Category: Bright Lights Conferences

Bright Lights Conferences/Radiant Purity Conferences/Strong in the Lord Conf.

Omaha Bright Lights Conferences

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Last week we “moved in” (literally!) to Kingsway Christian Church and spent the week running two Bright Lights Conferences…

We followed our typical conference schedule:
Monday: Set up
Tuesday Evening and Wednesday: “Strong in the Lord Conference”
Thursday: Rest day
Friday Evening and Saturday: “Radiant Purity Conference”

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Before each conference we spent a few hours in “teacher’s training”, discussion, and prayer. We were excited to see the Lord provide the leaders we needed for the small groups. Many of the leaders who had helped at past conferences were not able to make it this time, but the Lord raised up an awesome new team. About 20 godly older young ladies–outstanding leaders–joined us from over 9 different states. We agreed that this was definately something God brought about.

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Hannah’s small group

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The age range for the Strong in the Lord conference is 8-14.

One of the topics we stress at the “Strong in the Lord Conference” is the importance of reading your Bible daily. The morning after the conference while I was at the home of one of the ladies who hosted the conference for a shower, (all of us leaders sleep at the church and shuttle to homes for showers), I began chatting with Hannah (10 yrs. old), who had attended the conference.
“Did you sleep in this morning?” I asked.
“No, I got up at six,” she said sweetly, “because I was so excited to start my Bible reading plan.”
She went on to tell me what she read and what she had learned. Way to go, Hannah! Keep it up! 🙂

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The skits always keep us laughing, and no matter how much we prepare and organize… it’s still crazy backstage, right girls?!

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“Cowgirl Bekah”, (along with Alexandra), cooked several meals for our staff throughout the week. And as you can see, she doesn’t stop acting when she is offstage. Thanks again, Bekah and Alexandra, for all your patient work in the kitchen — even when the potatoes wouldn’t cook!!

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Having the Wissmann girls join us at the conference was definitely a special treat! Each of their songs and testimonies added a beautiful dimension to the conference. We’re grateful to God for arranging their schedule so that they could come join us.

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The Bright Lights group in Omaha sang a song for us that was written by the mother of one of the girls in their group. We really liked the song, and now we are excited to teach the song to our own Bright Lights group in Cedar Rapids.

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The cool down after the “Strong in the Lord Conference” was refreshing. After a non-stop day, it was wonderful to relax on a beautiful evening and listen to stories and reports from the conference.

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Happy Birthday, Stephen! Stephen has a pretty high-pressure job all week as he keeps the technical side of everything running smoothly. We are also very grateful for the other guys who came along to help with video.
We’ve been trying to get the conferences recorded for years, but there have been countless obstacles. We decided to try–yet again—to tape the conference, but we needed sufficient lighting and good camera men.
A couple weeks ago some good friends, Daniel and Samuel Roberts, contacted us and volunteered to help with video at the conference if we needed it. Of course, we said “yes”, and they drove all the way from Alabama to Nebraska to help. They are experienced camera men and did an excellent job. Combined with the three other young men from our town, Andrew, Issac, and John, we had just the video team we needed.
In addition, the church had great lighting because they used to broadcast their services. Coupled with our own lights we brought, we were able to produce sufficient lighting for the video. The sessions and skits went well, and we think that we actually may have gotten the video footage we need this time!

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On our free day, our team enjoyed some much-needed rest and recuperation which included extra sleep, an afternoon at the park, ultimate Frisbee, a relaxed dinner, birthday dessert for Stephen, and a nice time of singing with instruments in the evening. Yes, it felt wonderful.

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Here is my small group from the Radiant Purity conference! I appreciated their honesty and good insights!

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Sarah is affectionately nicknamed our “fearless leader”… Sarah, what can I say about you?! You definitely have a way of communicating truth to young ladies in a practical, understandable way. Thank you for the difference you’ve made in all of our lives.

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What you don’t see in this picture is the tears in many eyes. As I took this picture, Tami, our wonderful hostess, (in pink) was sharing through tears how clearly she saw the Lord bringing this conference together and how excited she is for what HE is still going to do. Thoughout our whole pizza and sharing time we heard report after report of encouraging ways the Lord worked throughout the week.

In Joshua 24:2-13 we see the Lord reminding Israel of how HE was the One who had really done the work in bringing them into the promised land. Joshua 24:12 says, “And I sent the hornet before you, which drave them out from before you, even the two kings of the Amorites; but not with thy sword, nor with thy bow.”As we reflected over the conference, it was so obvious to us that the LORD fought the battle last week – not us. May HE continually receive all the glory and all the praise from our hearts!

Bright Lights Conferences/Strong in the Lord Conf.

Lansing, Michigan “Strong in the Lord Conference”

The Strong in the Lord Conference here in Lansing, MI, ended tonight. There were about 400 mothers and daughters in attendance. We were encouraged by how everything went, and grateful to God for His faithfulness!

The singing was one of my favorite parts. At this conference we had a grand piano, a guitar, 2 violins and a flute. The moms and girls sang loudly, and it sounded great.


In between each session, we break out into small groups (consisting of about 12-24 girls) for discussion, crafts, and personal sharing time.

Laura has been traveling with our team for years. She is happily married now, and her baby Abigail is 9 months old. It’s a treat to have her joining us again for this conference!

We always enjoy our “debriefing” times!

Tonight the host family we are staying with treated us with raspberries, strawberries, peaches and ice cream. It was great.

Bright Lights Conferences/Radiant Purity Conferences

Kansas City Radiant Purity Conference

“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23

“The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit” 1 Corinthians 7:34


The “Rose Quartz”, my discussion group. (Each group is named after a gem or precious stone.)

    Responses from the last conference:

    “I plan to become the woman that the guy I want to marry wants to marry! I’m going to stop being the girl pushing the line, seeing how far I can go, while still remaining pure. I want to be radiant.” -14 year old attendee
    “I really loved the skits, small groups, and being around other girls who strive to be radiantly pure…I think that I really benefited from the part about waiting for the Lord’s best…I made a commitment to stay pure until marriage and to wait on the Lord.” -13 year old attendee
    “[The mothers session] was an unexpected element that the Lord knew I needed to hear…[the conference was] an encouragement for both of us as we were surrounded by other mothers and daughters desiring to live godly lives. An answer to prayer as the Holy Spirit revealed to me areas in my life that need work!” -Mother

    “I plan to stop thinking about guys all the time and start preparing” -13 year old attendee
    “I plan to teach [what I learned] to other girls so that they can pass it on to others too!!” -13 year old attendee
    “I liked the skits, chalk talk, and knowing that I am not the only one who struggles with guy issues”
    -15 year old attendee

    “We had some really good discussion in the small groups and the skits illustrated the concepts really well. I think the session that applied to me most was the one on crushes” -18 year old attendee

    “I’m not going to worry about boys til I’m old enough to get married.” -14 year old attendee

    “I plan to apply myself to my ministries with a new vigor and to trust God with my future husband…I had already made a commitment to purity, but this conference inspired me to give up my dreams for God’s.” -16 year old attendee

Praise the Lord for the way He was at work in girls’ hearts!


Our “cool down” times are always refreshing. It’s so encouraging to hear stories of how the Lord worked in the other discussion groups. We thought we might not have very many leaders at this conference (and we need to have enough because it’s important to have plenty of “discussion group leaders” at the conference) but God brought together just the perfect team.


What would we do without Stephen and Andrew? They took care of equipment, sound, mics, powerpoint, unloading and reloading trailor, set up, printing nametags, and the list goes on!


One of the highlights for all of us leaders is the fellowship we have with each other during conference trips. Nothing beats the fellowship that comes from “doing ministry together!”


Mary and Tia, two of our youngest and “smiliest” leaders, saying goodbye. After a very long and tiring trip, they’re still smiling! 🙂

Bright Lights Conferences/Strong in the Lord Conf.

Kansas City “Strong in the Lord Conference”


The church here in Kansas City was filled all day yesterday with lots of special young ladies….


Chrissy’s small group


My small group

Sarah and Abigail (who were sick) were totally well and energetic all day yesterday during the conference! In fact, afterwards Sarah said she felt better than she normally does after Strong in the Lord Conferences! The others who were sick (Mary and my parents) are feeling much better now as well.

The conference went great! In our sharing time afterwards, many leaders shared encouraging reports of girls in their small group who accepted Christ as their Savior, girls who changed from “someone who didn’t want to be there” to “someone who didn’t want to leave”, and girls who opened up and shared meaningful testimonies with their small groups. Many made commitments to begin reading their Bibles every day. Thank you to everyone who was praying–we know that “prayer is not preparation for the work, it IS the work!”

Today is our free day, and the Radiant Purity Conference starts tomorrow evening.

Bright Lights Conferences/Strong in the Lord Conf.

Kansas City Bright Lights Conference

Tonight was the first night of the Strong in the Lord conference here in Kansas City, Kansas. It was a “tough-won victory” because Sarah, my dad, my mom, and two girls from our team are all sick (nausea, fever, etc.) They slept most of the day. We were all praying more intensely as we really saw this conference was going to be a struggle to pull off. I asked Sarah if she would give us an advance warning next time she was going to get sick so we could prepare more….[smile]
Thankfully, the Lord gave them all enough strength to get up tonight and be part of the conference. Sarah was able to do all of her session like normal and she did a very good job. Girls and moms have been enthusiastic and responsive. Personally, I’ve been encouraged to see the Lord answer lots of specific prayers—both big and little. He is faithful!


We were thrilled to have 90 people register at the door! 🙂


We arrived yesterday to a host of enthusiastic volunteers who helped us unload really fast! 🙂 The families here who are hosting the conference have done a terrific job and have taken care of so many little details.

Please keep us in your prayers this week. Like our last Bemidji trip, we have a “double conference” planned. (Strong in the Lord conference for younger girls first, and Radiant Purity conference for older girls second.)

Bright Lights Conferences/Radiant Purity Conferences/Strong in the Lord Conf.

Bemidji, Minnesota Trip Overview!

Wow. I have a lot to post about! For now I think I’ll just give you all an overview of our last Bright Lights trip to Bemidji…


Each Bright Lights trip is different and each one has unique memories to go along with it. To split up the journey, the Bjorkmans graciously offered for our whole group to spend the night at their home in Elk River, MN. We walked into their beautiful northern home and were immediately treated to rhubarb cake and homemade ice cream. After that we were introduced to their 3 dogs, cats, hairless rat (seriously, it was kind of cute), and 2 salamanders. We had a fun and entertaining evening with them. [smile]


The next morning, they took us to see their home school resource bookstore Hepner’s Legacy, a friendly little store full of great books and resources. Since we are planning to run something similar with the new building God has provided in our town, we were especially interested. We know the Bjorkmans because we often see them at the state home school conferences where they speak and sell lots of home school books and resources.

We arrived at the church in Bemidji and began setting up Monday afternoon….set up is always a long process.Thankfully, team work makes it go faster!

These girls were brave enough to carry the entire Before You Meet Prince Charming display from one table to another because of a change of plans. I’ll have to say I was impressed.


Registration!


Large Group


Thanks again, Amanda and Kelley, for the great job you did cooking for our staff the entire week!

The Radiant Purity Conference was held Tuesday night and all day Wednesday. We had a break on Thursday and then the Strong in the Lord conference was Friday night and all day Saturday. We really saw the Lord working at both conferences. It was encouraging!


On Thursday, our free day, we went out to a a beautiful lake surrounded by pine trees and enjoyed lots of great food, volleyball, canoing, and sharing from the Word around the campfire with singing and s’mores. As I was out in the middle of the lake dangling my feet out of the canoe into the cool water I was thinking how good the Lord was to give us nice times of rest. [smile]


Not only did Ben grill for us on Thursday, he was in charge of all the food and snacks we served to the attendees for the entire conference! Ben is the husband of Mindy (Berge) Caron, who hosted the conference. We had fun getting to know Ben and Mindy! This is the first time the husband of the host has been in charge of the food for both entire conferences. He did a great job.


I heard many positive comments about the dad’s discussion times. We love having the dads there…it adds such a nice dimension to the conferences! (It also improves the singing [smile])


Clean up Saturday night…here’s Sarah on the riding vacuum cleaner. 🙂


After both conferences were over on Saturday night, we had a pizza/ice cream party and many shared very encouraging reports from conversations they had. It was a memorable and fun time for everyone. We watched a slide show of pictures from the weekend and the Berge family sang for us. I had heard how good they were, but they exceeded my expectations. [smile]

Bright Lights Conferences/Radiant Purity Conferences

Radiant Purity Conference in Bemidji, Minnesota


A sweet and enthusiastic group of moms, dads, and daughters gathered here in Bemidji, MN for a Radiant Purity Conference Tuesday evening and all day Wednesday.
Pictured above are: Merideth Hicks, Julie Hunter and Annika Sahlstrom. Merideth and Annika lead a Bright Lights group together in Tracy, Minnesota.


Here is my discussion group. We had some very good talks about parental relationships, dealing with crushes and thought life, and many other topics. One girl told us how she planned to go home and really work on improving her relationship with her dad. It’s so exciting to see people make decisions like that!


Ben and Mindy Caron, who hosted the conference, agreed to share their courtship story with everyone. It was such a sweet story and Ben’s jokes kept all the girls roaring with laughter. 🙂 We just wish we could bring them with us to every conference….


Many of our normal “Bright Lights staff” girls weren’t able to come, making it difficult for us to arrange the special number we normally sing. But the Lord knows our needs and provided a great alternative! Mindy (who hosted the conference) and her sister Melanie, who are professional vocalists and have made many Bluegrass CDs, sang a special number for everyone. It was perfect–the words of their song fit so well with the message of the conference. Very touching!

Please keep us in prayer as we have another conference (a Strong in the Lord conference) beginning this evening.