Spring Travels

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We are leaving in two days for a chain of home school conferences. Below is our schedule for the month. Hopefully we’ll see some of you along the way!

May 1-2
OCHEC Home School Conference, Oklahoma City, OK

May 8-9
Arlington Home school Book Fair, Arlington, TX
(My parents and myself)

May 8-9
Christian Family Schools Expo, San Diego, CA
(Sarah and Stephen)

May 15-16
INCH Home School Conference, Lansing, MI

May 21-23
FPEA Home School Convention, Orlando, FL

May 30
Cousin’s Wedding, Duluth, MN

June 5-6
NICHE Home School Conference, Des Moines, Iowa

Omaha Bright Lights Conferences

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Last week we “moved in” (literally!) to Kingsway Christian Church and spent the week running two Bright Lights Conferences…

We followed our typical conference schedule:
Monday: Set up
Tuesday Evening and Wednesday: “Strong in the Lord Conference”
Thursday: Rest day
Friday Evening and Saturday: “Radiant Purity Conference”

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Before each conference we spent a few hours in “teacher’s training”, discussion, and prayer. We were excited to see the Lord provide the leaders we needed for the small groups. Many of the leaders who had helped at past conferences were not able to make it this time, but the Lord raised up an awesome new team. About 20 godly older young ladies–outstanding leaders–joined us from over 9 different states. We agreed that this was definately something God brought about.

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Hannah’s small group

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The age range for the Strong in the Lord conference is 8-14.

One of the topics we stress at the “Strong in the Lord Conference” is the importance of reading your Bible daily. The morning after the conference while I was at the home of one of the ladies who hosted the conference for a shower, (all of us leaders sleep at the church and shuttle to homes for showers), I began chatting with Hannah (10 yrs. old), who had attended the conference.
“Did you sleep in this morning?” I asked.
“No, I got up at six,” she said sweetly, “because I was so excited to start my Bible reading plan.”
She went on to tell me what she read and what she had learned. Way to go, Hannah! Keep it up! 🙂

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The skits always keep us laughing, and no matter how much we prepare and organize… it’s still crazy backstage, right girls?!

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“Cowgirl Bekah”, (along with Alexandra), cooked several meals for our staff throughout the week. And as you can see, she doesn’t stop acting when she is offstage. Thanks again, Bekah and Alexandra, for all your patient work in the kitchen — even when the potatoes wouldn’t cook!!

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Having the Wissmann girls join us at the conference was definitely a special treat! Each of their songs and testimonies added a beautiful dimension to the conference. We’re grateful to God for arranging their schedule so that they could come join us.

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The Bright Lights group in Omaha sang a song for us that was written by the mother of one of the girls in their group. We really liked the song, and now we are excited to teach the song to our own Bright Lights group in Cedar Rapids.

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The cool down after the “Strong in the Lord Conference” was refreshing. After a non-stop day, it was wonderful to relax on a beautiful evening and listen to stories and reports from the conference.

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Happy Birthday, Stephen! Stephen has a pretty high-pressure job all week as he keeps the technical side of everything running smoothly. We are also very grateful for the other guys who came along to help with video.
We’ve been trying to get the conferences recorded for years, but there have been countless obstacles. We decided to try–yet again—to tape the conference, but we needed sufficient lighting and good camera men.
A couple weeks ago some good friends, Daniel and Samuel Roberts, contacted us and volunteered to help with video at the conference if we needed it. Of course, we said “yes”, and they drove all the way from Alabama to Nebraska to help. They are experienced camera men and did an excellent job. Combined with the three other young men from our town, Andrew, Issac, and John, we had just the video team we needed.
In addition, the church had great lighting because they used to broadcast their services. Coupled with our own lights we brought, we were able to produce sufficient lighting for the video. The sessions and skits went well, and we think that we actually may have gotten the video footage we need this time!

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On our free day, our team enjoyed some much-needed rest and recuperation which included extra sleep, an afternoon at the park, ultimate Frisbee, a relaxed dinner, birthday dessert for Stephen, and a nice time of singing with instruments in the evening. Yes, it felt wonderful.

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Here is my small group from the Radiant Purity conference! I appreciated their honesty and good insights!

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Sarah is affectionately nicknamed our “fearless leader”… Sarah, what can I say about you?! You definitely have a way of communicating truth to young ladies in a practical, understandable way. Thank you for the difference you’ve made in all of our lives.

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What you don’t see in this picture is the tears in many eyes. As I took this picture, Tami, our wonderful hostess, (in pink) was sharing through tears how clearly she saw the Lord bringing this conference together and how excited she is for what HE is still going to do. Thoughout our whole pizza and sharing time we heard report after report of encouraging ways the Lord worked throughout the week.

In Joshua 24:2-13 we see the Lord reminding Israel of how HE was the One who had really done the work in bringing them into the promised land. Joshua 24:12 says, “And I sent the hornet before you, which drave them out from before you, even the two kings of the Amorites; but not with thy sword, nor with thy bow.”As we reflected over the conference, it was so obvious to us that the LORD fought the battle last week – not us. May HE continually receive all the glory and all the praise from our hearts!

Minnesota Homeschool Conference (MACHE)

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Last weekend, Sarah, my dad, myself, and the four Bright Lights interns went up to Minneapolis for the MACHE homeschool conference…

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Setting up our booth the day before

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With over 6,000 attendees, the convention hall kept pretty busy.

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I don’t know what we would have done without the help of our four interns!

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Sarah giving her session called “Raising Daughters who are Pure in a Generation of Darkness”

Before our session on “Developing a Family Ministry” my dad informed us of some bad news. Our projector was missing. It had been left at the house we were staying — a half hour a way. Not good. We were relying heavily on the powerpoint because we had just revamped our whole talk and we really needed our powerpoint to help it stay connected and smooth. And with three speakers it can be especially difficult to keep it flowing in a clear way.

My dad asked all the other speakers at the conference if they had an extra projector we could borrow, but nothing was available. Finally he resorted to the least desirable option — driving all the way back to our host home. Our session was beginning in just over an hour now. We were cutting it close. After arriving at the house, my dad called again with more bad news. “I can’t find it. I’ve looked everywhere.”
Sarah and I dropped what we were doing and prayed.
Five minutes later the phone rang again and I could tell by the relief on Sarah’s face that my dad had good news this time. “I found it. I don’t know why I didn’t see it before–it was right there in the middle of the room.”

Next we needed to tune the harp (which we use during the chalk talk), and guess what? Our tuner was in the van that Dad had taken. Thankfully, Dad arrived about 15 minutes before the talk and we were able to tune, set up, get everything ready and start the session really fast. Whew!
The session went especially well, and many shared very encouraging comments about how the Lord used it to change their perspective. Praise the Lord.

I love looking back and seeing the Lord’s hand in taking care of so many little details!

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Dinner at Chipotle!

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Thank you Buller family for the very nice time we had at your house!

After church, my mom called with urgent news that we couldn’t come home because of the weather. Apparently the snow storm hit right in between Minneapolis and Cedar Rapids, and everyone at our church back home was very concerned after looking online at the weather. So, we decided to “drop in” on some more friends instead of coming home.

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We called the Lenz’s and they graciously opened their home even at such late notice. We enjoyed eating several dozen eggs from their farm 🙂 (among other things), ice cream, and enjoyed great fellowship…

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And, of course, we had to pull out the instruments and have a singing time.

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After a good night’s sleep, a great breakfast, and a refreshing hike through the cornfields, we hit the road again.

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We made it about 5 minutes down the road…and the van broke a belt. We stopped and prayed. My dad called Lenz’s and got the number of their mechanic, who said he happened to be only 5 minutes away (even though he lives in another town) and he’d come take a look. Wow- how convenient! After he looked it over, it was decided that my dad would drive the van to his shop to get it fixed. I was wondering what all of us girls would do while we waited…especially since everyone was getting hungry for lunch.

We passed a Panera Breads.
“Dad–there was a Panera back there! Can you drop us off?” I asked.
“Well, I could stop right here and you can walk back to it,” he offered (he was following the mechanic).

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“K guys let’s go!” I said and we all grabbed our computers and bags, rolled out of the van (almost), and walked through the cold back to Panera, laughing. Panera was a great place to get some e-mails sent and enjoy a relaxing lunch as we waited for the van to be fixed.

My dad had a chance to speak with the mechanic about the Lord and he left him (and the secretary at his shop) with a few of our books.

Each trip is different and unique. Each one is usually characterized by hard work and various problems to work out. But those problems turn into blessings and opportunities when we trust God–the One who’s really “running the show”.


“And my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”