Despite a severe storm and a power outage, GEMS counselors from across the continent held their 46th annual leadership conference July 9-12 at Messiah College outside Harrisburg, Pa. GEMS (Girls Everywhere Meeting the Savior) are clubs in many Christian Reformed churches for girls in grades 1 to 8.
Amy Brooks, a leadership trainer, said that the event is intended to inspire and encourage counselors and equip them to minister to the girls they work with. This year, Brooks also served as chairperson for the local conference committee.
Attendees participated in a series of activities centered around the theme for the coming year, “Choose Truth,” based on Psalm 119:105. Speakers included Lenae Bulthuis, Anita Keagy, Annie F. Downs, and Cathy Coleman. “They challenged women to focus on God’s truth, not on what the world wants us to think is true, and they reminded us that God has a good and perfect plan for each of our lives,” said Brooks.
There was also entertainment by The Big Game Show. “Women literally laughed until they cried,” Brooks said. “It was a fun, relaxing time.”
Beverly Bentley of North Haledon, N.J., said, “I am so happy to be part of the last couple days at [the] conference. I made new friends, shared praise and worship with Grace and Colleen and the band, praised Jesus, and learned how to do silk painting. It was inspiring, uplifting, and I had a blast! I am pumped up for the new GEMS year.”
Brooks said plans are underway for next summer’s conference, which will be held July 21-24 in Bozeman, Montana.