Strong in the Lord Conference, Duluth, MN

Moms and daughters arriving and picking up their nametags!

We are definitely aware that prayer is the one main necessary component for a conference to be successful, and we rejoiced at many answers to prayer throughout the two weeks of conferences. One answer to prayer was the attendance the Lord brought. We prayed for a specific number for each conference and those numbers were exceeded each time. Thank you to all of you were joined us in praying for these conferences!

The sisters who could not get along…

After the first evening, we had some complaints about crying babies so around 11pm Stephen drove to Wisconsin (okay, actually it was only a 30 mintute drive), bought a speaker system, and set it up in the lobby. Things were SO much better the next day. Yea!

The “Good Conscience Sisters”

The “Guilty Conscience Sisters”

We had some problems with mics making loud and unusual noises the first night. They have never done this before, so we included this issue as a prayer e-mail we sent out. The next day we had little to no problems with the mics. Praise the Lord for how He answers prayer and helps us fix problems in all the dimensions of the conference.

An answer to prayer–Hannah, who joined our team for the first time at this conference, knew sign language and was able to fill a need perfectly by helping with the interpreting at the conference.

Enjoying small group times!

Moms and daughters, ready for the next session to begin…

The horse race is beginning in 5 minutes!!

“Let it shine till Jesus Comes. I’m gonna let it shine….”

More pictures coming soon! In the meantime, if you’d like to see a report from the conferences on Emily Schuurman’s blog, click here.

Or to see a fun collection of photos from Chelsy Bontrager’s camera, see her blog here.

“Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life…” Philippians 2:14-15

Radiant Purity Conference, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

The Radiant Purity Conference in Cedar Rapids (August 13-14th) was definitely an exciting weekend. We were very encouraged by the attendance, the response, and the conclusion of the whole event.

The discussion groups at the Radiant Purity Conference always keep things fresh and interesting. Here was Lilly and Laura’s group.

Here are a few other responses from young ladies:

“I’m going to ask my father again to guard my heart and hold me accountable” -14 yr old

“I am going to memorize Romans 6-8 to replace wrong thoughts” -14 yr old

“I’m going to talk to my parents about crushes and stuff” -14 yr old

“I made a commitment not to kiss before marriage” -17 yr old

One thing that excites us most is to see the older girls and moms become interested in starting their own Bright Lights groups when they go home.

Chelsy and Tia’s Group

Here was our “cool down” and sharing time — where we enjoyed good food, relaxing, and hearing encouraging reports about how the Lord was working in all the other small groups. Lots of joy and laughter. But the relaxing didn’t last too long because soon it was time for…

Clean up!! After a week of conferences in the same church, there was lots of cleaning, organizing and packing to do as we prepared to leave the next morning for Duluth….! (Big thanks to the Bieglers and Martinezes for all your help!) Here Tia and Lilly are packing up the booktable.

Rachel and Abby. (In case you haven’t noticed, we are always completely serious after conferences are over…)

…especially Stephen. πŸ™‚

Check back soon for more reports from the Duluth, MN Conferences!

In Duluth Minnesota!

We just concluded the first evening of the Strong in the Lord Conference here in Duluth, MN. Tomorrow will be a full day! We sense an eagerness to learn among the attendees here and we’d appreciate prayer that the Lord would be working in a powerful way in these girls’ lives tomorrow!

“For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13

Strong in the Lord Conference, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Here’s Bryant putting together packages of the Bright Lights Songbook and CD for our booktable at the conferences. We had to resort to our old system of shrink wrapping using an iron since our shrink wrapper broke!

Tuesday moring, our team of leaders gathered for “teacher’s training”, sharing in the Word, and prayer. These are always encouraging times! It’s always refreshing to hear the special verses that have encouraged the other leaders as they have spent time with the Lord preparing for the conference.

Here is the “Folly / Wisdom Skit” in the first main session. This skit tells the story of Wisdom, a girl making good decisions based on an eternal perspective, compared to Folly who just does what feels good.

We gathered as a group of leaders for “cool down” after the first evening to share encouraging stories and prayer requests.

Bekah and Karissa were very dramatic in acting the skit of the two sisters who could not get along…they did a great job.

Enjoying “the pyramid activity!” in small group time as we talked about brothers and sisters learning to be teammates and work together.

The “Dead Conscience Sisters,” reviewing their skit lines backstage. We enjoyed having Laura (Nickie’s sister) on our team again this time! Since she has two kids now she can’t travel with us anymore but she was able to help since the conference was local.

We all love the relationships we are able to make with the girls in our small group teams.

One of the most encouraging things for us is to hear testimonies of lives the Lord touched through the conference. I thought I’d share a few comments we recieved:

“I am going to try to read the Bible for 15 min or a chapter every day. I am also going to try to honor my parents and be kinder to my sister.” -13-year-old girl

“My oldest daughter already has her Bible reading plan commitment in place! My 8 year-old told me last night that she is SO happy and that she feels like a new person inside, πŸ™‚ , and maybe this is what it feels like to really BE a Christian. What joy! ” -Mom

“We were at the Bright Lights conference this past Tuesday and Wednesday. We so enjoyed ourselves… I was especially blessed when my 10 year old daughter approached me yesterday morning to tell me of some things that were weighing on her conscience.” -Mom

We are so grateful for those who have upheld this conference in prayer. The Radiant Purity Conference which followed also went wonderfully, and I will report about that soon. We are now in MN preparing for the next Strong in the Lord Conference which begins tomorrow evening. Please pray that hearts would be changed at these next two conferences.

Guess what arrived??!

On Friday a semi pulled up to our office and we unloaded 5,000 songbooks!

After piles of drafts, it felt wonderful to hold a finished copy.

The songbook process began when Sarah Roberts came last year, helped with the CD recording, and then spent 2+ weeks full time writing arrangments and entering them into the Finale Software. When Sarah Roberts initially e-mailed asking if there was anything she could do to help Bright Lights for a few weeks in the summer, Sarah (Mally) mentioned that we had just scheduled to record a CD and would love to have a songbook to go along with it. The Lord had already given Sarah Roberts this idea independently (though she didn’t know about the recording) and she was excited to come and help. We were thrilled.

After Sarah left, numerous other friends and BL leaders spent time editing, arranging, and entering in new songs. We saw God’s hand of provision in many special ways through many special friends…but of those, Nickie definitely put in the most time of all as she designed and laid out the entire songbook in InDesign. (Not a simple project!)

As we neared the finish line, Sarah and I realized we needed a little more organized system as we went through each song numerous times editing and catching mistakes, so this is the little chart we developed and used for a couple days during the editing process….

Hey, whatever works, right?!

Editing and more editing…late into the night… Deadlines are VERY helpful when it comes to getting things done. (We wanted the songbooks done by our Bright Lights conferences this summer.)

Even Stephen joined the team…

Finally! Finished product! It’s exciting to see the Lord give a desire and then complete it. Our desire and prayer is that this songbook would be a useful tool for Bright Lights groups around the country and that it would direct the attention of multitudes to Jesus Christ.

For more information or to order a songbook, click here.

β€œIt is good to give thanks to the LORD, and to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; To declare Your lovingkindness in the morning and Your faithfulness every night” Psalm 92:1-2

Busy Days at the Bright Lights Office…

There’s lots of work to do with preparation for the four upcoming Bright Lights conferences. We were grateful for all the help from Lindsay (from NE) and Abby (from MN) who came to visit for the weekend to help. Thanks again Abby and Lindsay!

We are also very excited to announce that Rachel and Bekah May are joining us as staff here at the Bright Lights office!! The Mays live in the area and have been involved in Bright Lights for the past 12 years, so they have been able to jump right in and take on all kinds of responsibilities here at the office. We can’t say enough about how happy and relieved we are to have their help. (Plus, their energetic personalities are a lot of fun to have around. :))

Praise the Lord who is able to provide so perfectly!!! (I’m sure you’ll be seeing more pictures of them on here in the coming year…)

Bekah and Nickie

Rachel entering registrations for the upcoming conferences.

Sarah

Lindsay putting sleeves in the front of CDs.
Stephen

Abby making phone calls

And we can’t forget to include a picture of Dad back there typing away at e-mails. We are all very fond of our heroic leader who is just about always ready to either share a new spiritual lesson or a new great idea. πŸ™‚

And we didn’t work the entire time Abby and Lindsay were visiting…instead we sat out in the backyard with the mosquitos. Yes, it was my idea. (Bekah came into the office this morning and announced, “Grace! I have 25 bugbites!” πŸ™‚ )