheap flight from Chicago to Boston, so we drove to Chicago Wednesday night, slept a few hours in the van, and then arrived at the airport at 4 AM to get everything checked in time for our 6 AM flight. After arriving in Boston, we drove 2 hrs. to Connecticut, picked up the rest of our boxes at UPS, set up our booth at the convention center, checked into the hotel, and then spoke at the conference at 5:00 PM. A rather long day. [smile]

One of the highlights of the conference is making friends with young ladies who are interested in discipleship and hoping to start Bright Lights groups.

Sarah explaining about the Bright Lights material.

We ordered a quick digital printing of Will Our Generation Speak? so we could have a box for these conferences. It is definitely exciting to be actually getting them into peoples’ hands! Our large shipment of books will be delivered to our office this Thursday.

The conference hours run until 8:30pm, so sometimes we have an adventure trying to find a place to eat after that. This night we found a little Greek place and had a really nice time there.

Stephen loves getting his picture taken, as you can tell.

We were grateful for the scale in the fitness room at the hotel. [smile] Since suitcases have to be under 50 lbs., we had to do some careful adjusting in packing on the way there and back.

Both conferences (Long Beach, CA and Hartford, CT) were encouraging times. We were grateful to have many encouraging talks with people, and we really appreciate those who are praying. Sometimes I think about all the things that could go wrong but don’t, and I’m so grateful for the Lord’s hand of care, protection, and blessing.

Home School Conference Adventures

The book is at the printer now and we are very grateful to be finished. I definitely have a fresh awareness of the Lord’s faithfulness to help us do what He gives us to do! Recently I have been thinking about how the Lord is not only a “Beginner” but a “Finisher” of what He calls us to do. “In God we boast all the day long, and praise Thy name for ever. Selah.” (Psalm 44:8)

We had seven home school conferences scheduled for this spring. At this point, we have five down and two to go. We have six Bright Lights conferences planned for the summer (in three locations: Texas, Kansas, Iowa) and I will be announcing those soon.

For now, here’s a little glimpse of what setting up the booth at a homeschool conference is like (3-4 hours sped up to 2 minutes). This set up was in Cincinnati a few weeks ago.

In South Carolina

Girls we met at the conference last weekend

This past weekend was very full of activity at the home school conference here in South Carolina. We were giving some new sessions, which always makes everything busier … in a good way … though it is extra pressure. However, we definitely saw the Lord answering prayers, and have lots to praise Him for.

Our temporary office

Our family will be at another conference down here next weekend, so in between we’re taking advantage of some quiet days at our hotel to get some work done! The lobby has been very quiet, which has been great. Exactly what we needed. Sarah has been helping me edit chapters and we are excited to be releasing this book really soon now …

From what we hear, Bekah and Nickie have been very busy keeping up with everything at the office while we’re gone and we are very grateful for them!

Also, we are excited that on St Patrick’s day in our town, Nickie and several friends went witnessing and got into a lot of good witnessing conversations and passed out tracts. See pictures on the Edward’s family blog here.

New Hampshire and Back

We just added 2,739 miles to our van and had a very nice trip to New Hampshire.

Home school conferences usually mean lots of cute little kids.

Stephen and a new friend. After we gave a presentation on “family ministry,” several families shared with us about the ministries the Lord had already given them. It was very encouraging to see the “ministry mindset” many of the families there had.

One evening my parents wanted to go to the Red Arrow Cafe downtown Manchester. The rest of us weren’t so sure, but we liked it so much we went back a second time. (Actually, Stephen went back three times, haha) The food was SO good and the atmosphere was a lot of fun too. (Very friendly!) Apparently it’s quite famous and it’s open 24/7, 365 days a year.

My dad wanted to get into a conversation with the men next to him, so he asked them what they normally order for dessert. When He told them we were in town for a home school conference, they said they were lobbying for home schooling and other educational issues in New Hampshire (though they hadn’t heard about the conference going on). Both were glad to meet each other and they had a great talk. I think our waiter (right) was a little intrigued by it all.

On the way home at this hotel breakfast my dad made friends with a Chinese man. He was working on his laptop downstairs while his wife and 2-yr-old boy were still sleeping. Dad told him how we were here for a home school conference, which led to talking about Christianity. He said he’s been going to church with his wife for the past 3 years or so. Upon finding out he was a lawyer, my dad explained how what happened on the cross was a judicial transaction because God is a just God. Later, the Chinese man introduced us to his wife and little boy. They were so friendly, and it was fun to meet them.

When we leave on a trip we never know what adventures or blessings God has prepared…but we do know that when it’s all over what really matters is the people we crossed paths with and the way we interacted with them. People are eternal, things are not. May God give us grace to keep our heart set on loving Him and loving people as foremost priority in our lives.

TEXAS

Another home school conference!

Thursday night we ate dinner at Lalo and Dara Gunther’s house with the Martin family. I’m sure some of you are familiar with Jobe Martin’s ministry or their DVD’s — Incredible Creatures. We have a lot of respect for their family and have been blessed to get more acquainted with them this past year!

With Lalo (right), his wife Dara (left) and his little daughter, Anna. Lalo works for the Institute for Creation Research. (A Christian organization that is on the “cutting edge” of Creation Science research today. We appreciate their unwavering stand on biblical authority. But they have many enemies in our evolutionary world and could use our prayers!) Lalo used to be a gang member and spent several years in jail. Then he got saved and his life dramactically changed. Over dinner he told me several stories of amazing witnessing adventures he’s had – from witnessing in dark alleys in the worst parts of Dublin, Ireland, to drawing crowds at fairs by organizing impromptu skits with the youth group he led and then boldly proclaiming the gospel to the crowds. Just listening to his stories reminded me of how much we will miss out on in life if we don’t forsake our fears and get into the battle for the Lord. We were talking about how witnessing brings an adrenaline high (one that is much better than rollercoasters đŸ™‚ ). Nothing compares to serving the Lord. (Not suggesting going into back alleys, though…)

Sarah, Stephen and I did a session at the home school book fair called “Preparing Young People for Mighty Works.” We had never done this session together with all three of us before, so we thought it was a little rusty, but we were encouraged by people’s responses. One of the things we were talking about is how we need to be doing God’s work in God’s way–striving for holiness without compromise. As Stephen stated in closing “We think that the church today has replaced the doctrine of separation with the doctrine of relevance. As a result, we have lost our saltiness; we have lost our testimony. In seeking to be culturally relevant, we have become ineffective.” To be mighty for the Lord requires purity and holiness. We are supposed to be different. If we are copying the world or compromising with it we will not be demonstrating Paul’s attitude in 1 Cor 1:20. He did not try to impress the world, but instead he held up the cross of Christ – foolishness and a stumbling block to the world, but the power of God.


Our good friend, Alex, who was a part of the first Bright Lights internship

Saturday night we celebrated Mother’s Day at Pei Wei’s — a favorite restaurant of ours that we go to every once in a while when we can find one. It’s kind of like Panera in regard to prices and ordering, but the food is all Asian (and it’s sooo good).