“Cool” Ideas

20130819_180946_22744 We had a wonderful week running conferences in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.

But it was not without complications. [smile]

What do you do when 500 people are coming to a conference, the air conditioning in the church auditorium is broken, the weather report says it will be 88 degrees, and the windows don’t open?

That’s what we wondered!

Well, first, you pray. Then … you get creative.

20130818_191604_22625 Dad and Stephen bought 100 feet of 8 inch flexible air duct.

20130820_113924_22704 They connected it to a nearby classroom vent and ran it through the hall …

20130820_113807_22702 … up the stairs …

20130820_120052_22713 … and off the edge of the balcony unto the crowd. I think it helped a little bit.

That wasn’t the only idea.

20130820_115921_22708 Mr. Houck constructed a large fan system to be blowing air across the room.

20130820_113747_22701 Here’s a better view of it.

As the conference was beginning, one lady told me, “Well, they got the air working in here–I can feel it!” I pointed out that it was actually the fans she was feeling. [smile]

20130819_124548_22652 In addition, we went to Kroger, bought 1,000 water bottles and asked the manager if he would freeze 500 of them overnight to be picked up the next day before the heat of the afternoon. We passed them out to the attendees as they entered the auditorium.

We also positioned fans to blow in cool early morning air before the conference started, changed the conference schedule (to have shorter main sessions and more of them), and moved the mom’s sessions to an upstairs room.

All in all, everyone survived the conference. No heat strokes. Once again, a problem turns into an opportunity to see the Lord’s hand of provision. Praise the Lord.

20130821_070504_22732 Here are our three innovative geniuses. [smile]

Romans Challenge!

When speaking on witnessing at the Radiant Purity conferences, I have been recommending to the girls that they spend more time in Romans—saturating their thoughts with the gospel so that it overflows into their lives and witness. I’ve been suggesting that they do the “Romans Challenge” which I did last winter: reading Romans 1-8 daily for thirty or fifty days. Last winter over 100 others did it with me, and it was wonderful to be able to share reports and study tips with each other. They would send tips and testimonies to me, and I’d combine them in a weekly e-mail.

I decided to host another “Romans Challenge” in September for those who are interested, and I have been announcing it at conferences.

20130817_060954_22587 I’ve been encouraged by the enthusiasm of the girls who come up to me afterwards with their e-mail address, asking to be included in the September “Romans challenge.” Last night I spent some time entering all the e-mails into my computer.

If any of you would be interested in more information about this challenge, see my post from last February and leave a comment if you’d like to be included! Also feel free to pass the word to any friends you know who may be interested.

Even if you don’t do this Romans challenge, I recommend you do something similar with a book of the Bible sometime. Read it over and over for a period of time, and watch as the Lord gives you a deeper, broader understanding of it. And remember—you are not the only one out there desiring to seek the Lord diligently. It can be easy to begin feeling alone in your Christian walk at times, but remember—there many other young people that are also seeking, craving the Word—wanting to be stretched, to grow deeper, stronger. Traveling around the states doing conferences gives us the opportunity to see that the Lord is raising up a generation that is seeking Him!

Here are just a few of testimonies from those who did the Romans challenge last winter:

“You don’t realize the wonderful logic of the book of Romans until you read it through like this. … I have really enjoyed it and am always tempted to read the rest of Romans. You realize that you learn so much this way and it has really motivated me to want to do it with all the books of the Bible!” ~Katrina

“It would be difficult to express what God is doing in me through y’all’s testimony and especially through His Word. . . The truth of His glorious plan is sinking in, becoming my own. – Ben

“This has been such blessing… I don’t want the 50 days to end. 🙂 I started compiling all of my notes into a fun notebook … I feel like I have a much better understanding of Romans and how it all fits together, because of this.” –Becca

“Thank you so much for sending the tips and ideas. They help to keep it fresh and help me dig deeper. 🙂 I have been sharing what I am learning about with others quite a bit. Reading it so much keeps it constantly on my mind, so I can’t help mentioning it!” Hannah

Strong in the Lord Conference, Pataskala, Ohio

20130814_192005_22510 We were very encouraged by the great group of girls and parents the Lord brought to the Strong in the Lord conference. It was the first time most of them had been to a Bright Lights conference and we were blessed by their receptive and enthusiastic attitudes. It was evident that the Lord had prepared their hearts.

20130814_192114_22507 The construction workers warning Folly of danger ahead.

20130814_192135_22508 Cowgirl Bekah and Brownie

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We have been encouraged to hear moms telling us how their daughters have started passing out tracts and witnessing. Some mentioned how their daughters were passing out tracts to people at the hotel breakfast, at the restaurant they were eating lunch, etc. Praise the Lord!

20130808_124911_22511 Grocery shopping for our staff. Each week a different leader becomes “cook” for the team. It is a big job to cook for all of us 3 times a day!

20130813_180831_22413 We had a relaxed extended time of sharing last night. Lots of pizza, stories, laughter… I guess everyone looks a little tired in this picture [smile].

20130813_203347_22470 Cleaning the church and packing…

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20130813_203735_22491 Stephen has had a lot of experience packing that trailer!

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Sheri Woolard (right) has hosted Bright Lights at her church four times now! We praise the Lord for her and all the she has done to make these conferences happen. Also, the pastor (left) came this morning and sent us off. We appreciated his support.

We are now setting up at the church in Michigan. It has been a good day. The Radiant Purity conference here starts tomorrow. Many registrations have been coming in and it looks like these conferences will be pretty full.

Ohio Report

We had a great group of attendees at the Radiant Purity Conference last weekend. They were very responsive, and it was a privilege to interact with them and see the Lord working in their hearts.

20130812_110820_22393 Kristin, Hannah, and Abby sharing testimonies with the group.

20130810_131851_22356 In Sarah’s session on “Living By Faith not Fear” she shows several pictures of couples that God brought together, explaining their stories. Many of the girls who used to work with our team are married now, and their unique and encouraging stories show the power of the Lord to arrange marriages!

20130810_171207_22363 This group of girls went through Before You Meet Prince Charming as a group study and they explained to me how they created songs for all the memory verses in the book. They said that by the end of the study they knew those verses really well!

20130811_105244_22373 Our team of leaders was blessed yesterday afternoon by a gourmet dinner one of the ladies from the church here put together for us. Even better than the meal was to get to know Judy (right) and see her joy in the Lord and how much she serves at the church here.

20130811_170435_22376 After Sunday afternoon naps [smile] we went to a park. Some of us enjoyed a long ultimate Frisbee game…

20130811_180353_22385 We are studying the second half of 2 Corinthians on this trip. It has been SO encouraging. I haven’t studied 2 Corinthians in-depth before and am learning many things.

We studied chapter 9 last night. Paul appeals to the church at Corinth to be generous, and gives reassuring words of the abounding grace of God. This remind us to not only be generous with money but to be a “giver” in every area of life. We never need to fear lack, because “God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed.” (2nd Corinthians 9:8)

We should be motivated to give because we want people to thank and glorify God! As Paul writes, “you will be enriched in everything for all liberality, which through us is producing thanksgiving to God. For the ministry of this service is not only fully supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing through many thanksgivings to God. Because of the proof given by this ministry, they will glorify God for your obedience … (2 Corinthians 9:11-13a) May we do each “good thing” with the motivation that the Lord receive more thanks!

Also, it’s interesting to consider the idea that if all Christians gave as they should, there wouldn’t be a need to fund raise or ask for money. It would already be happening.

Paul concludes this section by saying “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:15) I think that’s a good definition for witnessing … trying to describe the indescribable!

20130811_184534_22391 My mom began talking with this couple at the park, admiring their cute baby girl. After we told them why we were in the area and about our conferences, we asked them if they were Christians.
“ALL THE WAY!” Isaac said with enthusiasm.
They are from Liberia and are looking forward to going back there and continuing to serve in ministry. We had a very nice talk and were grateful for the divine appointment. They might come to our conference tonight.

The Strong in the Lord conference starts in 2 hours. We would really appreciate your prayers! Thank you.

At Creation Museum

We are off again for our next Bright Lights conference trip. The Lord has blessed us already with a restful travel day, a perfect place to spend the night in Indiana (thanks to our friends, the Winters) …

20130807_140258_22335 … and a fun day at the Creation Museum!

20130807_114646_22291 Camel rides!

20130807_115413_22309 The animals seem to enjoy all the interesting people they get to look at. [smile]

20130807_115058_22299 I think this white one is my favorite.

20130807_115237_22302 Notice the Zorse (Zebra-horse) in the background. For more interesting information about the zorse, see here.

20130807_140433_22340 Tia and Hannah riding the new zip line.

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At the end of the day, a friend of mine from Saudi Arabia (who I had met on a plane a few months ago) and her brother came to join us. We had a great time taking them through the museum. That was one of the highlights of the day!

We are now setting up at the church in Ohio. The Radiant Purity Conference starts tomorrow night.

Recently I’ve been thinking about the end of Philippians chapter 3 and beginning of 4. When our joy is in our citizenship in Heaven and our standing is in Jesus Christ, nothing can shake that joy.

“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself. Therefore, my beloved and longed-for brethren, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, beloved … Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!”

Please keep the upcoming Bright Lights conferences in your prayers. We want the Lord to extend His hand and do great things in the lives of the attendees–and in our lives! Please pray that we would have clear, bold, and honest speech as we share with these girls.

Also, remember to be praying for the Creation Museum. The Lord is doing great things there, and they continually need prayer for wisdom, energy, and the Lord’s hand of blessing upon all that happens there.

Regrouping At Home

20130731_125455_22259 We are enjoying a week at home before we leave for our next conference trip in Ohio and Michigan. Yesterday after lunch we had Tiramisu and a little party for Nickie’s birthday (a little late). Nickie’s dad is doing pretty well with the chemo. Thank you to all who are praying.

Lunch time around here is pretty fun and often ends up in unique theological discussions. It’s nice having more people here right now! We praise God for the big help it is to have Allison, Anna, and Kristin helping us this week. They’ve been doing so much! I don’t like to think about how we would get everything done without them here.