Neither Snow Nor Rain Nor Heat . . .
Our first trip to the ICHE Convention was in 2000, some 13 years ago. We’ll never forget that initial five-hour trip from our southern IL home as we drove through sunshine, torrential downpours, excessive winds and tornado warnings. We even had to pull off the road once because we were afraid the hail was going to crack our windshield.
Little did we know how much those three days would change our lives and eventually spill over into the lives of those we would come in contact with through our ministry and our love for homeschooling. God’s grace was active on our behalf. Here we were, a preacher and his wife. We thought we had deep convictions in regards to standards of holiness and family life. We were comfortable in our homeschool experience; after all, we had been trained as public educators and were adept at mimicking the public school model we were so accustomed to. We were in our groove! But thanks be unto God, we were about to be “ungrooved.”
The first question submitted by Answers in Genesis’ Ken Ham was, “Were kangaroos ever in the Middle East?” I thought historically, geologically, geographically, etc. My lack of a Biblical worldview was exposed when he explained that kangaroos were on the ark and the ark landed on Mount Ararat, which is in the Middle East. Pretty simple answer if we had had a biblical worldview.
Not to be outdone, Vision Forum’s Doug Phillips asked a similar elementary question in the following keynote address, “Have you asked God how many children you should have?” My answer in the negative revealed another distinct disconnect we had when it came to what the Bible said about family.
We attended every keynote and workshop possible, eschewing lunch, choosing to dine on rich biblical fodder instead. Repeatedly, my wife and I just looked at each other and shook our heads in near disbelief as we heard God’s infinite principles applied in family life in ways we had never seen. We were so grateful for the knowledge that those whom God loves, He chastens.
This was but the beginning of a transformation of God’s grace, not only in our homeschool experience but in our marriage, family and biblical walk as well. The very first thing we addressed was our public schooling at home model and started to instill home discipleship. The pole barn-turned-school with its bulletin boards, nice rows of desks and various workstations were exchanged for a comfortable seat on the front porch swing or a chair in my daughters’ tack room where books were read and read. While there were still some worksheets, there was much more discussion around the dinner table. Additionally, one “textbook,” the Bible, took an even more exalted priority above all other textbooks in regards to time and attention. This was a process of a few years but its genesis was our first convention.
We keep making the trip to Naperville year after year. It’s been our joy to invite friends who have also made the trek and have seen their vision of homeschooling radically affected as well. In more recent years we have had the joy of taking our oldest six children as they too enjoy hearing impactful speakers, seeing old friends and making new ones.
I’ve had some parents innocently say, “Haven’t you heard all there is to hear?” This equates to me thinking I know everything! How often one small bit of insight has opened up other levels of obedience in our lives. Besides, it’s not just what is taught but what is caught. For instance, in addition to all the life-changing information we received that first year, we were struck with awe when we saw the pure look in the faces of the teenage children, their conduct and their level of modesty in dress. We left saying, “That’s what we want for our children.”
As I was in prayer before my Maker today, I prayed this year would be the most anointed convention we have ever had and scores of people would have their own encounters with God and would see their perspectives changed to one degree or another. Although time, energy and resources are a challenge for each of us, I encourage you not to let one of the most potentially life-changing weeks slide by without taking advantage. Furthermore, invite friends to come along with you. While it is a homeschooling convention, my wife and I always considered it our spiritual renewal weekend with an emphasis on education. I have been to many conferences put on by some of the best-known ministries in the country and none of them, and I do mean none of them, have affected us like the ICHE convention.
So let neither “snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night, stop God’s message from being delivered to you at ICHE’s 2013 Convention, June 6-8.
Executive Director, ICHE