Month: November 2012

Bright Lights Conferences

“My Life is Like a Flower”

At the last conference in Melaka, the Bright Lights was not an independent event, but the girls’ track in a home school conference.

The picture above is the parents’ sessions. Homeschooling is more difficult for families here in many ways. It was refreshing to talk with families from China, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore who are desiring to be different from the world and raise their families for the kingdom of God. It’s refreshing to have that “instant fellowship” with like-minded families on the other side of the world. God is raising up a remnant of young people for His glory all over the world [smile]!

This is a short video of “our girls” singing for their parents on the last day of the conference. Since our theme with the girls this year was “Sing a New Song,” we taught them a new song called, “My Life is Like A Flower.” It speaks of how our lives go by so quickly and we want each day to be a “song sung to Jesus.”

Report from today: Today we have been setting up at the church where we will be running the Bright Lights conferences here in KL, Malaysia. My parents just arrived this morning and had a great flight. We will be running 2 one-day conferences tomorrow and the next day. My dad will be helping to run a young men’s conference simultaneously. Please pray that the next 48 hours would be fruitful for the Lord.

“O sing unto the Lord a new song: sing unto the Lord, all the earth. Sing unto the Lord, bless his name; shew forth his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people. For the Lord is great, and greatly to be praised: he is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the Lord made the heavens. Honour and majesty are before him: strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.” Psalm 96:1-6

Bright Lights Conferences/Singapore and Malaysia

Malaysia Conference, Friends, and Fish :)

Thanking the Lord for the privilege of working with such special girls for three days. They were SO sweet. So affectionate, appreciative, eager to learn and grow … so much fun to be with!

“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment…” 1 Peter 3:3 Each of the girls at the Bright Lights conference in Melaka, Malaysia made a little reminder to take home of one of the lessons taught—inward beauty. The world chases after a fading beauty and cherishes the “shell.” We, instead, chase after Christ and cherish the pearl of knowing Him. Philippians 3:8 says, “I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ…”

Jolynn and Carolynn (Bright Lights leaders in Singapore who both lead a BL group there) planned the theme this year: “Sing a New Song.” They did so much work and planning and did a fantastic job!

This was a fun activity. The girls fill the glasses with just the right amount of water to make five notes on a scale so that when you tap the glasses with a spoon so you can play a song.

Bekah teaching memory verses

Saturday evening we ate a delicious Chinese dinner with the Tehs – leaders in the home school community here.

I don’t know which was more entertaining- seeing Mr. Teh remove the fish eyeballs from the fish head and suck them (a Chinese delicacy) or watching the the reactions of the Americans around him.

After dinner we also went to Jonker street – a popular night market in Melaka. Very neat place to go! Very little “personal bubble space,” lol, but that’s just part of the fun experience. [smile]

Yesterday after walking around and getting some things to eat at the bus station in Kuala Lumpur, we learned that we were going to be there for another hour and a half. So we decided it was a good time for a Sunday afternoon Bible study. Surrounded by our mound of suitcases, we all turned to Hebrews 12 and had such a good discussion. This has been one of the best parts of Bright Lights conferences this fall season…. all the interesting Bible studies we’ve been able to enjoy together in various places [smile]! So fun to “put your heads together” on a passage hear others’ insights.

We continued the discussion this morning and talked for a while about how God disciplines us (Hebrews 12:5-12). Although He chastises us, but He does not punish us (people saved through faith in Jesus) for our sins because Jesus took that punishment on the cross. Later today, Sarah reminded us of a quote from David Brainard that says, “Oh methinks if He would punish me for my sins, it would not wound my heart so deep to offend Him; but though I sin continually, yet He continually repeats His kindness to me.”

I went on a shopping trip last night here in Kuala Lumpur. You really see what you’re getting when you buy fish in Malaysia! And you really smell it too. [smile]

I wonder how to choose which fish to buy? Maybe whichever one looks the friendliest?

Bright Lights Conferences/Singapore and Malaysia

Bright Lights Conference in Melaka, Malaysia

After a beautiful drive through the Malaysian countryside, we arrived in Melaka a few days ago.

Took this picture after dinner at a little outdoor Indian restaurant near our hotel.

Most of the last two days have been spent doing “teacher’s training” with the Asian girls who are helping us to lead the conference. Here Jolynn (in red) is sharing with the group. She and Carolyn (from Singapore) have done so much work in organizing this conference, and it’s been fantastic to see so many other Asian girls involved as well and rising to leadership. They’re all doing a terrific job!!

Shopping trip for craft supplies for the conference.

The conference started this morning! We have a great group of girls and it has been such a good day. The conference will run three days (ending Saturday).

We keep talking among ourselves (Americans) about how sweet the girls are here! It is so fun to work with them. The girls are mainly from Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, and there are some from China.

Please pray that the Lord would accomplish much in the hearts of these girls in the next two days!

Singapore and Malaysia

In Singapore!

We have been in Singapore for 2 days now and things are going very well. Our friends here have been taking very good care of us.

Last night Jolynn’s family made a special meal for us and we enjoyed catching up after four years. We had a good discussion about discipleship and how our primary goal must always be to get people into the Word. This morning I was reading Matthew 12 and thinking about how our goal is to focus on “roots” not “fruits” because when the roots are good the fruit will come. Jesus said “Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit” (Matthew 12:33).

Sarah, Jolynn and Josiah in front of a flee market, waiting for the rest of our group. We went down to Orchard Road (the busiest shopping area in Singapore) to go “fishing.”

Danielle and Nickie are talking with a new friend they met. Nickie began talking with “Tria” and her friend, and then they invited Nickie and Dani to get something to eat with them.
“Well, how about if you come join our group for dinner,” Nickie suggested. They agreed, and we spent the next two hours getting acquainted and discussing views about spiritual beliefs. Tria’s friend had to leave part way through, but Tria stayed with us until we left the mall. She mentioned, “You are different than the Americans I see on TV … and I respect that.” The sad truth is that the image Americans have over here is exactly that… what they see on TV, movies, and billboards. Danielle explained to her: “You know how some Muslims aren’t devout and just call themselves ‘Muslim’? In America, many aren’t truly Christian but just call themselves “Christian.” Dani emphasized how we prefer sometimes to call ourselves “followers of Jesus.” We were so glad for that time to talk with Tria about so many important things and we know we are going to stay in touch!

Here’s the coconut I bought tonight to put in the refrigerator for breakfast tomorrow. That is, if I don’t eat it before then. They’re sooo good…especially the meat you can scrape from the inside. After carrying it for about 45 minutes on public transportation, that is one valuable coconut.

Bright Lights Conferences/Strong in the Lord Conf.

More Bright Lights in Alaska

The Strong in the Lord conference last weekend

View from the parking lot of the church

There’s nothing better to prepare you for an Alaska Bright Lights conference than reindeer sausage for breakfast, right?! (Thanks again, Mr. Vassar! 🙂 )

Just as attendees were beginning to arrive the easel fell over. Here Sarah is discovering that one of the lights broke. Thankfully Simon (son of one of the host families) got it all fixed in time.

Bryant simultaneously fixing a broken harp string …

Stephen meeting with the sound man from the church before the conference started

We had barely any problems with sound at this conference since Stephen was there. He has always had a way of fixing things that go wrong, so his presence at a conference removes a lot of stress from the rest of us.

Not to mention he even brought us Starbucks mochas to split up … a very appreciated surprise!

And he gets us all laughing … (this picture was taken at the Vassar’s house after the conference).

But back to the conference. Here’s Sarah, a girl in the Alaska Bright Lights group, arriving at the conference Saturday morning. (The sun doesn’t rise until about 10am so this was the first time we’ve had people arrive at a BL conference Sat. morning in the dark!)

Morning devotions in the small groups … (which includes balloon popping).

Kelly Jo, an attendee from a couple hours away, really bonded with Abby, her small group leader. It was a difficult goodbye!

Although there were new challenges and new obstacles in Alaska, we are going to look back on our time time there as a time we really saw the Lord work. For example, here is something a very honest father wrote on his response form:

“[The conference] reinforced that my responsibility as a father is so huge, and I am failing so bad, a lot of head knowledge not as much heart, time is running out … Please pray that I would make the decision to truly serve the Lord with my whole life, I’ve been serving two masters and my family is suffering because of it, that’s not my intent but that’s what’s happening.”

We also had some special opportunities outside the conferences. Our team went over to the home of Vangie (a girl in Alaska who joined our team for the week) to sing for her father, who has been in a wheelchair/bed for many years. Though our team went over hoping to be a blessing to him, but it turned out that Mr. and Mrs. Alexander were such a blessing to our team! They shared many stories about how the Lord has been their rock through the difficult times they have gone through. There were quite a few tears that afternoon!

It was so sweet to see how excited Bethany, Bekah’s little sister, was as they picked Bekah up at the airport.

We are flying out tomorrow morning for Singapore. Bekah and Danielle both were not feeling well over the 2 days we were home … we’d appreciate prayer for health / rest on the plane and also for opportunities to be a light.


Moose, Porcupine, and Witnessing!

Thank you for all of your prayers today for our materials in Singapore. Currently Customs is closed for the weekend. We will let you know what we learn on Monday.

The “Strong in the Lord” Conference started tonight and ends tomorrow at 6pm. I will be posting a report about it soon. For now, here are a few reports from the week.

Wednesday our team went to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center and saw moose, grizzly bears, elk, bison, lynx, etc. We had a nice time watching them and trying to get them to socialize (i.e. come closer so we could see them better).

A moose

Of all the animals the porcupine was definitely the most excited to see us….

Wednesday evening Jessica Vassar (left) asked if we could go witnessing. So she, her sister Gabby (right) and I went to a local coffee shop in search of someone to share the gospel with.

After a few minutes of trying to figure out who to talk to and how to start the conversation, we decided to do our own little Halloween questionnaire, asking questions such as, “What do you think happens when someone dies?” This helped us get a conversation started with two high school girls which went pretty well.

Then we began talking with a girl who was sitting by herself. It became evident very quickly that she was a believer, and when I gave her Living Waters’ “Good Person Comic” tract, she said that she had been wanting more of those to use in witnessing but didn’t know where to order them! So I gave her a stack. [smile]. We talked for a while and found we were like-minded in many ways. We were very encouraged by this conversation and by the way the Lord arranged that.

The girls in the Bright Lights group here wanted to do a witnessing outreach with our group while we were here. We decided to go witnessing door to door on Halloween, giving little “gift baggies” (instead of taking candy) and sharing the gospel by using our our little Halloween questionnaire. We divided into 7 teams and reached about 100 houses. We were surprised by people’s receptiveness and had many good conversations! Before we froze entirely [smile], we all piled in vehicles and gathered at a nearby home for hot chocolate and sharing reports (pictured above). It was a very special evening I don’t think I will ever forget!


Urgent Prayer Request

Please pray for the pallet of materials we shipped to Singapore for the Bright Lights conferences. It is currently being held up by Singapore Customs. Singapore has special rules for DVDs and they have rejected our shipment due to the DVDs we have on the pallet. If Customs rejects the DVDs they will ship the entire pallet back to us.