Radiant Purity Conference in Rogers, AR

Click here to view GigaPan full screen (recommended). If you attended the conference, make sure to zoom in and find yourself!

More people registered at the door than we expected. We had been praying for many to find out about the confernece, even at the last minute, so this was an answer to prayer.

Karissa, Scarlet, Brittney

Usually each time we set up a conference we wonder, “will we have enough leaders?”, but we rememeber how God has provided in the past and trust Him to do it again. And He does. This time we had terrific group that came together from Minnesota, South Dakota, Iowa, Kansas, Virginia, Indiana, Arkansas, Alabama and Texas to lead the conference! We are very grateful for the effort each of the leaders made to get there.

Thanks to recent hard work from Rachel, Sarah, Nickie and others we now have Radiant Purity Journals to supplement the conference.

During the first session, a tornado warning was issued and the sirons began sounding.

So we evacuated the 370 attendees from the auditorium. Two tornadoes were on the ground nearby and we were directly in the path of one of them. Praise God He kept us all safe.

Some of the rooms sang hymns while they waited for the tornadoes to pass. One girl requested, “I’ll Fly Away.” I don’t know if it was intentional or not, but we sure laughed about it afterward.

After conferences we usually gather in the kitchen late at night because we suddenly seem to get SO hungry… 🙂

Our good friend Augusta (with help from Danielle) made a fantastic Indian meal for all of us one afternoon. Indian food is sooooo good. Thank you again, Augusta!

Packing up the “office” – a room we worked out of throughout the conference to keep everything organized. Organized?! Haha, well, sort of.

This picture was taken about 1:00 AM Saturday night as Stephen and Dad were STILL packing the trailer! Rain was pounding on the roof and it was thundering outside. We have never had rain this hard during and after a conference. Amazingly, this church had an overhead door into their auditorium so that we could back our trailer partly into the building. God sure does a good job of arranging the details. We had many such provisions at this conference. Praise the Lord.

Since we were traveling home on Easter, my dad started a discussion about the resurrection at dinner. Theological discussions when many of us are really tired ends in…well, this time it ended in lots of laughter and some tears (from laughing, that is). I think we made a scene in that restaurant.


Oops.

And to see a nice collection of pictures from Emily’s camera, see her blog here.

Not a shadow can rise, not a cloud in the skies,
But His smile quickly drives it away;
Not a doubt or a fear, not a sigh or a tear,
Can abide while we trust and obey.
-John H Sammis

Radiant Purity Video Conferences!

We are very excited about this new venue available for discipling young ladies, since we know we can do only a limited number of live conferences. Thanks to the help of many good friends, the DVDs of the Radiant Purity Conference are now AVAILABLE for Bright Lights leaders to use to run video conferences in their area. Nickie, Rachel, and Sarah also recently designed a 50-page journal to help girls internalize the message and dig deeper into the Word. The first RP Video Conference took place last month in Michigan.

The next Radiant Purity Video Conference is scheduled for Cambridge, Minnesota (near the Twin Cities) on January 22. If you live in the area and would be interested in attending, click here for details.

Click here for pdf of the above flyer. (Thanks to Nickie for her great job in designing it.)

To learn more about the Radiant Purity Conference, click here.

Final Conference Post!

Below are a few more pictures from our last conference in Duluth 3 weeks ago!

This church began to feel like our home after being there for a week straight!! Since it was right on Lake Superior, the view was beautiful and the air was so fresh. That meant lots of walks around the parking lot… 🙂

Sarah explaining the important principle of the two kinds of purity.

The best part of each conference is seeing the Lord work in girls’ lives. Here is an encouraging e-mail Bekah received from one of the young ladies in her discussion group. (We have permisison to share it.)

“… I went home and told my Mom about an errand I have to run. About 5 years ago, I stole 2 rings from a store and I need to get that right with God, which means admitting to that and compensating for them. I remember how much they were and I’ve calculated tax and added that on, so that’s where I’ll be today…The sermon [at church yesterday] was on idols, well, I don’t have any of those, right? I went home and I’ve started memorizing a list of verses that I found on the heart, a pure heart, a godly heart, a godly woman, a godly wife, and a godly marriage. Now I’m set! Well, I did want to share something with my Mom, something I’d hoarded away-love letters-from guys in the past. I realized those were my idols and I’m de-guying my life!!! We burned them all, and now she knows why my heart was always troubled. Well, we both do. I got rid of an idol that was forcing Jesus out of my heart, and with that gone….There’s only room for Him!!!! I’ve had SO much joy, Bekah, and no one understands, but they will. I’m going to be the brightest light for Him that I can…And a pure one!
P.S. I’m deleting my guy contacts and friends on Facebook. I will not be a “fisher of men”, just the one God intends- and until then, I’m waiting on Him and using my single years for His Glory!”

Special relationships made…

We made a list of some of the little details in which we saw God answering prayer. Here are a few of them:

• When Nickie was printing the name tags for our final Radiant Purity conference in Duluth, she noticed that the supply of pink paper was very low. With only about 2 hours before the conference began we were worried that we might not have enough. But God answered prayer and we had the EXACT number of sheets to print the nametags.

• There were 2 missing items that we really needed to find. After praying about it, we found them both in about 2 minutes!

• We heard many testimonies from small group leaders who had girls with specific needs assigned to their team and they were able to effectively encourage because of common family situations, personal struggles, etc. It was humbling to know that the Lord was guiding and blessing us even in the “regular” tasks of assigning girls to small group teams.

• One leader wanted to talk with a certain girl in her group alone. She prayed about it during the main session, and immediately after the session was over, this girl came and found HER, wanting to talk about questions she had regarding the gospel!

• My dad and Sarah had especially been praying that the Lord would bring 400 people to each Strong in the Lord conference. Including late registration we reached (and exceeded!) that number each time.

These are just a few examples of answered prayer. I wish I could record them all. It is humbling and very exciting to serve a powerful God who works in so many ways–many of which we often don’t even see or recognize!

The last morning my dad took us to watch the sunrise over the lake. What a special conclusion to the week.

As we were watching the sun rise, someone brought up the analogy of waiting for Jesus to return–our true Sunrise. The anticipation and excitement beforehand…the warmth and beauty after…what a clear picture we see, every morning, of that one day coming soon.

“Through the tender mercy of our God, With which the Dayspring (NASB: Sunrise) from on high has visited us; To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, To guide our feet into the way of peace.” (Luke 1:78-79)

Radiant Purity Conference, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

The Radiant Purity Conference in Cedar Rapids (August 13-14th) was definitely an exciting weekend. We were very encouraged by the attendance, the response, and the conclusion of the whole event.

The discussion groups at the Radiant Purity Conference always keep things fresh and interesting. Here was Lilly and Laura’s group.

Here are a few other responses from young ladies:

“I’m going to ask my father again to guard my heart and hold me accountable” -14 yr old

“I am going to memorize Romans 6-8 to replace wrong thoughts” -14 yr old

“I’m going to talk to my parents about crushes and stuff” -14 yr old

“I made a commitment not to kiss before marriage” -17 yr old

One thing that excites us most is to see the older girls and moms become interested in starting their own Bright Lights groups when they go home.

Chelsy and Tia’s Group

Here was our “cool down” and sharing time — where we enjoyed good food, relaxing, and hearing encouraging reports about how the Lord was working in all the other small groups. Lots of joy and laughter. But the relaxing didn’t last too long because soon it was time for…

Clean up!! After a week of conferences in the same church, there was lots of cleaning, organizing and packing to do as we prepared to leave the next morning for Duluth….! (Big thanks to the Bieglers and Martinezes for all your help!) Here Tia and Lilly are packing up the booktable.

Rachel and Abby. (In case you haven’t noticed, we are always completely serious after conferences are over…)

…especially Stephen. 🙂

Check back soon for more reports from the Duluth, MN Conferences!

2009: A Year in Review

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Bright Lights Conference at Creation Museum

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The Bright Lights conference at the Creation Museum was a climax to our recent Bright Lights conference trip.

IMG_5159_2 Our team of leaders, taking advantage of the beautiful picturesque grounds.

Below are a few examples of ways we saw God working and answering prayer at this conference.

-Just a week and a half previously, a man designed and donated a Bright Lights registration sign (as seen in the registration pictures on the slide show) and delivered it to us at our conferences in Virginia. It was a wonderful addition to our registration booth outside the museum. God provided at just the right time. My dad says you might call it a “sign from God.” 🙂

-A family from Wisconsin planned a week long family trip many months ago to Ohio, intending to spend several days of that week at the Creation Museum. The mother had also wanted to come to a Bright Lights Conference sometime but had not been able to work it out to come to any previous conferences. This mother told us that she began praying that a Bright Lights Conference would be planned somewhere within driving distance of the museum during that same week since they had that time available. A few days before they left, she checked our website and found that there would be a Bright Lights Conference right at the museum itself the first day they were there!

-The weather was beautiful, allowing us to do the small groups in the outside gardens and pavilions.

-Our whole team of leaders stayed at a guest house on the museum grounds. A few museum volunteers who were staying in the same location decided to get up at 5 AM to make a pancake breakfast for our entire staff. This was completely unexpected and very much appreciated!

-Although unexpected complications could have developed from running a conference at a location where there’s already so much going on, the whole day went smoothly. From registration, to the main sessions, to the small groups outside, everything stayed on schedule, and there was an enthusiastic spirit among everyone.

-One mother gave four extra planetarium tickets to Nickie, asking her to pass them on to anyone who could use them. Praying that God would direct her to the right family, Nickie approached a mom with two daughters in the main hall and offered them the free tickets. They joyfully thanked her, and as they were walking away the mom said to the smiling little girl, “See? God gave you the desire of your heart!”

-Many girls indicated on their response forms that they made commitments to spend time in God’s Word every day, to honor their parents, to keep a clear conscience, to minister to their brothers and sisters, to keep themselves pure from polluting influences, and to be strong for the Lord in their youth.

“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

Ohio Conferences!

116I1839 In Ohio we did the same schedule conference as Virginia. Strong in the Lord Conference, free day, Radiant Purity Conference. It was a great week! Everyone had their “tired moments” but the Lord’s grace is always sufficient and we were all excited to see how open and responsive the girls were to the lessons we were teaching.

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IMG_5041_3Attendees

301W0857Leaders

God brought together an incredible group of leaders who persevered though all the early mornings, new pressures and responsibilities, long hours on the road, and being with people day-in and day-out. They kept serving sacrificially and cheerfully, and were a great example to me of Christ’s character. Our times of sharing from the Word and praying together were a highlight for everyone. Even though many hadn’t known each other previously, there was a special fellowship and unity in the group. True fellowship takes place when you are serving the Lord, side-by-side, and encouraging each other even when the going gets rough.

IMG_4974My brother Stephen is a very alert person. Always aware of his surroundings, he notices details other people don’t notice. He stays on top of all the “behind the scenes” technical elements of running the conferences. Projectors, lapel mics, speakers, sound mixer, lights, video equipment, computers, printers, scanners, you name it… Stephen seems to instinctively know how everything works and goes the extra mile to pursue excellence.

8-23-01_2 copy Daniel and Stephen can fix just about anything, and they had lots of opportunities to put their mechanical skills into practice (i.e. we are good at breaking things).

And by the way, thank you to those of you who were praying for the video! We haven’t viewed it yet, but we think we were able to get some good footage.

IMG_4824 Singing with our staff on our free day

IMG_5020 We also had a great game of Ultimate Frisbee game on our free day

Radiant Purity Conference, Bristol, Virginia

IMG_4589 The Radiant Purity Conference in Bristol, VA. The girls were very responsive and soaked up the lessons like a sponge.

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What would a conference be without skits?
No hectic moments backstage, no missing ques and come-ins, no messy bins of skit props, and no bloopers to laugh about afterward…

va09_rp_18In our “modesty panel,” we share lots of tips on how to put together modest outfits.

va09_rp_17Here’s a true “behind the scenes” picture… Since Daniel recently edited the DVDs of the Radiant Purity Conference we did in Omaha last April, Sarah recommended we watch the skits as a “refresher” to help us with our acting. We are excited about our new DVDs… 🙂

IMG_4349_2We’re so grateful to Lindsay, Sarah and Loren who spent many hours in the church kitchen providing healthy meals for all of us (on top of all their other responsibilities and the hectic conference schedule). You may notice the large stack of Grandma cookies; we bought those for snacks for the conference attendees and…*smile*… we found we had a few too many. So let me just warn you, if you see any of our staff in the next few weeks, don’t offer them a “Grandma cookie”.

IMG_4491 One morning while we were in Virginia, we were able to meet up with a lady who has been in contact with us regarding translating Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends into Bulgarian. It was exciting to hear stories about what the Lord is doing in Bulgarian families! She showed us one of their most recent projects– a Bulgarian translation of The True Story of Noah’s Ark.

IMG_4638 After both conferences in Virginia were over, we, along with several of the families who helped to host the conferences, sat around eating pizza and listening to testimonies and stories from the week. It was a very special time for everyone with lots of laughter and tears.

IMG_4703After our time of sharing, the guys packed the trailer…

Untitled-1 copy…while the girls cleaned the church. Hannah (left) a former Bright Lights intern, is the one who hosted the conferences in Bristol. Thanks again, Hannah, for your initiative and all your hard work! 🙂

IMG_4712After all the work was done Saturday night, we gathered around the piano and sang. It takes a while to wind down from the excitement of a conference and singing praises to the Lord was a great way to conclude the week.

“O give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever…He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions. Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing.” Psalm 107:1, 20-22

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!

Upcoming Bright Lights Conferences in Omaha!

We are excited to announce our next Strong in the Lord and Radiant Purity Conferences scheduled for April 14-18th — only 3 weeks away!

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Click here to view flyer / registration form.

See our schedule page for more info.

To see pictures and reports from previous conferences, click here or here! If you can’t make it to the conference, we’d so appreciate it if you would keep us–and the attendees–in your prayers!