This year’s Unseen Conference is set for Friday-Saturday, Oct. 29-30, at Terrace View Event Center in Sioux Center. When I was asked to be a part of planning the second Unseen Conference it was hard not to think about it at a surface level. Another commitment, more time from home, more responsibilities added to my plate. We tend to do that with a lot of things in life. At least I know I do. I look at how opportunities or commitments are going to affect me. How they’re going to take from or add to my life. In a culture that screams, “everything is about you,” it’s an easy trap to fall into.
But what about as Christians? If we look to our ultimate example, we see that Jesus took on lots of responsibilities that did more for those around Him that they ever did for Him — namely dying on the cross. If we follow His better example, we see that our time is not our own, but we were placed on this earth to accomplish something greater than ourselves. Proverbs 3:5 tells us to trust in the Lord with all our heart. Psalm 37:4 reminds us that we are to delight ourselves in the Lord. Not only are we called to profess Jesus as Savior, we’re called to live that out in our daily lives. While I understand that’s not a one-size-fits-all order, it does mean we’re called to get uncomfortable.
With the scope of eternity placed on helping plan this year’s conference, it was an easy yes. Because this isn’t about us. Our mission with this conference is to help women of all ages and all walks of life in our community delight in the eternal promises of God. We’ve lined up five amazing speakers, a truly talented worship leader and we’ve created space for women to fellowship and be reminded of how much better Jesus is than anything we’re faced with.
The speakers are:
- Angela Perigo — Perigo was born in Minneapolis and spent most of her childhood in Romania as a missionary kid where her parents built three orphanages. The mother of three young daughters born on three different continents, she is adjusting to and really enjoying the comforts and quirks of small town living in Sioux Center where she serves part-time as an ordained minister in a pastoral and teaching role at Dordt University. She just finished up a doctorate in worship studies with her research focusing on diversity, hospitality and inclusivity.
- Gail Ashmore — Ashmore is passionate about her roles as a wife, mom to two boys, being a student at Calvin Theological Seminary and pastoral care provider at Dordt. She enjoys participating in ministry and discipleship. She is a Sioux Center native with a heart for the people here that they may truly know Jesus and what it means to participate in the abundant life that He brings. Partnering with the Unseen Team, she desires for this conference to invite women into His presence.
- Jenna De Jong — co-founder of Action169, De Jong is a wife, mother of four and outspoken voice for women’s health. As a young girl, she walked through the trauma of abortion, which left her numb, hopeless and heartbroken. She shares her story of inner healing through the relentless pursuit of Jesus.
- Teresa Blankers — a photographer, wife and mother of two boys who nearly died in December 2009 but experienced the miraculous healing power of Jesus Christ and now lives to share her testimony of God’s extraordinary love.
- Kendra Broekhuis — The author, speaker and intentional neighbor lives life on the margins in the city of Milwaukee. For her day job, Broekhuis stays home with four of their children. Her first book is called “Here Goes Nothing: An Introvert’s Reckless Attempt to Love Her Neighbor.”
- Michell Kislter — As our worship leader, Kistler, joins the conference from Denver, CO, but she’s not new to Sioux Center as she graduated from Dordt in 2011. She spends most of her time singing in churches in the Denver area.
Lauren Kleyer lives near Sioux Center with her husband and daughter. You can find her freelancing or bringing her farmer husband meals in the field.