Bright Lights Conferences in Minneapolis
Last week was an exciting week of conferences at Straitgate Church in Minneapolis. We really appreciated being able to use this beautiful facility and enjoyed working with the great people at the church.
But the conference was not without difficulties! Difficulties are good, though. They cause us to pray more, and it builds our faith as we see the Lord work things out for good!
A few days before the conference my dad and brother became aware that the church was located in a dangerous part of Minneapolis. (This picture is of the church’s fenced-in parking lot.) When Stephen looked up the crime record in the area he became quite concerned, and he said that if he had known he’s not sure he would have agreed to do the conference there. Dad and Stephen are very protective, and they didn’t want to be responsible for any problems while 400 moms and daughters came to this area of town.
My dad felt that the principle found in Deut 22:8 applied in this situation, and he wanted to take whatever precautions we could. First, we sent out an e-mail to everyone registered, asking them to park in the lot (not on the street), not leave valuables in car, carpool if possible, and other things like that.
Here we are dividing up phone numbers among the leaders who were helping us set up on Monday. We checked and saw that about 80 attendees hadn’t opened the e-mail about security precautions. So we decided to make contact another way…i.e. lots of phone calls!
And we were very grateful for the help of a group of young men (especially the Watson brothers) who directed parking, escorted the moms and girls, and patrolled the area. Even though there were some other interesting people around in the neighborhood, the presence of our team of young men, our new officer friend, and of course God’s hand of protection made everything safe even when it was at 9pm when we dismissed.
It seemed like there were a lot more dads there than usual. We thought this was great, because we LOVE it when dads come. We think it’s beneficial for them to hear what their wives and daughters are learning. My dad also leads the small group time with the men and they seem to always have great discussions.
Our friend Mindy Caron (right) and the group she brought to the Radiant Purity Conference from northern Minnesota. At the Radiant Purity conference she told the encouraging story of how God brought her and her husband Ben together.
After each conference we always have a cool down time to share stories over dinner. While I was taking this picture, Laurie (in green) was sharing about one 8-year-old girl in her small group (who was from the neighborhood and part of the church’s bus ministry) who contemplatively asked, “So you are saying that when my brother does something mean I am supposed to do something nice to him in return?” It’s really encouraging to see the lessons “click” with the girls.
We had a fantastic place to sleep. Mrs. Issac opened her home to all of us–with lots of loving care besides. Thank you again, Issac family! Here we are on having a special “singing” time together with the Bright Lights group that regularly meets in their home.
There are some *interesting* parts of living with so many other girls in a basement for a week. It’s fun, but you also learn things like:
-how to get completely ready in the morning without even stepping in a bathroom
-how to fall asleep with earphones in and the lights on
-how to turn the water on and off during your shower to reserve water, while also making your shower really fast!
-How to take showers at odd times…like Stephen, who had to take showers at 3:30am! (He and my parents were sleeping on the top level while the rest of us had the basement.)
BUT, these things are all an improvement from icy cold showers (we still love you, our Wisconsin friends, though! And we’d still come back if you invited us! haha ) and it’s better than traveling to other houses for showers (although there are some blessings in that too!)
There are many little practical things we learn after living for a good portion of the summer with LOTS of other sisters. We have finally learned a big secret that makes mornings much more pleasant: no one is allowed to set their alarm clock on their cell phone. Instead, someone individually wakes people up at the time they request to be woken up. (They even made me turn off mine which is really cool and sounds like a tropical jungle! ) Otherwise, we just have way too many weird sounding noises going off in the morning…(i.e. a rooster, a frog, annoying bells, praise songs, you get the idea.) And SOME PEOPLE (okay, myself included) don’t even wake up to their own alarm clock half the time even though most everybody else does.
Well, to everyone who prayed for us: THANK YOU. There are so many more stories that I don’t have time or space to record. We are so privileged to serve the King of the Universe who has good plans, good lessons for us to learn, and who provides for us just what we need for what lays in our path.
“Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable. One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts.” Psalm 145:3-4