Kangaroos Interfere with Bright Lights Conferences

Savannah and her mom got up in the middle of the night to begin traveling to Lilydale, Victoria, where the Bright Lights conferences were being held. They knew they had a very long drive ahead of them. Unfortunately they had some obstacles to navigate around: kangaroos jumping in the road. They explained to me how one kangaroo was actually jumping along in front of their vehicle, keeping them from going the usual speed. Eventually they decided to pull off onto the side of the road for a while to wait for the kangaroos to clear.

On Thursday Sarah taught a Leader’s Training. We were so excited that forty-four girls and moms came. We were even more excited that many of them are seriously interested in beginning a Bright Lights group!

On Friday and Saturday we ran the Radiant Purity conference, and then on Monday we taught the Strong in the Lord conference.

Brownie lost his head during the Brownie skit. “Brownie, hold yourself together!” Cowgirl Bekah exclaimed while handing his head back to him–er–her. [smile]

I think we all agreed Jolynn was pretty funny as the “day-dreamer” in the CBN News Report skit during the purity conference.

There were many priceless moments during the conferences in Australia. Hard moments to capture on a blog … most happened during individual one-to-one interactions and during small group times. Australians have much less opportunity to attend live conferences like this, and many came from long distances.

Our prayer is that the seeds of God’s Word that were sown in girls’ hearts will continue to bear fruit and grow, affecting all of Australia and beyond. We know that as individuals make decisions to deny themselves and follow Christ, their influence affects many more.

After the Radiant Purity conference one girl told Sarah that her life had been changed. She is planning to end a relationship that she knows is not God’s will, to live for the Lord now, and also to begin a Bright Lights group with her mom!

Grace Wong giving final announcements as we concluded the Radiant Purity Conference. Grace has been leading a Bright Lights group in Australia for a couple years now, and she and her family were the main ones who organized and hosted the conferences. She did an excellent job, and we are so grateful for the hard work she and her family put into this. So many others also sacrificed to help in big ways.

Our team of leaders who helped us lead the conferences. We snapped this picture Saturday night after we were all tired out and about ready to start saying goodbye. Just like He does in every country, the Lord brought together a beautiful team of leaders who love Him and display it in their lives. It is so special to go to a “far away land” and yet be right at home with sisters who are so like-minded.

Besides for the three conferences, we also had some opportunities to enjoy Australia. The trees and animals in Australia are so different. It was really fun to wake up to unique bird calls. After feeding this bird, Jolynn ran into a little unforeseen problem. “Um…How do I tell the bird I want it to go now?”

Tuesday evening was a highlight for all of us as we went to the Langford’s house for dinner and had a really special evening. The delicious meal got even better when the kangaroos started hopping out. Talk about dinner entertainment – watching real kangaroos in the wild!

Though difficult to see in this picture, there were dozens of kangaroos hopping around out there.

I still have a lot to post so I will be putting up more pictures and reports soon.

Singapore Bright Lights Conferences

Singapore Conferences!

Mr. and Mrs. Maxwell B Vanderbon have taken on … um … a new look look for these overseas conferences. Dani has definitely exceeded what I thought a girl could do playing Mr. Maxwell.

The good thing was that I could actually get this dress zipped up. When we do overseas conferences we ask local people to help find skit props. Some Asian people are kind of … um, small! [smile]

Small groups!

This picture is of Reena (in white), a 26-yr old girl who is now engaged, sharing with my small group about how the Lord had changed her thinking in the area of purity and relationships. The girls loved hearing her share, and it was really a provision from the Lord to have her with us!

Dads praying for their daughters

Moms praying for their daughters

“Cool down” time with staff and those who had helped to host the conference, sharing stories.

Eating pizza and ice cream with flavors we don’t get in the States…red bean, durian, jackfruit …

This is something else we were eating that I’m going to miss! … it’s a soft bean curd desert with a sweet syrup-like sauce.

There is so much more to share, I feel that this is a very inadequate representation of the Singapore conferences. Right now we are in Australia. It has been an extremely full week and blogging hasn’t been top priority, but I will definitely be posting more reports soon. Sarah and Nickie are packing suitcases now as I write this. We’ll be leaving tomorrow morning to fly home.

It doesn’t feel like Christmas yet, especially since I have a sunburn! We’ve had an amazing trip, and we are going home to snowy Iowa for Christmas with full hearts of gratefulness and awesome memories. More reports coming soon.

Pray for Congo Bright Lights Group!

We have been continually blessed and encouraged as we hear reports from what God is doing in the Congo Bright Lights group. They’ve been doing a great job updating their blog.

I love the passion and vision they have for God to do a mighty work among the young ladies there! Thankfully, we can be part of that work as well through prayer.

The leaders of the group — Anna (left) and Maaike (right) recording the Bright Lights Leaders Training in the native language. As Maaike writes…

…we decided to record the basics of a Leader’s Training on CDs/cassettes (whichever is most practical in the end). The Leader’s Training is a mix of our brainstorming and experience and some of Sarah Mally’s resources . Our vision is to see young women of God rise up here in Isiro to lead groups to know Jesus. Our task is to equip, encourage, and enable them as much as we can. Since Anna’s planning on leaving this year for school, and our term will be over in a year or so, we’re painfully aware that each day is precious. Please pray that God would give not just us, but the girls a passion and burden to see change in this town, in this country, in this continent. When the girls have burning, holy hearts, only God can know what doors can and will be opened for them! Anna and I are still amazed – totally! – at how far Jesus has brought us. What will He do through them? We can’t wait to find out!

Not only did they record it, but in the beginning of June they taught a live Leaders Training to the older girls. As Maaike writes…

There is an African proverb that keeps ringing in my head. It says,

“If you want to go fast, go alone.

If you want to go far, go together.”

Lord willing, the Bana Basi ya Kopela group wants to go far. So we must go together, even if that means slowing down and taking time to learn to walk together. Ever since the beginning of Bana Basi ya Kopela, the burden on our hearts has been to have the girls here become leaders and take over. Anna is planning on going to university in September, and our family will eventually leave Congo, so it is crucial that other girls step up… Many months ago, I wrote in my journal, “If ever a girl comes to me asking if she can be a leader, I would cry, ‘YES, a thousand times yes!!’” …As Amy Carmichael put it, this work is a “chance to die”. Pray that they will have a wholehearted desire to lay down their lives to that extent, beginning in June when we will have a highly intensive training course of an average of four afternoons a week….

I believe this is a crucial time to pray for these “bright lights” in Congo as they recently finished the leader’s training and how it comes to the actual “putting it into practice” stage. I’m sure Satan would love to stop the work Maaike and Anna have been doing. We need to be praying that the older girls they have taught continue to be strengthened to carry on the work when they leave.

Please also join us in praying for more international Bright Lights groups. So far, groups have started in India, New Zealand, Australia, New Guinea, China, Singapore, and Malaysia. A few moms in Scotland are also using the material, and a young lady in Peru has been using and translating the Bright Lights lessons as well. We are so grateful for these groups, but we know the need for discipleship is great all over the world. We need to pray for laborers.

Maybe many of the young ladies who are in Bright Lights groups here in the states will one day be on the mission field and can begin their own Bright Lights groups at that time! 🙂

All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, O Lord; and shall glorify thy name. For Thou art great, and doest wondrous things: thou art God alone.” (Psalm 86:9-10)