The conference started out with a typical array of complications, beginning at home … one of which was our dying printer. Of course it would stop working just when we had tons to print for the conference. My dad developed a little rhythm and when he’d hit the printer just right it would start working again for a while (our superb IT skills when Stephen’s not around). We are thankful that it worked just long enough to finish printing what we needed. (And we are thankful that Stephen purchased a new printer for us now.)
Setting up Thursday night in Hudson, especially grateful that Anna Kirk was able to fly in from Washington state for the weekend to help and teach a break-out session.
The day of the conference we awoke to beautiful big snowflakes which we enjoyed with coffee, soft music, and our Bibles in the comfortable home where we were staying … what a peaceful start to a conference day for the team we brought from Iowa to help lead the conference.
A couple hours later, we enjoyed a sharing time from the Word and prayer meeting with the local Bright Lights leaders and moms who hosted the conference. What a highlight to hear each others’ hearts and be so united in spirit, even though many of us had never met before.
The girls and moms in this picture (beside our team) are from a Bright Lights group that was originally started by Katelyn Lowery in 2012. After a few years, Katelyn passed it on to her sister, who then passed it on to a selection of five or six older teenage girls from within the group. These older girls led the group together for a while and then decided to split into three different groups. These groups have continue to grow, and we rejoice to see the prayer that has been going into this ministry, and the fruit coming out of it. They all did a wonderful job hosting the conference.
Leaders and helpers from the local Bright Lights groups greeting conference attendees
The weather was very windy and cold as the conference was beginning!
Of course this made it feel so much more cozy and cheery inside! Here local Bright Lights leaders are distributing name tags and conference journals.
The local Bright Lights group shared with us weeks ago about specific request they were praying for this conference. We’re so grateful for their labor of love through prayer.
I think one of the reasons it’s encouraging is because the girls can look around and see, “Wow–I’m not the only girl left on this earth who is seeking to live as a godly woman.” Others are building their lives on the foundation of Jesus and His Word and living it out, and we are in this together.
I’m delighted to announce that Nickie, who always prefers to be behind the scenes, is not only on the cover of Sarah’s new book, her picture is now on the first-ever Bright Lights poster! You see, a few months ago a girl requested that we make a poster similar to the cover of Sarah’s book so that she could have a continual reminder on her wall to “speak truth in her heart.” We received these posters back from the printer just in time for the conference. (Maybe at our next conference we will have life-size cardboard cut-outs of Nickie for sale. 🙂 )
There were a number of girls at this conference who had come to the Testify witnessing training camp a few months ago in August. It was very special to connect again.
Current leaders of the local Bright Lights groups in Hudson (and little sisters – invaluable 😀 )
After the conference ended we had an upbeat cool down time, sharing stories and rejoicing together in all that the Lord did.
Thanks for reading this report and if the Lord brings the Bright Lights ministry to mind, please pray for the local groups that meet around the country on an ongoing basis. This is not an easy ministry; it takes much work to plan and prepare lessons and activities on a regular basis. It takes time, emotional energy, and is impossible without the strengthening of the Lord. But if there was ever a need for such groups for young people, it seems the need is greater now than ever.
And may all of us, no matter our age or season of life, take seriously the command to “encourage one another and build up one another” (1 Thessalonians 5:11). “Encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:25).