Every spring the first Family Conference kicks off on the campus in Big Sandy, Texas. This conference is a highly-anticipated week by many people; some families have been attending for decades! The theme this year is “In Every Thing by Prayer.” As communication is foundational to any relationship, prayer is essential in our relationship with Christ. One young lady who attended the conference shared how encouraged she was by the reminder of this theme—that the power of prayer is not based on our faithfulness to pray but on the faithfulness of the One to Whom we pray. The unity and fellowship that comes from praying together is empowering. One special highlight this year was the men’s morning prayer times. Each day, the men gathered for a dedicated time of prayer before the men’s session, immediately practicing the conference theme.
Another highlight from this Family Conference was the immediate, practical application time each afternoon. Following sessions on prayer and Bible study, attendees were encouraged to use the next hour to apply what they learned. One mom described the hour of prayer as “transformational.” Other application times focused on personal Bible study and family devotions.
The younger children attending Children’s Institute enjoyed a lively time! Through skits, Bible lessons, memory verses, and crafts, the children learned about the armor of God and the importance of prayer.
Each year, the fathers of the ALERT Cadet Challenge participants join their sons for an afternoon together. This year, one father was not sure he would be able to make it to the whole conference, but he was determined to be there for his son on that particular day. This special conference day for fathers and sons to interact in games and conversations is in keeping with the ALERT Cadet vision of turning the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers.
The theme for Pre-Excel was “Think on These Things,” from Philippians 4:8. One student wrote a note, saying: “I can’t tell you how much Pre-Excel has changed the way I look at so many different things. I always knew I should think on pure things. But y’all explained that I should take out the bad thing, then replace it with pure things. . . . Thank you so much!” Another student said she really appreciated and benefited from the small group time that was spent discussing sibling relationships.
The COMMIT young ladies learned about how they can impact eternity now and how they should be preparing to impact eternity in the future. One way presented that everyone can impact eternity now is through prayer. A team leader shared how she was encouraged to hear the young ladies on her team to pray individually while in their group. Another leader told about how excited her girls were to share reports on how they had impacted eternity that very morning!
Over the years, one of the common highlights we hear referenced is the fellowship families experience during the Family Conference. The Big Sandy Family Conference this year was no different. Throughout the week, people took time to encourage one another. Several families gathered one night for a time of singing hymns. People shared burdens with each other and prayed together. Children and young people made new friends. Families left with renewed focus and vision.
Next year’s Family Conference will be in early April, April 8–12. This schedule change will place the beginning of the conference on the same day as the total solar eclipse happening on April 8. Big Sandy is in the path of totality for this eclipse, so make plans now to join us for a time of encouragement and a special demonstration of God’s hand in creation!