For the last U.S. Family Conference of the year, over 650 people and staff attended the Twin Cities location. Families enjoyed the beautiful university campus where all the programs and sessions were within walking distance. Adults enjoyed hearing the engaging speakers while many students were involved in the various programs.
“What am I going to do when I grow up?” is a common concern for young people. All the programs for children and young people at the conferences are planned to help attendees with that question regardless of their ages. The COMMIT sessions for girls, 12–15 years old, encouraged them to make loving Jesus and loving other people an important part of the answer to this question! The COMMIT program included a study on Isaiah 40 during morning devotions, insightful discussions with team leaders, and a special craft to remind them of their time together.
In Pre-Embassy, the girls learned foundational truths about Who God is and how every area of our lives is affected by Who we believe God to be. The girls talked about God’s goodness and holiness and memorized Psalm 103:1-13. A team leader spoke to several girls about salvation. One girl seemed particularly receptive, but thought she needed to wait. After hearing the Gospel, the girl decided to pray right then to receive Jesus as her Savior. Later that day she remarked about the new joy she had in her life!
God answered many specific prayers during the Children’s Institute, from the cloud cover during game time to the enthusiasm of the children during their program presentation to their parents. At the beginning and end of each day, the teachers gathered to share prayer requests. One evening they prayed for a little boy who was not connecting well with his team. By noon the next day, his teacher had been able to talk with the child and ask him about the “soldier” craft. The little boy recalled for the leader all that he had learned about the parts of the Armor of God! This is just one example of the many prayers answered.
ALERT Cadets expected about thirty-five young men, so you can imagine the surprise when almost twice as many (sixty-one) showed up! The Lord graciously provided four additional young men to help in leadership. The leaders were greatly appreciated by both the cadets and their families. The program also had a unique setting: the leaders and cadets did their activities on the campus “island”! Another highlight of the week was when several cadets indicated their desire to ask Jesus into their lives.
The student sessions this year focused on the life-changing importance of meditating on God’s Word and discerning its application to their lives. After discussing this, the young people were given the opportunity right then to spend time meditating on God’s Word. At the end of the allotted time, the young people were asked if this was their first time having a focused time set aside for meditating on God’s Word. Multiple people raised their hands. The next day, one young man reported awakening early. Being unable to go back to sleep, he instead began meditating on the Word of God. He commented that it was probably the first time he had ever done that. Praise the Lord for the receptiveness of the students.
We praise God for a great conference season this year! “Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness” (Psalm 150:2). We look forward to seeing how God will bring forth fruit in these families’ lives in the weeks and months ahead. “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving” (Colossian 2:6-7).
Photos courtesy of James Staddon and the ACTION photography team.