We did a little tidying up in the Children & Families office recently and found these little gems! Unfortunately, the three winners of the contest were given their drawings back so we couldn't post them, but we think these are all winners!
Presenting Mr. Matt, through the eyes of a child...
IF God is Real, and we believe that he is, then what?
It all started with this question. And with a group of young women who wanted to go deeper, know God fuller, and share the goodness of God that they were experiencing in their own lives with others.
Six women (all young moms who between them have 21 children and very full lives at the best of times) felt a stirring in their hearts that they wanted to encourage the women of Summerland to a deeper faith in God. To challenge us to answer the question that if God is real, then what does that mean to our everyday lives. How can we live that out?
From the start they bathed this conference in prayer. They established a prayer team who prayed for the planning team, the workshop leaders, the worship team AND for every single woman who registered. This planning team of 6 were prayed for corporately by their church families. Another prayer team prayed throughout the event, that God would be seen in it all. And I believe that this is the key to why the conference itself had such impact on so many women’s lives. The event was never a platform for these women to display their many talents but to point others to God and illuminate His goodness and His faithfulness and his immeasurable love for us.
140 women attended IF:Summerland and from the moment of arrival were welcomed into a such a warm, inviting, beautifully decorated environment that if anyone were feeling outside of their comfort zone they were immediately put at ease. We were treated to meals and desserts so amazing that over-indulgence was pretty much guaranteed. We were led in beautiful worship that helped us to take our minds off of our day, our week, and ourselves and to focus on the One who makes us brave*. We were challenged by speakers to ask these questions: What are we called to believe? What holds you back from believing? How do we believe? What could happen if we believed? We read Joshua 1:1-9 and were reminded of how the Israelites stood on the brink of entering the promised land but were paralyzed by fear, believing the dangers were too great for them to possess it and how they wandered for 40 years in the desert before they trusted that what was too hard for them was not too hard for God. We were encouraged to be strong and courageous, and to not let the things of the past keep us from moving forward into what God has for us. We listened to local Summerland women share their hearts and their journey to discovering how good God is and how that impacted their lives and their circumstances. And we were blessed by the Holy Spirit making his presence known in that place and in our lives.
Women’s lives were touched and I believe many women’s lives were changed. The Holy Spirit took the many threads that made up the conference, the message of the speakers, the focus of the workshops and even the conversation around the tables, and wove them together to create something that impacted lives. IF:Summerland didn’t end on Saturday night at 9pm. I know the Holy Spirit is still working and moving in many of us, to take what He taught us there and let it impact our daily lives. We have been provided resources to keep the momentum going; IF:Equip, a daily Bible reading plan and video that can be received via email, and IF:Table, where small groups of women meet monthly around kitchen tables to dig deeper and have Christ-centered conversations.
Thank you Carolyn, Tianna, Amie, Teresa, Stephanie and Krista, for listening to the desires God placed in your heart and for being strong and courageous to do what must have felt overwhelming at times. Thank you for posing the question, If God is real, then what?
If God is real, and I believe that he is, then I want more than anything to live like it.
Here is a fantastic video recap of IF:Summerland:
Video credit: Brad Riemer
*You Make Me Brave (Amanda Cook/Bethel Music) was the title of our theme song for the conference.
In Acts 17, the apostle Paul shows up at a pagan temple site of Ares, god of war, in Athens. There are many altars, but one catches his attention. Inscribed on this altar is “To A Unknown God”. Paul addresses this group, not with accusation, anger or condemnation, but he simply identifies who this ‘Unknown God’ is.
Often, native spirituality is seen as intimidating and as a result whites and Christians either avoid contact or condemn their worship of nature and ancestry. Several months ago, Back Porch Gospel had a unique opportunity to speak into the Penticton First Nations community by confirming and identifying the true identity of The Creator that is so often acknowledged and credited by the native people.
A woman from the Penticton Band heard Back Porch perform at the Penticton park band shell and contacted us to ask if we would come to their community center and do a concert as a way of communicating life, hope and truth of Jesus to her people. Her motives were interesting. “Dorothy” is an elderly, native woman who is in stage 4 cancer and has little time left to invest in her family and extended community. Dorothy is a passionate Christian woman who has worked among her own people as a social worker and elder. She meets with a small group of Jesus followers every Tuesday and prays for her family and her people. She asked Back Porch if we would come and share this good news of the Gospel one last time while she could still take a public stand for her faith in front of family and friends.
What an amazing sight to see a full community center of First Nations People gather to honor one of their own valued members as she stood and shared her love and faith in Jesus and her desire for her fellow band members to consider accepting Him as their Saviour. One by one they came and hugged Dorothy and communicated their love and respect for her.
After a delicious supper meal, Back Porch had a chance to share our bluegrass brand of music, but more importantly, to share the grace and forgiveness that God offers through His son Jesus… Forgiveness that Dorothy had accepted and had transformed her life. By the end of that evening our hope and prayer is that all in attendance understood clearly who the True Creator really is and how they can know Him like Dorothy does.
Dear Summerland Baptist Church Family,
We are having a hard time finding words to express our deep gratitude for all the support given to Hope Aglow. We are so thankful! Your prayers and generosity are making huge waves down in the Dominican Republic, at the safe home for girls. The girls there know all about you, think of you and pray for you often!
We are excited to share that, thanks to your generosity, the fundraising goal has been reached and they now have all the funds required to purchase the land! We are still committed to praying for them and supporting them in any other way we can from here. As well as continually raising monthly support for the girls in the safe home and school.
It has been so humbling to watch God work in such a huge way. The land they will be moving to is a large, fenced acreage that was originally built as a Baptist Church camp. A couple years ago, the land switched hands and was turned into a brothel. It is amazing to see God's redemptive plan throughout this process. Just as He is redeeming these girls, He is redeeming the land for His purposes.
Thank you again for your ongoing prayers and support!!
The Hope Aglow Team