Sunday, March 31, 2013

Bright Lights!

Back in May, 2011, the Mally Family, founders of Tomorrow’s Forefathers ministries, came and spoke at our homeschool convention. Their daughter, Sarah did a lot of sessions that really had an impact on me. There I learned that Sarah was the founder of the Bright Lights ministry. I had heard of this before, but had never researched it. At the convention, we had bought Sarah’s book, “Before you meet Prince Charming” for us and for our friends. I went up to the front of the room after one of the sessions and joined the line for Sarah to sign the books. After waiting awhile, it was my turn. Sarah signed the books and we chatted. Sarah said, “You have the smile of a good Bright Lights leader. Have you ever thought of starting a group?” I hadn’t really, but said, “That would be neat,” or something to that effect.
After the conference, I began thinking a lot about starting a group, but I wasn’t sure how or where to start. I began praying about it and talking to my parents, who were encouraging me about the possibility.
Later on that year in August, Mom, Grace, Elisha and I went with a friend of ours to a two-day Radiant Purity Conference in Pennsylvania, hosted by the Mally family. The teaching and small groups were wonderful, uplifting and encouraging. The first night, after all the sessions were finished, a young lady who looked to be a little older than me, came up to my sisters and I. She began talking with us and we got to know her a little bit, and found out that she herself was a Bright Lights leader.
Later on in the conversation, she said to me, “Have you ever thought about starting a Bright Lights group?” That time, I could really say, “Yes, I have!” Since then, that young lady and I have stayed in contact through email. She has been a great encouragement, having been a leader before me.
I talked to Mom that night and the next morning before we went back to the church where the conference was held, and told her that I felt God leading me to buy the Leaders’ material that afternoon, which they were selling there. Mom agreed, and was very encouraged that I had made that decision. 
If it were up to me, the Bright Lights group would have been started right after we got home. I am so glad that its not up to me! God has a different time table, and He used situations, my parent’s counsel, and other means to show me that I was not yet ready to begin. In the time while I was still preparing, I was able to go through the 12 leader’s training CD’s that I had bought at the conference, and look over the materials extensively. It was within this time that God taught me a lot. One of the things He taught me that my family always comes first in ministry, and He showed me that He wanted me to “practice” Bright Lights on my sisters. This was a great preparation for me, and I was able to get a handle on how I would present each lesson to the girls. Another thing He taught me was to set all of my affections heavenward. The Lord was waiting for me to lay all of my desires, hopes and dreams where they needed to be: at the foot of the cross. I still struggle with the battle of surrender, and I find that it is a daily decision.
Finally in January, I sent in my application, and was approved about a month later. I wrote an invitation letter to the parents of all the girls I had in mind, which totaled 24 girls, besides our family. We set the date for March 12, and I started getting the last details squared away.
The night of the first meeting came quickly for me, and soon girls were starting to show up. More and more moms and girls gathered into our little house. I shared about being strong for the Lord in your Youth, and the girls were very alert and attentive. I was very encouraged. Grace and Elisha did a skit with me that illustrated standing alone, and the girls seemed to get a lot from it. Elisha shared a testimony about how she recommitted her entire life to the Lord. This was wonderful. We did an activity that helped the girls to get to know each other, sang songs, did Bible memory, and were blessed by fellowship with tea and snacks at the end.
Overall, God’s hand was on the entire evening. Girls and moms alike expressed gratitude and excitement to us. That night, we calculated that there were a total of 23 girls, and six moms that stayed. Wow! I was so blessed to have this many! I know that God does not base success on numbers, but this was an uplifting turnout.
The next day, we heard from one mom that we know quite well, that her daughter had talked with her about what she learned at the meeting that morning. This 10 year old told her mom that she knows that she accepted the Lord as her savior when she was 7, but recommitted her life to the Lord at Bright Lights. That was such a reward! It was encouraging to hear a response so quickly.
We had the 2nd meeting on Tuesday, March 26. I shared on having a close relationship with parents. Grace shared a testimony from her life about having a submissive attitude on the inside, as well as the outside. The girls really look up to Grace!
Elisha and Nicole helped me demonstrate "parent/daughter scenarios", where they would act out a parent asking a daughter to do something. The "daughter" then practiced what responses to give. The girls had a chance to do that, too, and they really loved that!As the Bright Lights group continues, I would covet your prayers for:
Wisdom to discern the Holy Spirit’s prompting
Humility and meekness, developing a Christ-like spirit of servanthood
God to give me a genuine love for each young lady in the group
Valuing my God-given authorities as God-given counselors, and that I would also value the counsel that they provide me
Thank you so much for your faithful intercession on behalf of Bright Lights!
I will inform you with updates in later editions!
To learn more, go to the Bright lights Website
Joy in Jesus, Madelyn Swan Winslow