During the last week of April, more than 1,000 people gathered in Big Sandy, Texas, for a week of fellowship and encouragement. Families from all over America came to participate in the Big Sandy Family Conference. Among the many returning guests, new families were also present.
From the on-site speakers’ sessions and children’s programs to the livestream, each aspect of the conference was designed to strengthen and encourage the attendees. Throughout the week, the speakers’ messages focused on the theme, “Continue in My Word” from John chapter 8. Messages were shared that challenged the listeners to walk more closely with God, continue in His Word, and to mindfully incorporate that spiritual aspect in their every-day lives.
Some of this year’s session highlights included Jim Schettler’s inspirational message on prayer (don’t be hazy, crazy, or lazy); Dean Kershner’s Hudson Taylor presentation (complete with the Oriental-style clothing); the stirring testimony of Hannah Overton (falsely accused of murder and served seven years in prison before being exonerated); and John Van Gelderen’s encouraging message from II Corinthians 5:17 about the reality that we as believers have been made new in Christ. Men, ladies, and young people also enjoyed special sessions. The conference main session messages and other special session talks will be available on Embassy Media in the coming weeks.
The children’s programs taught spiritual lessons designed for the various age groups. In the Children’s Institute, boys and girls aged 4–7 learned about the blessings of God, including God Himself, His Word, salvation, and His provisions. In Pre-Excel, girls aged 8–11 studied what it looks like to be conformed to Christ instead of this world. They also learned practical skills, such as braiding and hand lettering. Boys aged 8–11 expended a lot of physical energy while learning teamwork in the ALERT Cadet Challenge. The older boys, aged 12–17, went deeper in their skills training, learning simple water rescue techniques and hearing from men who are further down the road. The young ladies in COMMIT, aged 12–17, learned about Who God is and gained practical tools and tips to get to know Him personally.
God worked in people’s lives during the week. Following one session on bitterness and forgiveness, an individual testified of God’s work in an estranged relationship as she forgave. One afternoon, a COMMIT girl told her leader that she, someone who hated reading, was captivated as she read Isaiah chapter 40, and continued reading through chapter 44! Other young ladies eagerly studied passages of Scripture identifying characteristics of Who God is. In the Children’s Institute, two children, both fighting over who would go first, were reminded of their lesson on humility. The result was their disagreement over which one could go last! These shared testimonies are likely a few among many more which are yet to be seen and heard.
Following the conference, a livestream viewer commented: “Thank you for live-streaming the messages. [They were a] huge encouragement for me last week!”
Two more Family Conferences are scheduled for this year: the Northwoods Family Conference, June 6–10; and the Big Sandy August Family Conference, August 1–5. Details on these conferences can be found at familyconferences.org.