Month: April 2011

Bright Lights Conferences/Radiant Purity Conferences

Radiant Purity Conference in Rogers, AR

Click here to view GigaPan full screen (recommended). If you attended the conference, make sure to zoom in and find yourself!

More people registered at the door than we expected. We had been praying for many to find out about the confernece, even at the last minute, so this was an answer to prayer.

Karissa, Scarlet, Brittney

Usually each time we set up a conference we wonder, “will we have enough leaders?”, but we rememeber how God has provided in the past and trust Him to do it again. And He does. This time we had terrific group that came together from Minnesota, South Dakota, Iowa, Kansas, Virginia, Indiana, Arkansas, Alabama and Texas to lead the conference! We are very grateful for the effort each of the leaders made to get there.

Thanks to recent hard work from Rachel, Sarah, Nickie and others we now have Radiant Purity Journals to supplement the conference.

During the first session, a tornado warning was issued and the sirons began sounding.

So we evacuated the 370 attendees from the auditorium. Two tornadoes were on the ground nearby and we were directly in the path of one of them. Praise God He kept us all safe.

Some of the rooms sang hymns while they waited for the tornadoes to pass. One girl requested, “I’ll Fly Away.” I don’t know if it was intentional or not, but we sure laughed about it afterward.

After conferences we usually gather in the kitchen late at night because we suddenly seem to get SO hungry… 🙂

Our good friend Augusta (with help from Danielle) made a fantastic Indian meal for all of us one afternoon. Indian food is sooooo good. Thank you again, Augusta!

Packing up the “office” – a room we worked out of throughout the conference to keep everything organized. Organized?! Haha, well, sort of.

This picture was taken about 1:00 AM Saturday night as Stephen and Dad were STILL packing the trailer! Rain was pounding on the roof and it was thundering outside. We have never had rain this hard during and after a conference. Amazingly, this church had an overhead door into their auditorium so that we could back our trailer partly into the building. God sure does a good job of arranging the details. We had many such provisions at this conference. Praise the Lord.

Since we were traveling home on Easter, my dad started a discussion about the resurrection at dinner. Theological discussions when many of us are really tired ends in…well, this time it ended in lots of laughter and some tears (from laughing, that is). I think we made a scene in that restaurant.


And to see a nice collection of pictures from Emily’s camera, see her blog here.

Not a shadow can rise, not a cloud in the skies,
But His smile quickly drives it away;
Not a doubt or a fear, not a sigh or a tear,
Can abide while we trust and obey.
-John H Sammis

Bright Lights Conferences/Strong in the Lord Conf.

Strong in the Lord Conference in Rogers, Arkansas

Registration begins

Attendees! 🙂

Haley, Natalie and Megan lead a Bright Lights group together in Foster, Texas and joined us to help lead this conference. They were a blessing!!

Small group time!

Kelly, from the Minneapolis area, joined our team for the week to cook for us. I’ll have to say, we ate very well. Kelly is also extremely cheerful, which is an encouragement to everyone.

After the Strong in the Lord conference was over, we had a sharing time during supper. These times are always encouraging as we hear stories from each other of how the Lord worked, share prayer requests, laugh about the skit “bloopers,” and things like that.

We appreciated all the Duggar girls did to help with the conferences from spreading the word to helping in small groups to hosting our whole group at their home Thursday night.

We enjoyed a very nice evening and fantastic meal at the Duggar home Thursday night.

We really appreciate the Duggars’ ministry mindset and it is exciting to see how the Lord is using them!

Duggars, our team, and other local friends and some conference attendees.

I will post about the adventures of the Radiant Purity conference in a couple days.

“Praise ye the LORD. Praise, O ye servants of the LORD, praise the name of the LORD. Blessed be the name of the LORD from this time forth and for evermore. From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the LORD’s name is to be praised. The LORD is high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens. Who is like unto the LORD our God, who dwelleth on high…” Psalm 113:1-5

Bright Lights Conferences/Strong in the Lord Conf.

GigaPan of Strong in the Lord Conference in Rogers, AR

We are praising God for bringing such a special group of young ladies and parents to the Bright Lights conference in Rogers, AR these past two days. It has been a big encouragement to be with other families who are seeking the Lord and His ways.

Thank you to all who were praying – more reports to come.

Below are two GigaPan images we shot at the Strong in the Lord conference. Use the controls on the left side to zoom in, out, left and right. We suggest you use the links below and view them in full screen. If you attended the conference make sure you zoom in and see if you can find yourself.

To view full screen click here

To view full screen click here

Miscellaneous/Witnessing Stories

Conversation at the Library

A few days ago I noticed a girl sitting on a bench by herself in the entry way of our library. I sat down next to her, and our conversation went something like this:

“Hey, how are you?” I asked as I sat down.
“Good, how are you?”
“Good. Did you just get out of school?” I asked.
*Little pause*
“So do you come here a lot after school?” I asked.
“So what are your favorite subjects?”
“Music and Art,” she said.
“Really? Those are probably mine too. What do you play?” I asked.
“Piano and Guitar,” she replied, “I used to play flute but my parents don’t have money for band,” she said.

“So do you guys have any Easter traditions?” I asked.
She lit up a little and said, “We usually go to my grandma’s house for lunch. They live by a lake so then we go boating and things….”
“Really? Aw, that sounds like a lot of fun. And grandmas are usually pretty good cooks,” I said.
She agreed with a smile.

“So do you know very much about the real meaning of Easter, the resurrection and all that?” I asked her.
“No not really. I mean, I hear a little bit in youth group, but not very much.”
“Oh what church do you go to?” I asked.
“New Covenant,” she said.
(New Covenant is a good gospel-preaching church here in town.)
She said that a friend had brought her and she had only attended three times.

“Here let me explain what this tract means,” I told her, showing her our tract about the resurrection (link below). I briefly walked through each point with her. She was interested as I emphasized how we can know for certain that what the Bible says about Jesus is true.

She said, “I once learned the story about this guy named Peter who actually saw Jesus, and then Jesus let him walk on water. And then he began to sink and Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. I thought that was pretty cool,” she said with a little sparkle in her eye.
I smiled… “I know, it is pretty cool” I agreed. “There are a lot of other neat stories in the Bible too. Do you have a Bible?”
“No…only a picture Bible that my little sister has…”

“So you learned that story in youth group?” I asked.
“What else do they talk about in youth group?” I asked.
She named a few things, including “our sins.”
“What about our sins?” I asked.
She didn’t have a very clear understanding of sin, so we talked a little more about that.
“We may think we aren’t that bad,” I told her, “but we’ve all sinned. Even if we just tell one lie, that makes us a sinner. Or if we dishonor our parents, that’s sin—like if we talk back or disobey them…so that’s a really easy one to break…”
“Yeah I do that a lot,” she said and began to tell me about how hard it is with her step dad. Then she began to expound on the complicated situation of her broken family, about relatives who have died, and about her near-death experience in the hospital last year.

“Do you ever wonder why God allows bad things to happen?” I asked her.
“Yeah,” she said.
“Well you see, it’s because of sin that there are so many problems in this world. It all goes back to Adam and Eve. Do you know that story?”
She said she did.
“God didn’t make Adam and Eve robots,” I explained, “He let them choose to obey or disobey. Before they sinned, they had a really close relationship with God. But after they disobeyed there was a separation between them. Things went downhill from there. But even at the very beginning God promised that a Savior would be coming.”

“The Bible says that God is love. Do you believe that?” I asked her.
She said she did.

“Do you know why Jesus died on the cross?” I asked her.
She said something about how “He was doing it for others…” but she didn’t really get it.
“It was a really horrible death being nailed to the wood and hanging like that,” I explained.
She agreed.
“So why did He do it?” I asked.
I think her curiosity was aroused a little at this point, so I explained, “If Jesus hadn’t died on the cross there would be no way we could go to Heaven. We would each have to be punished for our own sins—which would mean being separated from God forever. But because God loves us, He made a way to rescue us. God said that the punishment for sin is death, but because Jesus died for us we can be free! And we can have that close relationship with God again.”

We talked for about 45 minutes. She was going the right direction, but she just needed more teaching. It was exciting to have the opportunity to build on what the Lord is already doing in her life.
I left her with a little pink New Testament and explained how there are lots of interesting stories in Matthew that she’d enjoy reading.
“I’ll read it,” she told me and seemed pretty pleased to receive it.

April is such a great time to witness, because just bringing up Easter and the Resurrection opens a door to ask others about their religious beliefs.

Sarah and I put this tract together last year. If you’d like to print some to give out, click HERE.

I’d also encourage you to read Josh McDowell’s artical on Evidence for the Resurrection here, and consider printing some out to pass out as well. It is very interesting and helpful.

(If you’d like, you can also see last year’s post here for more ideas about sharing the gospel on Resurrection Weekend.)

Bright Lights Internship/Family News

Interns :-)

I’ve been storing up lots of pictures of times with our Bright Lights “interns” to share with you all! We’ve really appreciated the extra help they have provided around our office, and we’ve enjoyed some fun times outside of “office hours” as well.

Singing in our basement

Each of the “interns” have been doing the “4:12 study” with one of the younger girls in our Bright Lights group. They met all together for the first time (above picture) and since that time they’ve been meeting once a week individually with their partner.

A couple times Kristin cooked a meal for all of us at the “guest house,” where they are staying. She is a very good cook / hostess. 🙂

Here Baylie and Kristin are packing boxes as we are gearing up for a conference trip. There is so much work that needs to be done before and after conferences — it’s been great to have the extra help. Last weekend we split up and Nickie, Rachel, Kristin, Emily, and Baylie went to the Nebraska Home School Conference while our family went to the Cincinnati Home School Conference. I’ll put up a few pictures of that soon.

Nickie taught the Desktop Publishing class this time instead of Stephen. She did a great job!

Tired and stressed from the class, but still similing! (because I told them to, haha 🙂 )

Cake and ice cream for Rachel’s birthday. Rachel (red) coordinates the BL Internships, and she is also in charge of purchasing. Both of those areas involve a lot, and I’m not sure how we would manage around here without Rachel! She and her sister Bekah (brown) have been working at the Bright Lights office 3 days a week for almost a year now.

We had a nice time with Kristin’s mom and sister who came to visit

“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” Proverbs 17:22