After the conference was over we ate dinner at a local food area near where we are staying. It started to rain really hard so we stayed there for a while eating and listening to stories. My dad shared about a talk he had with some Jewish buisness men in the Tokyo airport. (He share with them some thoughts about Jesus and salvation from Romans 4 and they responded with great interest.) Dani also shared about a good talk she had about the Lord with a man from California on the airplane.
After about 20 hours in the air we arrived in Singapore about 1am this morning.Here is our team this year… (Miraculously, I got them all to look and smile at the same time)
Left to right: Chrissy, Danielle, Chelsea, and Nickie. In the front are Sarah and my parents.
Stephen stayed home to hold down the fort.
Tonight we ate dinner with several of the families we’ve become friends with the last two years we were here. It was a very nice time. We are looking forward to what the Lord is going to do here in this next month!
I wanted to post one last group picture of the girls we spent most of our time with while we were in Singapore and Malaysia last month. They are all wonderful, sweet girls who love the Lord and have a heart for discipleship. Please pray for them as they are “pioneer” homeschoolers in Southeast Asia. Many younger girls are looking up to them and following their example. (I miss you all 🙂 )
I think different cultures are fascinating! One thing that especially distinguishes Singapore is their food. While we were in Singapore and Malaysia, our Asian friends did a great job of introducing us to all kinds of new foods. (Real Asian food…not the kind you get at American Chinese Buffets) They told us that eating was Singapore’s national pastime. We had a lot of fun eating. 🙂
Sarah and my Dad eating Indian food
During our Bright Lights Leaders Training, an Indian man came and cooked for us a fancy Indian meal. We ate it the “authentic” way using banana leaves as plates and eating with our hands. We all agreed it was very delicious.
One evening my mom announced, “There is a special surprise waiting for us downstairs!”
“Oh great” Stephen said, “I already know what it is—I can smell it”
For those of you who have never heard of durian, you are missing out! It is a fruit that is so prickly you can hardly touch it, that smells so bad (or rather so strong ) that it’s not allowed on the subways, buses or other public transportation, and the taste? Well, that is the big debate.
Some say it tastes like “rotten onions and garlic” and some say “ice cream and custard”. Personally, I think it tastes great. Stephen thinks it was made for monkeys to eat – not people. Anyway, it’s a good representation of God’s sense of humor and creativity. It also provides good entertainment for the Asians over there as they watch Americans try it for the first time. (Many have quite violent reactions and spit it out. 🙂 )
Thank you to everyone who was praying for us! We saw the Lord answer many prayers, and work out countless details. So many things that could have gone wrong didn’t. Many things that we were hoping for happened. Sarah and I, plus the 4 American girls who came along with us saw the Lord work in mighty ways as we “labored together” with the Asian young ladies throughout the 3 conferences. There was a real spirit of “one accord”, which is a rare and powerful thing. Many bright lights shining in one accord is a lot brighter then just one bright light shining alone!
During the 18 days we were in Singapore and Malaysia we ran 3 Bright Lights conferences.
The first conference was running simultaneously with the 3 day family homeschool conference in Meleka, Malaysia. We had about 90 girls attending and 20 older girls helping us by leading the small groups.
Conference Number 2: Leader’s Training
This conference was much different. It was focused on teaching these older girls about discipleship, ministry, and staring Bright Lights groups in their areas. As I wrote in an earlier post, we stayed together in the Chalet, ate all our meals together and had lots of nice times together.
Conference Number 3: In conclusion to the Leader’s Training, we all led the Strong in the Lord conference together at a church in Singapore. This conference went very well, although it was not pulled off without struggle. I had the stomach flu that day, and others were sick as well. One of the rooms in the church became the “sick room” where those that weren’t feeling well could lay down throughout the day. The Lord was faithful to provide the needed strength at the needed times and the conference was a big sucess.
The day before we left we went to the beach for a retreat with a Bright Lights group that has been meeting in Singapore for about 6 months. After some fun activities in the morning and lunch, we arranged some time for individual Bible study, group sharing, and one on one sharing time. It was a very nice last day.
This morning I woke up at 1:00am, my mom woke up at 2:00am, Sarah woke up at 2:30, and Stephen woke up at 4:30… yeah… our sleeping schedule is a little messed up right now. Looking on the bright side, the middle of the night is a great time to get stuff done! I got my whole room unpacked and organized. My mom organized the garage. 🙂
We arrived back home in Cedar Rapids about 3 hours ago!
As we were sitting in row 66 at the very back of the plane eating “dinner”, the flight stewardess came by and served us coffee. Just as we were beginning to sip our full little cups of coffee, we felt the plane began to swerve and jolt. (Perfect timing I thought) The turbulence increased and became pretty intense—like a roller coaster—causing the coffee to fly up out of our cups and all over us and our clothes. We all began laughing and yes, we had many coffee stains on our clothes.
It feels great to be back home, and we’re very grateful for the Lord’s protection and guidance all along the way. More reports and pictures coming soon.
Here we are singing yesterday at the Bright Lights “Strong in the Lord Conference” in Singapore! The girls who had been attending the Bright Lights Leader’s Training served as the leaders of the small groups. They were an excellent team.
The conference went great, and once again we were encouraged to see the Lord work.
Nickie Biegler, Jolynn and Eunice about ready to go on stage for a skit
Our tradition in the States is to have pizza after Bright Lights conferences, so it was fun to have a change and go out for “Hong Kong Dim Sum” instead. 🙂
This Tuesday-Friday Sarah has been teaching a Bright Lights Leaders Training in this “holiday chalet” by the beach in Singapore. We are grateful to the Lord for this peaceful, quiet location to come away and focus on God and ministry preparation.
I am sitting here in a large warm room with a breeze blowing through the open windows… listening to Sarah teach these girls how to begin their own Bright Lights groups in their areas. We are very excited about more Bright Lights groups beginning on this side of the world! Ongoing groups led by local girls are effective because they provide continual discipleship, follow-up, fellowship and positive peer pressure…and young girls gain so much from having a godly role model in their life.
The other night as we were walking across the Changi boardwalk to some resturants we were able to watch this beautiful sunset.
Yesterday several mothers prepared a special tea party for our group.
We have about 13 girls from Singapore, 4 from Malaysia, 1 from Indonesia, and 2 from Hong Kong. And yes, they all speak English. 🙂 We’ve had a lot of fun learning about each other’s cultures, foods, imitating each other’s accents, singing numerous national anthems, etc. But most of all, it’s exciting to spend time with sisters in Christ on the other side of the world who love the Lord and are similar to us in so many ways.
I haven’t been able to get online very easily where I’m staying right now, but I have many more pictures I’ll post later. Thank you to all of you who are praying for us.
This Saturday we are doing a Bright Lights “Strong in the Lord” conference here in Singapore. I believe we have about 200 mothers/daughters registered. The following Tuesday we fly home.