Singapore Radiant Purity Conference


…Our last conference here in Singapore and Malaysia! The conference went smooth (PTL!), and we were encouraged by the response of the attendees. The whole idea of an alternative to dating was new to many.


These are the girls in my discussion group. We discussed many topics such as the importance of saving your whole heart for one man, how to keep your mind pure, accepting the way God created you, honoring/communicating with parents, modesty, how to deal with crushes in the right way, etc.


We all enjoyed a time of sharing Saturday evening after the conference. Each leader shared encouraging reports from the discussional group she led. And, of course, we had many laughs…


We are so grateful for our “team” in SE Asia. Pictured above are some of the girls (and moms) who helped lead the conferences this year. It’s not possible to do Bright Lights conferneces without young ladies to lead the small group times, but God provided this team of godly young ladies in SE Asia who filled this role. They rose to each challenge that was thrown at them and did a wonderful job.

Guess what? We are HOME now! It feels wonderful. More reports and pictures from the trip coming soon!

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! 🙂

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]

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.

3 Bright Lights Conferences in Ohio and Michigan

Wow – I didn’t mean to go for almost a whole month without posting! I’ll try not to let that happen again!
This past month our family has been pretty consumed with conferences… the preparation and packing the week before, the 11 day trip itself, and the week of “catch up” after we got home.

We took our team of “Bright Lights Staff” and did 3 conferences in Ohio and Michigan. It was a very exciting trip for everyone. We also all got very worn out! Most of all we were very grateful to see the Lord’s hand at work. At every conference I am reminded how God is the One who does the work. I love the way Paul states this in 1 Corinthians 4:7. “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves…” For all of you who have been praying for us, thank you very much!

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Wendy, Kim, Ann Marie, and Chrissy are ready for the first attendees to arrive at our registration table

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We did our “Strong in the Lord Conference” Friday night and Saturday, and then our “Radiant Purity Conference” Monday night and Tuesday at the same church in Ohio. It worked out wonderfully, and it was great not to have to tear down and set up again at a different church. Our group of girls stayed in one of the church’s large downstairs rooms for 8 consecutive nights! Yes, the room did get a little messy…
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…but we all had a good time and we were very grateful for the church’s hospitality.
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Here is a picture of our “Counselor Skit” that we do at the Radiant Purity conference. Although each of the distressed patients appear very different, the counselor explains to them that they all actually have the same problem. But I better not give away any other details. 🙂

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After hearing the same jokes over and over again at the conferneces, they don’t seem very funny to us anymore. We’ve decided it’s a lot more enjoyable to watch the audience. 🙂

Radiant Purity Conference in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

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We were blessed by the positive responses we received from these sweet girls who desire God’s best. Thank you to all of you who were praying. Here are a few responses I thought were especially encouraging:

“I plan to improve and prune some things in my life that I don’t feel are edifying to my walk with Christ.” -14 year old attendee
“I am planning to take what I have learned and apply it visibly, especially at school, and not conform to the world’s standards.” -16 year old attendee
“I like the small groups and being around other people who wanted to be pure!” -14 year old attendee
“I want to keep my commitments and communicate with my parents about my struggles and emotions” -14 year old attendee
“I committed to dress modestly and to wait for the Lord’s best” -13 year old attendee
“I liked the testimonies given by young women who knew what we were going through and to whom we could relate. I’ve really just been encouraged to wait on the Lord and not be anxious about anything but to trust Him for my future. I benefited the most from the session on living by faith, not fear. I submitted my will and desires to the Lord…” -16 year old attendee
“I really enjoyed the conference while it lasted, but I wish it would be longer. I loved the skits and the modesty part…you made it clear that God matters the most, and that it matters what’s in the heart and not on the outside.” -12 year old attendee

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The discussion groups were a place for the girls to “vent” their thoughts and questions about the topics presented in large group.

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I don’t know what a Bright Lights conference would be without skits…we have a lot of fun with them. And we definitely keep Stephen busy! He’s kind of like the all-around tech support man that makes the conference happen.

Stephen can figure out how to work anything (I decided it was okay to brag about an older brother 🙂 ) so it makes us feel “secure” having him around (i.e. usually technical difficulties don’t last very long 🙂 ). God knew we really needed someone like that!

Before this conference, Stephen wired together his own phone system using 6 wireless landline phones with headsets for the video crew to use (Before they always used walki-talkis). It’s pretty cool, and we were a little surprised it actually worked. I think Stephen was a little surprised, too.

We have 3 more Radiant Purity Conferences coming up soon in OH and FL. Click here for details.

First Radiant Purity Conference!

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Something very special happened last weekend… Our first-ever Radiant Purity Conference was held in Alexandria, Minnesota! It was for girls 12 and up, and included topics such as modesty, dangers with the dating system, how to handle crushes, learning to delight in the Lord as our Prince, being open with our parents, waiting on the Lord, and having a life purpose bigger than marriage. The conference also included 2 chalk-talks, skits, wedding video clips, singing, discussion groups, and mother’s sessions.

This conference was a dream-come-true for us and many others. It was so exciting to see it all happen and see God’s hand working! Personally, I was challenged, refreshed, and exhausted when it was over.

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We brought about a dozen older girls who are leaders in our Bright Lights group in Cedar Rapids. They led the discussion groups, ran registration, worked at the book table, acted in skits, shared testimonies, led the singing, and helped with set up and tear down. We’ve all learned a lot about how to work together as a team, how to run conferences as smoothly as possible, and how to rely on God’s power.

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Hearing practical testimonies and teaching from real girl’s lives was encouraging to everyone.

I think it’s exciting to share ways we saw the Lord’s hand at work. Here are a few examples:

    – Dan Macy, who hosted the conference, found a large facility in his area that he thought would be perfect for holding a conference. As he began to work with this church, he ran into complications and things just didn’t work out. He expressed to us how it seemed like a death of a vision. Mr. Macy realized that the only way this conference could happen is if someone who attended this church would be willing to host it. He began to pray. One day as he was explaining his idea of a Bright Lights conference to another homeschool father, this father replied, “Well, I go to that church and I’d be willing to help host it and work all the details out for you!” The church facility was beautiful and worked wonderfully.
    – The Lord’s timing was perfect. Since Sarah had just written Before You Meet Prince Charming last year, it was much easier to plan the material and content for this new conference, drawing from the book.
    – Sarah had been secretly praying for 400 attendees. We had 127 register at the door, bring attendance number to 405.
    – Stephen came up with a new nifty computer system for registration at this conference. He got it all set up and trained our registrars. About a half hour before the conference as everyone started coming, the computer system crashed. Let’s just say that is not what we wanted to happen, especially with lots of people registering at the door. But the Lord came through, the computers started working, and registration went smoothly.
    – Video clips, sound, lighting, special effects and PowerPoint all worked even though they got us worried at times!
    – My mom and a good friend Kay Baskerville were teaching the mother’s sessions. As they talked about what to speak on, they found that the Lord had placed the exact same thing on both of their hearts to share with the mothers.

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Laura Sisson, Grace Mally, and Elyssa Ertz in our “Old Fashioned Skit”

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Elyssa Ertz, Laura Sisson and Nickie Biegler in a skit Friday night