Speak Truth in Your Heart Conference, Dallas

img_0184 On June 7-8 we held the first official “Speak Truth in Your Heart” Bright Lights conference in Dallas, Texas. For many years we have been doing the same two conferences (the “Strong in the Lord” and “Radiant Purity” conference) so it was special to present totally NEW content.

The name of the conference (and Sarah’s soon-to-be-published book) comes from Psalm 15:1-2 “O Lord, who may abide in Your tent? Who may dwell on Your holy hill? He who walks with integrity, and works righteousness, and speaks truth in his heart.”

We praise God for the way we clearly saw Him working that weekend. We hope to do many more “Speak Truth in Your Heart” conferences! The need is great for young ladies to be replacing faulty thinking with God’s Word. From the beginning, Satan’s strategy has been to use deception. Often struggles in our spiritual lives are intensified because we don’t know the Lord and His Word well enough! Trusting Him is a natural byproduct of truly knowing Him. Psalm 9:10 says “Those who know Your name will put their trust in You, for You, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.”

img_0190 Mothers and daughters, praying together in between sessions.

img_0191

schedule8-5x11

For more information on the “Speak Truth” Curriculum, see this blog post from when Sarah presented it at a camp last September.

img_0206 This was a group activity / object lesson on discipleship.

img_0221 Since Stephen and my dad couldn’t be there, we were grateful for the extra help loading up afterward from Daniel Skrnich and Mr. Noland.

Pray for girls here in St Louis!

IMG_0308

Please for girls and parents who are here tonight and tomorrow at our “Strong in the Lord” conference in the St Louis area. In this first session (going on now) Sarah is challenging the girls to be one of those few who does not go the world’s way, but lives their lives for Christ! Please pray that the Lord works in a powerful way in their hearts. Thank you.

“Speak Truth in Your Heart” Bright Lights Conference

Speak Truth Banner

I’m very excited about the brand new Bright Lights conference that will be taking place in Dallas, Texas on June 7-8. As girls replace lies with the truth, they see how God’s Word transforms each area of their lives as the truth sets them free.

Sarah has presented this material at camps, but this is the first time she will be teaching a Bright Lights conference using this material. See more information on our flyer here. Click here to register.

Upcoming Bright Lights Conferences in St Louis

We’re excited to announce that we’ll be running Bright Lights conferences in St Louis in the end of June. We are praising God for how details have been coming together, thanks to the hard work of our friend Allison Whisler who is our hostess in St Louis.

Bright Lights Conferences_banner
This is our image designed for sharing on social media. We also have an email with more information about the conferences for spreading the word. If you know families in Iowa, Illinois, or Missouri who might be interested in the conferences, you can email us and request this informational email. Or if anyone would like actual paper flyers [smile] we’d be happy to put some in the mail to you.

Bright Lights Conferences 2016 from Tomorrow's Forefathers, Inc. on Vimeo.

We would greatly appreciate prayer that the Lord would use these conferences to point the hearts of young ladies and parents to Jesus Christ.

See the conference flyer and more info here. See our online store to register for either of these conferences.

Radiant Purity Conference, Dallas, Texas

11779985_871538086228420_8710486862946040913_o First session of Radiant Purity Conference, Dallas, Texas

In this first session, Sarah answers the question: “what is RADIANT purity?” Why don’t we just call it the “Purity Conference”? Sarah explains how it’s not just being pure yourself, but leading others in the way of purity. It’s having a life that stands out as different, and beautiful–and points others to Jesus Christ.

IMG_6943

It was very exciting to see the Lord’s hand working in girls’ lives at the conference. In the small group discussions, many voiced their thirst for answers. They were struggling and wanted help. The most encouraging part was seeing their decisions to actually make changes in their lives. For example, here are a few comments we received:

“I want to spend more time now working on becoming the godly woman I hope to be rather than just daydreaming about finding a godly guy all the time… I thought the speaker made a very good point about how most failed relationships go wrong because of seeds planted before the people even met. That’s important for me to consider right now… I want to make more time actively for exploring the Bible rather than wasting time on social media…” – 17-year-old

“I let go of a guy, told him that I don’t see a future between us (which was really hard cause I’ve really liked him for a while now) … Some decisions I was facing like currently this weekend I got answers to on how to handle it. It was like God was speaking directly to me through the speakers.” – 18-year-old

dsc00362
One of topics the girls seem to appreciate the most is “Emotional Purity.” Sarah shares practical, Biblical advice on how not to be obsessed over a crush, and how to be a godly sister in Christ who is not flirtatious or rude. She encourages the girls to seek to build up young men around them rather than trying to get attention for themselves.

11222267_871854136196815_5648973731254630594_o We had a unique, unexpected problem (well, we always do, but this one was especially noticeable): the sustain pedal on the keyboard wasn’t working, which made the piano sound kind of like a harpsichord. 🙂 Stephen and I took a careful look at it during a break and saw that it was definitely broken. We weren’t sure what to do. You don’t realize how much of a difference a sustain pedal makes until it’s broken.

Sarah came into the office and told a couple of the girls, “I have a prayer request. Pray that the pedal on the keyboard starts to work.” My first reaction was, “Does Sarah realize that’s not possible? Stephen and I looked at it, and it’s broken.” But then I remembered Oh yeah. God could fix it. In the next session, I couldn’t believe it: the sustain pedal was working! Then it stopped working again, so Stephen had the idea of switching to a different keyboard for the rest of the conference, and that really fixed the problem, praise the Lord.

IMG_6998 It was really encouraging for me to hear how the Lord had been working in Brook’s life in the area of witnessing! I’m excited for how He is going to use her.

IMG_7003 Alyssa (left) came up to me after the conference and told me about how she was wanting to witness to the other girls on her swim team back home but was finding it difficult. I agreed that it is tough to witness to friends in that context. I mentioned that it’s actually a lot easier to witness to people at the park that you don’t know, because you don’t have anything to lose.
“But I don’t want to serve God in a way that costs me nothing,” Alyssa replied.
That was a great comment, I thought.
“That’s true,” I agreed.
“But in a way there is nothing to lose by witnessing to your swim team either,” I remarked…
“Well, friendships,” she said.

Praise God for young ladies like Alyssa who desire to lay down their own lives and desires out of devotion to Christ. Sharing the gospel IS a sacrifice. Living for Jesus DOES cost. And many aren’t willing to pay the price. But when we look from the perspective of the cross, it’s not a price–it’s a privilege.

IMG_7047 “We need to get over,” Nickie told me with an intense tone of voice. She was driving one of our 15 passenger vans and I was in the passenger’s seat texting someone. I looked up and noticed that smoke was filling the van. Since we were on a busy Dallas interstate, it took Nickie a little bit to get over to the side of the road. I was worried the van might burst into flames before we all got out. But God protected us.

dsc00422 Eventually my dad arrived, and then two men from a local Bible chapel came to help us. “Usually God sends angels in pairs,” my dad told them gratefully. 🙂 It turned out that a wire came loose from a power inverter and the insulation on the end was charred, thus causing the smoke.

As you can see, I’ve been very slow with sharing reports here this summer, but if you’re interested in more pictures and reports, Caitlin did a fantastic job updating her blog here.

Strong in the Lord Conference, Dallas, Texas

It feels like we just got off a roller coaster. 🙂 Our summer of conferences just came to an end and most of our summer staff is now gone. It’s been sad to part with them, but our hearts are filled with gratefulness to God for His work this summer. He does more than we ask or imagine! I’ll try to catch up on blog reports by posting in segments, starting with our “Strong in the Lord Conference” in Dallas, August 4-5th.

IMG_6856 When we arrived at the church in Texas that would be hosting the conferences, we were greeted warmly by the church staff. We learned that they had been waiting for us since 7:30 am. Aaron (in black) told us he had been in our state, Iowa, before … playing football against the Hawkeyes. We laughed as we realized that since Stephen is a photojournalist for our local paper (covering Hawkeyes every year) he has pictures of Aaron stored in his old archives. 🙂

IMG_6870 Soon local Bright Lights leaders and friends began joining our leadership team. Yet again, the Lord provided a team of leaders who were united, loved Christ, and were passionate to make Him known. Only the Lord can pull together such a group.

IMG_6910 A couple hours before the conference began, we had an exciting arrival! 🙂 (We did a “quick print” of these Will Our Generation Speak? study guides to have a box for conferences.) They will be available on our online store soon.

IMG_6918 When all the girls are there, it really hits what a responsibility and privilege it is to be speaking into their lives. We’re also vividly aware of the need for much PRAYER, as only the Lord can touch these hearts.

IMG_6925 While the girls are in small groups, my mom leads a prayer time with the moms, praying for the conference and their daughters.

IMG_6922Abby and Ana, perplexed that the coffee peculator was making so much noise in the back of the moms prayer time. I’m always pleased when I can be around to document these special behind-the-scenes moments, haha. Ana Skrnich (15) was actually in charge of food for the entire conference week–which meant cooking for 40 of us leaders, two meals a day, as well as doing snacks for the conference. She did a phenomenal job! In fact, I think this is the only time I saw Ana with this perplexed expression. 🙂

IMG_6940 We are THRILLED when dads come with their daughters. Nia (left) shared with me that her dad is a pastor and has been speaking a lot about evangelism recently. She is really excited about witnessing and would like to start a witnessing team. It was sweet to see the sparkle in Nia’s eyes as she spoke of her desire to reach the lost the gospel!

IMG_6960 Making colored “gospel bracelets”

IMG_6976 The girl on my right in this picture has been faithfully spending time in the Word since the Lord convicted her about that two years ago at the last Bright Lights conference in Dallas – praise the Lord! Her mom explained about this to me. How encouraging to see her faithfully following Him!

IMG_6983 During our sharing time afterward, Emily Selander reported that one 9-year-old on her team, Taylor, trusted Christ for salvation. I had the privilege of meeting Taylor afterward as well. She was very excited about her decision to follow Jesus! Taylor’s mom told us that they’d had many discussions about what it means to be saved, but apparently it hadn’t clicked with her until that night. Emily shared that Taylor was crying during the chalk talk, obviously very emotional about the decision she had just made. But then Taylor wiped her tears away, sat up, and said, “okay, now I’m just excited!” It was very sweet.

I remembered a text I had received from Mirren Martin earlier that day. She said that her dad prayed for the Bright Lights conference during their family devotions, and that he had prayed for the salvation of unsaved girls. Mirren and Taryn attended that night and it was a joy to send them home with the news that their dad’s prayer had been answered. Praise the Lord!

IMG_6990 Our leadership team

Radiant Purity Conference, Council Bluffs

11402835_863059593742936_7024458104449632151_o Sarah teaching first session of Radiant Purity conference

IMG_6333 God has gifted Nickie with an ability to keep things organized and running smoothly. She does an incredible amount behind the scenes. Please keep praying for her and her family as they miss their dad so much.

1606252_863331817049047_8018328934038395806_o We’ve been blessed to have interpreters doing sign language at our conferences so that some deaf young ladies and parents could attend. They added a sweet and beautiful dimension to the conference. We are also very grateful to Deaf Missions for housing our entire team!

IMG_6340 We’re so glad that Hadassah (left) could “hear” the conference through the interpreters. She was so sweet to get to know.

IMG_6328 Kayla shared a beautiful testimony of God’s healing and redemption in her life. It was encouraging to see many girls impacted by her story.

Many of our leaders shared testimonies of deep struggles, God’s restoration, and the victory they now experience in Him. We’re so grateful to the Lord for the transparency (and discretion) of the godly leaders the Lord has provided to help us run the conferences.

While walking down a hallway, one of our leaders, Emily, mentioned to me how most of the testimonies shared from stage were “redemption stories.” I agreed, and we both thought that was really helpful for the conference. But then I began thinking, You know, every one of us has a redemption story. It may vary in color and dynamics, but none of us are actually “pure” or deserving of a godly marriage. We were all filthy with sin, but have been loved and cleansed and cherished by our Heavenly Prince who has washed us with His blood and is preparing us for the day we stand before Him. In Him we are pure. Without Him we sink in sin—whether the sins are committed or just thought—we’re all unworthy of His blessings, but by His GRACE blessed beyond measure. Just as He redeems us from Hell for eternal life with Him, so it is by His redeeming work in our lives that He makes us fit for godly marriages for His glory.

We cannot stress this too much: Our motivation for purity is not just so we have a good marriage one day, not just for a future husband, but for love of Christ. 1 John 3:3 says “And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”

IMG_6348 As our group of leaders was eating dinner after the purity conference, Tami Kolar (a conference hostess) shared with us how she felt that any girl would feel welcome at the purity conference, no matter what mistakes she had in her past. We were encouraged by her words. This is our desire and prayer.

Strong in the Lord Conference, Council Bluffs

THANK YOU to all who were praying for the conferences in Omaha last week! 🙂 Here are some pictures from the first conference.

IMG_6014 One of our desires is for the Lord to turn the girls’ hearts toward their parents, and the parents to their girls (Malachi 4:6). We have many praises from the conference from how we saw the Lord work.

IMG_5988 Waiting for sessions to begin

11754719_862079490507613_7682440630412753074_o Stephen took this picture while Sarah was telling the answer-to-prayer story about the cat.

IMG_5960 Hannah (right) attended her first conference when she was 12 (Kansas, 2008). This time Hannah was one of our leaders, and her little sister Maggie was a sweet and enthusiastic attendee!

11754462_862191977163031_7246745391049498515_o Hannah shared about confessing hidden sin to her parents. She explained that it was one of the hardest things she’s ever done, but she stressed to the girls how glad she was that she did! “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy” (Proverbs 28:13).

IMG_6030 Like she has done at every other conference thus far, Folly (Bekah) made the wrong choice, didn’t listen to her friend Wisdom (Nickie), and took the broad way that leads to destruction.

IMG_5980 We have no idea how a conference would be possible without Stephen to trouble shoot all of our problems.

IMG_6109-2 The younger girls are very enthusiastic about getting autographs from their leaders.

IMG_6071 This was one happy and energetic small group!

IMG_6101 After the session on witnessing, we sold out of all the “Are You A Good Person?” comic gospel tracts that we had brought. We were disappointed we wouldn’t have them for the Radiant Purity Conference, but we were glad they went so quickly! One of the comments we hear the most from the girls is that they want to be sharing the gospel more. Please pray that they put into practice what they learned! It’s easier to be excited about it in the moment, but much harder to put it into practice.

IMG_6065 We chose a new craft this year: the color bracelet (made with beads) for a tool to share the gospel. We also added three new skits this year and praise God for helping them to be a success even though they were slow in coming!

IMG_6069 Hannah (center) attended our last two conferences in Omaha and now she’s helping as a leader. It’s really special for us to come back years later, seeing how God has continued the work He began in these girls’ lives, and have them join our leadership team!

IMG_6051 We’re so grateful for the wonderful team of leaders the Lord faithfully provides for each conference.

Summer Conferences Beginning

Two days ago, we loaded our 15 passenger van with 15 people and drove to the Omaha area where we’ll be doing Bright Lights conferences this week. We had a great trip, which included meeting a wonderful gas station employee who was on the verge of tears as we shared with her, praise the Lord.

IMG_5893 After we arrived, we stood around the kitchen hearing some more details about how the Lord has been answering many prayers for this conference on this end. The hostesses have been working hard to prepare.

IMG_5900 Our hostesses have also been taking very good care of our team, and have left such sweet little surprises and delicious food! 🙂

IMG_5906 We chose 1 Timothy as our theme book for the summer. I’m very excited about digging into this book more. 🙂 One of the highlights of “living” with about 20 other girls is the nonstop fellowship that is enjoyed.

IMG_5940 Hopefully we’ll just be able to keep track of whose sandals belong to who!

IMG_5917 Unloading the trailer

IMG_5947-2 About 15 more leaders have joined us here, and the “Strong in the Lord Conference” will begin in about six hours. We just had a sweet time of prayer together. Talking to the Lord about the conference does amazing things to prepare our own hearts. Currently I’m sitting in the back of teacher’s training while Bekah is sharing details about small groups.

During our devotional sharing time this morning many had similar thoughts to share. Only what GOD DOES will impact the attendees, and He gives abundant grace to work through us and all our inadequacies. 🙂

We’d really appreciate prayer that the Lord would do amazing things in the lives of girls at this conference. May their eyes be filled with JESUS and the relationship that they can enjoy with Him.

2015 Bright Lights Conferences

Bright Lights Instagram
Image sized for sharing on Instagram

We are grateful to the Lord for all the pieces He has put in place already to run summer Bright Lights conferences! If “Bright Lights” comes into your mind, please pray that the Lord would deeply touch the lives of girls during these conferences! It is our desire to see the Lord turn the hearts of young ladies to seek Him fervently in their youth. Praise God that He is able to do more than we ask or imagine! There will be a Strong in the Lord Conference and Radiant Purity Conference in each location.

If you would like to help spread the word about these conferences on social media, Hannah Sandersfeld put together these images which can be easily shared via Instagram, FaceBook, Pinterest, Twitter, Blogs, Google Plus, etc. (Thanks, Hannah!) She also put together another document with practical ideas for sharing on social media. See that here if you would like.

Note: Click on the above image for instagram or the below image for blogs, etc. The original file will open. Then right click to save it to your computer so you can share it. If anyone would like actual paper flyers [smile] we’d be happy to put some in the mail to you. Just e-mail me and let me know how many you can use!

Bright Lights Image