Michigan Home School Conference

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Sarah working at our booth at the Michigan Home School Conference

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We’ve been keeping a Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends Coloring Book open at our booth for kids to color. We accidentally sold this coloring book at the end of the Michigan conference, so if anyone came home with a half-colored coloring book (including this nicely colored green-headed dog) we’d be happy to send you a new one. 🙂

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We were asked to lead the singing for the keynote sessions at the conference. As Sarah and Stephen were trying to pick out songs, they remembered that just one week previously at the San Diego home school convention they had learned a new song called “For All Generations”. Written by one of the mothers who helped to lead the conference, it’s a powerful song about what makes Christian families strong — perfect for a home school conference. It went over wonderfully, and many wanted information so they could teach it to their church or friends. We are grateful to Stephanie Wojnicki for the beautiful song, and we are grateful to the Lord for bringing it to our attention just one week before we needed it!

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After Michigan, on our way to the FL convention, we stopped to visit a good friend of ours (who was a good friend of my grandma). It was a highlight of the trip for me. Every time we visit Clorinda, she encourages us and speaks about the things of the Lord. Her endearing Brazilian accent, zealous personality, and humor make her fun to listen to. I’ve never heard her chat about menial things — it’s always about the gospel, about how we need to be obedient to God, be a persevering warrior for Christ, and be in prayer about what God is doing in the world. (I want to be more like her!!)

Pictures and reports from Florida coming next.

Conversation in Hotel Lobby

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This morning I was reading my Bible on the couch of the hotel lobby when a man sitting nearby asked me, “Are you part of a Bible study group?”
“No, I just like to read my Bible,” I said.
“What denomination are you?” he asked.
“Not really any…I just believe the Bible. What about you?”
“I grew up Roman Catholic,” he said and went on to explain his background and childhood.
“So do you think Heaven is a free gift of something you have to earn?”
“Roman Catholics would say you have to earn it,” he said.
“But what do you think?” I asked.
“You have to earn it,” he replied.
“So, if you have to earn it, your faith is in yourself, right?”
“Well, I suppose…” he said, but then explained at length how everyone’s standards are different and it’s not fair to judge others by your own standard because maybe they have had a different background than you, etc.
“Well,” Sarah (who had now joined our conversation) replied, “maybe God has a standard and, although we can’t judge each other by our own standards, God can judge us by His perfect standard.”
“Well, that could be, but I think that you have to think about everyone’s different background and what is true for one person might not be true for another,” he said.
“So do you believe there is any kind of absolute truth?” Sarah asked.
“No, I don’t think there is,” he said after a moment of thought.
“So you believe everything is relative?” Sarah asked.
“Yeah pretty much,” he replied.
“Are you sure about that?” Sarah asked, (trying to get him to make an absolute statement… )
“No, I’m not really sure, but I heard some people on TV talking about how all of God’s Word is subject to man’s interpretation” he said. “And everyone has a different interpretation.”
“It’s true that there are many people out there who are trying to discredit the Word of God,” Sarah replied, “but I’ve never heard any piece of evidence (whether science, historical, etc.) that discredits the Bible.”
“Well there are theologians that will back me up,” he said.
“Yes, and there are also theologians that will back me up,” Sarah said.
“And that just goes to prove that everything is relative,” he said.
“No, that just goes to prove that some people are right and some people are wrong,” Sarah replied with smile.
He scratched his head, glanced out the front window, and complained that this was too heavy of a conversation to have at ten in the morning. Just then his ride came.
He shook our hands and asked our names. We left him with a creation science tract from Answers in Genesis called, What Really Happened to the Dinosaurs? and told him he’d find it interesting.

Afterwards, Sarah and I were discussing the conversation and how it was obvious that he really didn’t know what he believed. In fact, most people don’t. You can tell by the way they keep changing their minds—even as they are talking with you. They don’t have solid ground to stand on. We do, as we continue to stand on the Word of God and Jesus Christ –our never-changing, absolute Truth.

“How firm a foundation ye saints of the Lord is laid for your faith in His excellent Word. What more can He say than to you He has said — to you who for refuge to Jesus have fled.”

Our hotel room

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This is what it’s like traveling with three harps.

We are at the Michigan home school conference now. Today went very well. Finally back in the room, we just finished pizza and now everyone is working on various sessions and PowerPoint for tomorrow. Well, except for me, I suppose… I’m standing on the beds with my camera trying to get a picture of how messy our room is…

San Diego, Texas, and Pennsylvania

city-2 Stephen and Sarah flew to the CFS Expo homeschool conference in San Diego last weekend. Before the flight, Sarah prayed that God would put her next to the right person. She found herself next to a man who used to be a Jehovah’s Witness but was now a Christian. (Apparently a Christian acquaintance had witnessed to him in a gas station and the Lord used it to get his attention.) He has only been saved for two years now. Sarah talked with him the whole way and left him with some materials for his family –which he was very enthusiastic about receiving. He said that God just keeps putting Christians in his path who have been discipling and encouraging him.

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The booth in San Diego

img_2928 Meanwhile, my parents and I were at the Arlington, TX Book Fair

100_15132 Simultaneosly, the Florio family was representing Bright Lights at the CHAP Pennsylvania homeschool conference for us. See a report of their week here. Thank you again, Florio family, for your help and hard work!

We felt like we were in “three places at once” last weekend, and we were grateful for the way God worked everything out.

Below are a few more pictures from Arlington.

img_2943 Alexandra drove up from Austin, TX to help us. It’s neat how the Lord provides. Since Alexandra had just interned with Bright Lights for 10 weeks, she already knew how to run the booth. She jumped right in and was a huge help.

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These twins came up to the booth and were excited to tell us how they were best friends.

img_2888 Haley and Megan (both 14 yrs old) lead a Bright Lights group together. God gave them both the desire to disciple young ladies independantly. When they met each other last year, they hit it off right away and excitedly made plans to start a group together. Their group has now grown to about 17 girls and they are very excited about what the Lord is doing.

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Tear down…

img_2948 As you can see we were one of the last booths to get packed up…we weren’t moving too quickly at the end of the day.

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I was a little worried about how we’d get through this conference without Stephen and Sarah because Arlington is one of the biggest conferences of the year. But thankfully none of our equipment broke, (answer to prayer!) Alexandra was a big help, and when we were ready to load up, the ALERT guys showed up and took out all our boxes really fast. Like, in about two trips. Wow, it would have taken us forever… (Not to mention, they also brought our boxes in before the confernece started…) God provides. 🙂

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Alexandra and I had a good time jumping on the trampoline with the daughters of the family we stayed with. The Friesens lead a Bright Lights group and it has now grown to become four separate Bright Lights groups. Each one is led by an older girl or a mom, and occasionally they all meet altogether. It was very encouraging to hear their positive reports! Praise the Lord.

“I will sing of the mercies of the LORD for ever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations.” Psalm 89:1

Oklahoma Home School Conference (OCHEC)

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It makes it a lot easier to unload and load up when we can pull our trailer into the convention hall…

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Friday evening, after a long and tiring day at the OCHEC homeschool conference, we enjoyed a great BBQ dinner with the Solis family from Lifetime Books and Gifts the Reinhart family from Rhino Technologies, and Jan and Gary Bloom from Books Bloom. One of the highlights of traveling to homeschool conferences each spring is being able to visit with the community of other “homeschool resource suppliers” and speakers. We usually see each other several times each spring in different states and leave each conference saying, “See you next week in Texas!” and then “See you in Florida!”, etc. The men help each other with their trailers, and it’s always a highlight when we get extra opportunities to talk — which is rare because the conferences are so busy!

Many of these families go to far more conferences and put on a lot more miles than we do. They are very dedicated in their ministry to homeschoolers! Plus, they are a lot of fun to be around, and we always enjoy the great fellowship (and humor) :).

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I didn’t take very many pictures at the confernece, but here is half of our booth.

The conference went very well and we are so grateful that God brought us here. We were praising the Lord for many things as we left!

Midnight Tire Trouble

It was a typical late night stop. We had just crossed the Oklahoma state line and there was nothing around except one gas station. Stephen bought some gas and Dad bought some coffee. It was after midnight. Dad walked around the trailer to make sure the tires were okay because the roads had been very bumpy and we had just blown out a trailer tire a week ago. It was good he checked because one of the tires was missing! Because we have a duel axle trailer with four tires we hadn’t noticed as we were driving. The rim was still there, of course, but the tire had completely disintegrated except for a tiny bit of rubber around the rim.

Dad and Stephen knew we didn’t have the right jack with us. So before attempting to use our two van jacks, Dad decided to see if the gas station had a floor jack. He noticed two employees standing outside smoking and he asked them if they knew where we could find a jack for our trailer.

“Oh, we’ll fix the tire for you,” they said, “we work at the tire shop across the street. It’s closed but we’ll open it up.”

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Tire shop across the street?! Dad thought…

Yes. Amazingly, we just “happened” to stop at a Love’s gas station with a connected truck tire shop and the tire technicians were still there. It was a good thing, too, because the rubber was wrapped around the axle and it would have been difficult for Stephen and my dad to fix it without better tools. There are only a few Love’s stations with tire shops and this one had opened only three days before. We were thankful for the way God had taken care of us.

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I had been asleep, but I woke up in time to get out of the van and document the event. 🙂 The mechanics were friendly, had the tire fixed in about 15 minutes, and charged a very low price.

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I prayed for a chance to witness to these mechanics because I know that God allows these things to happen for a reason. While dad walked with one of them back to the gas station to pay, I handed the other one a “10 Commandments Coin”. (I like these coins because they are great conversation starters.) Apparently he was a Baptist pastor’s son but “didn’t have very much time for church anymore.”

“So what is in your trailer and what are you guys doing?” he asked me.

“We are on our way to a home school conference in Oklahoma,” I told him, “In our trailer we have some resources for families including some books about Creation Science. Science and the Bible don’t contradict each other – in fact, science is consistent with Genesis.”

He raised his eyebrows and seemed interested.

“Most people don’t hear this because schools today teach evolution,” I continued. “Schools claim to be ‘neutral’ about religion, but they are actually ‘anti-god’ in what they teach because evolution is in essence an ‘anti-god religion’.

He agreed with me, and seemed to find what I was saying very interesting.

I thanked him for his help with our tire and told him that their help was pretty much a miracle for us. I told him about how the Lord had provided in similar ways recently and we were grateful to the Lord for taking care of us.

My dad came back about this time with the other mechanic. We left them both with a Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends book, and prayed that the Lord would continue to work in their lives.