The Northwoods Conference Center stood at the ready to begin receiving participants in what would be the largest gathering in its history. An eagle was soaring above the west windows of the Prayer Tower which, itself, was overlooking the blue, peaceful, and serene waters of Wolf Lake. With the freshly cut lawns lining the main entrance drive, arriving guests rounded the last corner and were greeted by twelve American flags waving “welcome” to the main lodge.
The Tuesday evening opening session was held in the very room where, thirty-four years earlier, ATI began with 102 families. Gary Fraley, one of ATI’s “founding fathers,” gave the opening address for the Family Conference with tried and true lessons from the trail. In the days that followed, Larry Guthrie, part of the Wisdom booklet, Character Sketches, and Eagle Story teams, brought the words and wisdom of Scripture to life with unforgettable stories from his life. Robert Newhouse, who was one of the original ATI pilot families, spoke on such diverse topics as marriage and dealing with our carnal nature. Other speakers who came to the Northwoods included Jobe Martin, Gabe Cleator, and Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar.
The conference time was filled with Godly messages for the adults while children participated in learning sessions and activities. The week sped by and soon the last session was closing the special time families had had together with each other, with others, and with God. The final hymn sung by the ATI young people choir resounded throughout the auditorium. This time, however, the song was even more special as a large number of former ATI students, almost as many as the practiced group, joined the now-impromptu choir. Some of these spontaneous choir members are now parents themselves, and they brought their babies or toddlers into the choir with them. What a memorable closing to a phenomenal week with the Lord and in the fellowship with many wonderful families. As these families journey on, waiting on the Lord and their hearts renewed, they will surely mount up with wings as eagles.
Please consider joining us at the final 2018 Northwoods Family Conference. The dates are August 28–31, with speakers Jerry Benjamin, Keith Daniel, Otto Koning, and Mark Wilkes and his family. For more information and to register, visit www.familyconferences.org.