Bright Lights Conferences – Cedar Rapids, IA

At the beginning of July, the three of us girls had the privilege of helping with a week of Bright Lights conferences.  Last October, we helped with the ones in St. Cloud, MN.  This time, however, we traveled to Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  We were so blessed by an amazing week of ministry and fellowship with over 40 leaders from around the country (IA, MN, NE, TX, GA, MD, IL, & WI).

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Most of the BL conference leaders

The Strong in the Lord conference took place on Tuesday & Wednesday, while the Radiant Purity conference took place on Friday & Saturday.  During the conferences, there are large group sessions with singing (Deborah helped with music), Sarah Mally sharing Bible truths through teaching and stories, personal testimonies from small group leaders, and funny skits that reinforce important points.  Then, all the girls are split into smaller groups and the parents have their own sessions.  Small groups are led by one or two leaders (which each of us got to help with) and include discussion, games, and snacks.  The conference days are very full, but it is so rewarding to be able to invest in these girls’ lives.  To hear that they have made commitments to serve the Lord, clear their conscience, honor their parents, and read their Bible makes it all worth it!  So here come the pictures:

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Singing during the main sessions

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Deborah helped to lead music for the conference by playing her violin

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The horse race skit

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Hannah (who helps with our BL group here in MN) and Katherine handing out conference notebooks

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The pyramid activity during small group time demonstrates the importance of teamwork in families

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Evening chalk talk

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The Princess: “My Father, thy daughter in distress because I am not married!”

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Browsing the conference book table

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Grace played beautiful harp music several times throughout the conferences

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Maiden Flirtelia: “If any man desires to come after me, let him…”

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Some of the girls from our Bemidji BL group came down for the conference so we took a photo with the Mallys

Thursday was our “off day” so we took some time to relax and refresh ourselves for the weekend conference.  We spent the morning touring the Mally’s bookstore (Noah’s Archive) and visiting a cute little coffee shop where we enjoyed a sweet time of fellowship together.

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Noah’s Archive – with the lovely Bekah as our tour guide

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Bookstore browsing (and birthday shopping!)

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Fellowship at Witte’s End Coffee House

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A few of the Bright Lights leaders at the coffee shop

After lunch on Thursday, Grace Mally showed us a video on witnessing and then we all had a long and helpful discussion about sharing the gospel with others. The Lord has really given Grace a heart for witnessing, and she has a vision for encouraging young people to be bold with the gospel.  She has written an excellent book on the topic of witnessing called “Will Our Generation Speak?” that is full of witnessing stories and practical helps.  After our discussion, we went to a nearby park for personal time with the Lord, more fellowship, and a little bit of witnessing.  Since there weren’t many people at the park to witness to, Grace took a group of us out after supper where we went witnessing at a nearby mall.  I wish I had time to share the whole story here, but since I don’t, you can head over to Grace’s blog and read about our amazing, God-orchestrated evening here.

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Sharing witnessing tips and ideas

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Grace shared a session on witnessing at each conference

Here’s a few more random, behind-the-scenes pictures from our week:

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Conference prep: making trail mix and decorating snack buckets

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Our sleeping quarters – one of two classrooms that our group used for the week

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Working together for meal preparation

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Singing outside late at night (while the alarms system was going off in the church building!)

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Meals for the group was quite the undertaking, one that Mrs. Beth Kramer (blue & white apron) and the Isaac sisters did with joy and skill

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Leaders sharing time – talking about what the Lord has been teaching us

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Mealtime fellowship

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It was wonderful to see the W sisters again – we had so much fun and fellowship with these dear sisters-at-heart!

We stayed over Sunday and enjoyed worshiping at the chapel where the Mally’s attend.

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Cedar Rapids Bible Chapel – don’t you love the sign on the wall?

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One last meal after church (with a much smaller group) before heading back to MN

It was such a blessing to spend an entire week with a group of young ladies that love the Lord and are seeking to follow Him. We had a wonderful time of ministry and fellowship together. We were so thankful to the Lord to be able to take part in the ministry of the Bright Lights conferences.

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