Recent Special Provisions

As we were gearing up to open our store, it has been encouraging to see God answer prayer and provide. Here are two of those ways:

IMG_6204 Kelly, a good friend from Minnesota, volunteered at the Bright Lights office for several weeks in October and November. She spent hours entering our expanding bookstore inventory into our computer sales software. We didn’t realize what a huge job this was going to be. Kelly “happened” to be here exactly at the time we needed it done.

IMG_6226 How are we going to find furniture for the bookstore?? we wondered. I dreamed of a comfy beige leather couch, but after looking at a few price tags, I knew we’d never buy one. But actually, I did know how we would get furniture. Just the same way we got everything else–on our knees. So we took this need to the Lord.
A couple weeks ago when friends at church asked me how the bookstore was coming along, I mentioned the current need for furniture.
“I need to talk to your dad about that,” a friend, Carlos, replied.
The next day we picked up this beautiful couch from Carlos’ storage unit. Free. And it’s beige and leather… just what I had hoped for. And it matches perfectly with the color of the walls. Carlos also gave us two chairs and some end tables. Wow! Another encouraging reminder that it’s always worth it to wait for the Lord’s provision!

“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19

Today Something New Happened….

IMG_7647 Unlocking the front door.

We opened the bookstore in the front of the Bright Lights office. It’s still “sinking in” that we are now running a commercial store!

IMG_7655 Starting our first day with prayer

IMG_7658 First costumer receiving a free book

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IMG_7651 “Can you believe we are actually opening a store tomorrow?” Stephen asked me last night.
“Not Really”

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Thanks to the Lord’s provision, we were able to open this store on black Friday “in the black”. There are DOZENS of stories I’d love to share with you (and probably will eventually!) of how the Lord provided for us to purchase this building debt-free and how He has provided for the interior furnishings at every turn. And, of course, we are grateful to over 115 friends from our area who helped with the remodeling/moving, etc.

See here for pictures of what the building looked like before.

We still have many things to complete and add (permanent outside sign, more shelving and inventory, furniture, etc.) but we’re grateful we’ve finally reached an “opening point”. And we know that He who has been faithful thus far will complete His will in His time! 🙂

Update!

We are still alive and doing well here at the Bright Lights office. Sarah Smith and Abby Kramer joined us a few weeks ago.

IMG_5706_01Sarah and Abby

IMG_5710_01 Nickie, Abby, Sarah

There are always so many different things going on around here, it’s hard to give an accurate report!
Some of you may be wondering what we do here at the Bright Lights office, so I’ll give you a vague outline. Every morning, Sarah and my dad and I have been working on writing projects. During that time, the “interns”, Sarah K and Abby, have been doing various studies that Sarah has outlined for them.
After lunch, we focus more on office details. This includes e-mails and correspondence, planning and scheduling, and processing and shipping orders. These things take a lot of time, so we are very grateful for the help from our interns (and Nickie, of course 🙂 ).
The bookstore we are setting up in the front area of the Bright Lights office has also been an exciting and challenging adventure. Lots of progress has been made, but there is a lot more to do. There are so many decisions to make and items to purchase–and this is all so new to us–so we are sort of operating by going from one answered prayer to the next. 🙂 We are hoping to open in about a month.
Other recent projects have included working the Bright Lights CD and songbook, several encouraging times of witnessing together, and a Desktop Publishing class taught by Stephen.

Speedy Moving Day!

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We couldn’t believe how fast everything was moved today — thanks to so many energetic friends who came to help!! We were suprised when we finished around 11:30am!

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Lunch

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Here is the little desk Stephen was using when he rented a drawer to Sarah. (You may remember the story if you’ve read our book.) Today it went to a new home.

Bright Lights Office Moving…..

The new Bright Lights office / ministry building is now finished and was approved by the city inspector last week! We are now in the process of moving!
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Packing up the “old house” where the Bright Lights office has been….

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Sarah and Nickie

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This is only one of the 3 basement rooms. I can’t tell you how grateful we are to the Lord for SPACE! This room will be our packing orders / work room. The other rooms are for our warehouse and storage. Upstairs is office space. More pictures to come.

Today, Sarah, Stephen, and I (plus a few others who stopped by and helped – Tracy, Carlos and my grandpa) spent most of the day at the building organizing and cleaning, moving things around, consolidating, sorting, and preparing for our the big moving day we have planned for tomorrow. We finally finished late tonight and crashed at Pancheros. Yum.

Reports from Home

We are making progress on the new Bright Lights office / ministry building! Changes have been slow because it keeps getting put “on hold” while we are out of town, but we have seen the Lord provide and answer prayer in countless ways. Here’s what it looks like right now.


We are excited about our carpet tiles, which will be installed soon!


No, it’s not a big pizza party…


We’re so grateful for our good friend, Dave Fuller, who will be laying our carpet.


Here’s Toni (one of our most faithful helpers 🙂 ) sanding the floor after we hammered down hundreds of staples that were left from the previous carpet and tile.


Stephen and my dad, fixing pipes.


The other day Stephen installed 30 outlets and light switches.

After arriving home from Singapore, we were grateful for chance to catch up with correspondence, organization, sleep, etc. To be honest, we’re still not caught up with everything that got neglected during the busy summer and fall. We’re grateful for the help of many who volunteer for Bright Lights, especially Nickie, who spends two days a week at the Bright Lights office–otherwise it would be difficult to stay on top of things.

We were excited to receive 10 Bright Lights Leaders applications when we arrived home from SE Asia–raising the number of Bright Lights groups to 277. Two more groups have also recently started in Malaysia. PTL!

At our local Bright Lights group here in Cedar Rapids last week, the older girls watched a “Rebelution” video upstairs while Sarah taught a lesson to the younger girls about “by their fruits ye shall know them.” She talked about the importance of bearing true fruit with a desire to please the Lord, not impress other people. Sarah did an activity where she had volunteers close their eyes and guess what kind of fruit they were tasting.


Her volunteers don’t look too excited…. lol… (Sarah used some rather unusual fruits)


But it was sure funny for everyone else!


On a more personal note…here I am with my cousin making supper at our grandparents’ house. Stephanie and I have quite a bit in common, and unfortunately that includes being messy cooks. (It got worse than what you see here…) By the time we were finished, my grandpa commented that in the 40 some years he’s lived there, he had never seen his kitchen so messy. We assured him we’d clean up. 🙂

Painting the Basement

We had a little painting party at the ministry building last night. We got a significant amount done, thanks to a great team! 🙂


Nickie and Toni


Chrissy


Karen and Supriya

We have a great place to buy paint. “Weber Paint” is the store right next to us, and we’ve enjoyed becoming friends with our new neighbors. They gave us a big discount and even came over to help us decide what color to paint. It’s nice to have good neighbors.