Saturday, April 26, 2014

Fun and Fellowship in Big Sandy, Texas!

We are tearfully headed home from our 2nd trip and week spent in Big Sandy, TX for the annual ATI Homeschool Conference. We arrived early on Saturday morning and enjoyed 4 days of camping fun with our family, meeting new friends and fellowshipping with the families we met last year. We were encouraged in our journey and were encouraged by what the Lord is doing in other families’ lives. From the moment we pulled up our big kids were off finding all their penpals and friends from last year. Once the 3 day conference began it was go, go, go! We would quickly grab breakfast, get some dinner in the crockpot, run the kids to their activities and programs and be filled with great speakers’ teachings and sermons. The conference itself was so encouraging and gave us a year’s worth of application to pursue in our Christian walk, the number one teaching we will bring home is the Power of Prayer by David Gibbs. We hope to pursue of journey of nonstop and very powerful prayer this year!

Here is our blog post from our 1st year attending this conference, when our discernment was peaked and ready to decipher theological and doctrinal error: A Week in Big Sandy with the Duggars

This blog post is to share some pictures of the fun we had during this year’s conference but before I share, I would like to address the current Gothard issue so this is not read as if I am na├»ve to happenings. Gothard was not present at this conference as he has resigned and has released a statement online (click here for Gothard’s statement). ATI as a whole is not a person but a ministry, a ministry that truly strives to equip families to love and serve the Lord, their families, and others. The families we have met and continue to meet (including the Duggars and Bates) are real people, saved from real sin and serving a very real Jesus. As humans we can and still do fall into sin and temptation, it is why we need a personal, loving Savior. Whether innocent or guilty we do feel Gothard did the right thing in stepping down and stepping back to evaluate his own walk with the Lord and reconcile with those who feel or were wronged. This is just another homeschool conference with great and encouraging speakers to help strengthen Christians, parents and families in their walk with the Lord. I do believe that the ATI’s ministry began to encourage families and provide teaching and curriculum to help them along their homeschool journey, but along the way instead of worshipping Jesus and using ATI as a tool, ATI and Gothard have been worshipped and followed to the point of idolatry. We must always evaluate our own heart and motives, the Lord tells us in Proverbs 4:23 to “guard our heart.” Our heart focus should be Jesus! Gothard needs prayer, he and many other men of ministry are not perfect, they are men like David, who although may be men after God’s own heart they are human and can fall into lust, temptation and great sin (James 1:14-15). It should hurt our heart when we see a man fall and hurt our heart all the more when they bring a whole ministry with them. We were thankful that the conference continued this year under new management, it was an encouragement to our family.
Here are some pictures from our trip:

                The twins Sunday best!                                       Risa and Sam with Jim Bob Duggar!

     Anthony and Sam chillin' with Jason.                                  Daddy walking with the twins!

       Six little children standing on a log...                                             Cool Dudes!

             Mirabel and Sam on a family walk                    Maggie hitching a ride from big brother

        1st fun-filled day at planned activites                                            Mom & Dad
       Risa and Titus at Children's Institute                               Samuel and Anthony at ALERT

                   Mirabel at Pre-Embassy                                 Maggie hanging with mom and dad

               Best friends when awake...                                                     ...and asleep!

Stop by our 5 Kids 6 Months Facebook page where I will be sharing some other wonderful families’ websites and blogs that we have met while camping here! They are real, imperfect and in love with Jesus just like us!

Click here for our blog post about the 2013 conference
Click here for our blog post about the 2015 conference

Posted by Shannon
Soli Deo gloria - Glory to God alone