More than a thousand people—nearly all home-schoolers—attended the “Family Relationships and Parenting Conference” held at the Ocean shores Conventions Center in Ocean Shores, Washington. The conference was presented by Christian Heritage Home Educators of Washington, and was well-organized by Danny Craig (25 years old), together with his father and brothers. I gave five addresses: How to Bring Your Children to Christ; The Church and Healthy Family Relationships; Nurturing Intimate Communication with Your Spouse; Puritan Insights for Husbands and Wives; How the Gospel Changes Relationships. I also participated on a panel on Advice for Husbands and Fathers.
Other major speakers included Gregg Harris, Craig Houston, and Lou Priolo. I enjoyed getting to meet and know them. Gregg Harris, well-known for his leadership role in the homeschooling movement over the past twenty-five years, is the father of Joshua Harris (author of I Kissed Dating Goodbye, Boy Meets Girl, Not Even a Hint, etc.) and Alex and Brett Harris (co-authors of Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations). Craig Houston is a faithful pastor and father of twelve who is a joy to be with. We promised to try to find time to get to know each other better.
I also enjoyed my time with Gerry and Eileen Epp and their children, including mealtimes and talking around an evening campfire they made on the ocean beach with the waves rolling in behind us in the darkness. Joining us around the campfire were two additional families from Canada: Brian and Ann-Marie DenHertog, and Marvin and Wilhelmina from Alberta. Together the three families had more than twenty children with them!
Isaac Epp was particularly helpful in chauffeuring me from the airport and assisted me at the book table together with his brother Joseph. We were able to sell all eighteen boxes of books that we had sent out to the conference, including scores of books written for children. It was also great to meet some of the other large families that were present—many having from seven to twelve (even one with fourteen) children. Many of those children’s maturity level—both intellectually and spiritually—appears to be quite astonishing.
On Sunday morning I preached for Carl DeyArmin at Shiloh Bible Camp on “The Only Way to Live and Die” (Phil. 1:21). We went to the camp because Pastor DeyArmin’s church only holds about seventy people. He has built the church up from 20 people to 40 people in three years. That is really a major achievement in this rather deserted area. The church belongs to a group of churches being supported by Village Missions, which seeks to place pastors in rural settings to serve dying churches. The goal is to preserve and build of these churches across rural North America.
On Monday, I flew to Detroit, landing an hour before Mary joined me from Grand Rapids. Several hours later we were winging our way to Brazil on a long overnight flight to Sao Paulo. I am scheduled to speak about ten times in the next seven days—mostly on the Holy Spirit and His saving work.