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!
We also hired a policeman. He was really nice!
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.
Dad dismissing the audience and giving directions
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.
We had such a great group of attendees.
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.
Josie Morris, Ruth Watson, Mrs. Watson, and Mrs. Kramer in the kitchen. They worked really hard and made it very special…even making homemade applesauce and other homemade snacks.
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!)
We thought this sign in one of the bathrooms of the Issac’s house (where we stayed) was especially appropriate!
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
Thank you grace for the update about the conference… I love all the fun details you included!
Thanks for all the pictures, Grace! It’s great to have some images to put with the stories I’ve been hearing from the conferences. Praying that God continue to work in hearts. I was with you in spirit!
Also, glad to hear that ya’all got the whole living together system refined. 😉 And what dedication with the shower schedule…even staying up to 3am….I guess it’s one of those things you do no matter what it takes…just like flossing every night, right? 😉
Thanks for posting the pictures and stories. It is neat to know how God worked in spite through the difficulties. Anna wants to know… Who got to wake everybody up in the morning?
Great post Grace! Such fun memories…….:-)
Great post, Grace. What an amazing week that was… it was such a joy to be a part of the team and see how the was Lord was working in many ways.
Thank you so much for sharing, Grace. It looks like you have a fantastic time! I was unable to attend the conference, though I would have loved to! It is wonderful to hear how the Lord had His hand over the conference and was working in the hearts of many young women.
WOW! Praise God that everyone was safe! 🙂
Praise the Lord! It looked like the Lord worked together all of the details in His beautiful, perfect way! Wow-a fenced in parking lot…but it shows that the Lord’s mighty hand protected you all. The skit photo made me smile-you all do such a great job! And the interesting facts made me smile, too. =) Blessings!
I blogged about the Radiant Purity Conference here: http://flameinthedarkness.com/radiant-purity-conference-notes/
The conference was such a blessing and encouragement and I love seeing photos to remind me even more!!
Thank you so much for writing these updates! It is awesome to see how the LORD is working-and how prayers are being answered! Just a thought; has Tomorrow’s Forefathers considered doing a LIGHT Shop conference?
Grace, it was absolutely lovely having you all come to our church. God worked in some amazing ways. The extra time that we got to spend with you on Sunday is something that I’ll always remember 🙂 THANK YOU for helping teach in Sunday School and sitting with the girls in church! Come back soon!
So glad everyone was safe!
I’d also like it if you guys did a LIGHT shop conference!
Thank you for your post on the conference Grace! The conference was such an enriching and indescribably wonderful experience for me! It is awe inspiring to see how the Lord works through you and your lovely family and staff, ministering to others in such an effective way! I will never forget your kindness!
Thanks for having these conferences!
I so enjoyed helping you in MN!
Dear Grace and helpers,
I was looking for your address to send you a note and found your blog, so I thought I’d leave a note here!
Thank you so much for being willing to jump in at the last minute and take my family’s 3-5 year old class on Sunday morning at Straitgate! It was a huge answer to prayer to hear that you and some of the other girls were going to step in and fill our place when a bunch of our family members were sick with the stomach flu and couldn’t make it to church. We were very touched by your willingness to tackle a situation which was unfamiliar to you and can be very challenging at times. We heard that the kids were well-behaved 😉 and that you all handled the class beautifully!
Annie for the Holmquist family
What fun memories from the week in MN. I miss everyone SO much!
Great post, Grace! The sign was really appropriate for your blog.
I loved seeing all these pictures, thanks for sharing Grace! I’m praising the Lord for all He did for & through your team this conference season! May He give you rest and joy as you prepare for next year’s conferences!
I am so glad that the conferences went well. I was in prayer for you all! Praise the Lord for His goodness in providing all your needs. He is faithful indeed.
Lots of Love, Mary
P.S. I LOVE the no cell phone alarms thing! 🙂 It might just have to be a conference tradition.
So glad the conferences went well, I was praying for them. Thank the Lord for answered prayer!
One of the girls I brought to the conference called me up not long after to tell me she broke up with her unsaved boyfriend. The other girl was annoyed at first with what she was hearing, but thanked me on the way home for taking her. She poured over that journal for much of the way home. Both girls need more of this wholesome teaching and especially the godly example of the Christian young women at your conference. I would love to see them regularly attend a Bright Lights group in their area–they need this on a continual basis. The conference convicted them and me on so many levels. Thank you.
Since attending the conference I have spread the word to all of my friends who are mothers of daughters in the age range for Strong in the Lord and Radiant Purity. They are very interested and want to know when the next ones will be. I have a Canadian friend who wondered if there would be one in Ontario. God bless you for using your time and energy for his glory!
I know this has nothing to do with your post, but I was wondering if you had any halloween tracts that you could post. I am looking for some to print out and share.
I am glad the Lord kept you safe. I thought the homies in Omaha were bad enough! LOL 🙂
Wow! How awesome is that!
I wish I would have had something like this when I was growing up.
wow, this bright lights camp looks amazing to attend hope everyone had a great time 🙂
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