SIOUX CENTER—A group of Sioux Center women are bringing a new conference to the community.
The mission of the Unseen Conference set for Friday-Saturday, April 3-4, at the H.O.M.E. Ministry building, 101 19th Street SW, in Sioux Center is to encourage women of all ages with the eternal promises found in scripture and apply it to their daily lives.
Each of the four conference founders — Danielle Jacobsma, Lauren Kleyer, Jenny Borger and Stephanie Raih — have walked through different earthly struggles.
Raih’s youngest of two sons was diagnosed with cancer in September 2018, Kleyer has walked the road of infertility, Borger has struggled with loneliness and Jacobsma with past traumas.
“Through it all we’ve had to ask where did we put our hope and where should we put our hope?” Raih said.
They each found comfort in II Corinthians 4:16-18 (NIV), “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
That’s the heart of the message they want to share with women in the community.
“What is seen is temporary — infertility, having a sick child, struggles with singleness or divorce, struggling with stigmas in the area, losing a loved one, having a child who has special needs, struggling with image or an eating disorder — all of that is temporary, though it’s heart breaking,” Raih said. “But what is unseen — those eternal promises — are what give us so much hope when we’re going through the hard times in our lives. That’s where we want to put our focus and help equip more women to delight in those eternal promises of God.”
The organizers see the conference as a way to give back to the community that’s also given them so much support.
“For me all the regular comforts I had felt in life were stripped away with my son’s diagnosis,” Raih said. “I fell on God’s eternal promises that his plan is bigger than mine. This community was such a huge part of that, encouraging me along the way. In a way I want to be part of this conference to help give back. I haven’t been able give back. I feel passionate about how those eternal promises shaped my family’s life, my friends’ lives, especially in those hardest moments, and want to share that with others.”
The organizers have been working for more than a year to plan the conference and seek out speakers who have clarity in their purpose and a passion for sharing their story.
“They’ve each walked through the trenches, clung to Jesus through them, have turned their messes into their messages and their pain into their purpose,” Kleyer said. “Whatever stage of life you find yourself in, you’re going to see pieces of yourself in their stories. And we pray that the keys they have found along the way will help you unlock what is holding you back.”
The speakers are:
- Dee Pieper — a Sioux Center resident who’s had a messy life, including depression, and now works as a therapist.
- Tanya Rowenhorst — a physical therapist and founder and owner of Refining Wellness. She practices women’s health physical therapy and teaches faith and fitness classes two days/ week in Orange City.
- Jenness Wolgen — a wife and mother of five who has experience with working and raising children with special needs, struggles with physical and mental wellness, dealing with grief and chronic illness and developing relationship with God and others.
- Amy Keahi — director of ATLAS of Sioux Center who is passionate about introducing Jesus to people who do not know Him.
- Teresa Blankers — a photographer, wife and mother 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.
- Gail Ashmore — the mentor coordinator at ATLAS of Sioux Center is a student at Calvin Theological Seminary who is also passionate about her roles as wife and mom.
- Rachel Valentine — wife, mom and co-owner of All Things New Therapy Services in Orange City.
The speakers will be grouped together, each given time to share their stories through the three sessions planned during the conference.
The conference will also feature worship leader Michelle Kistler, who is a 2011 Dordt College graduate from Denver. She works as the chief development officer, co-founder and coach for her company, Pitch Perfect Communications, as well as running her own vocal studio, Kistler Vocal Studio.
Another aspect of the conference will be a vendor fair feature faith-based organizations: two-oh-five designs, Vi Bella, Moms in Prayer, Walk by Faith Jewelry, Three:Twelve Boutique, Touch of Hope and Olive + Iris.
“We’re all guilty of putting on a Dutch front, saying I’m fine outwardly but not sharing the inward struggles,” Kleyer said. “We hope this is a time where teens, moms, seniors — women can come together and be encouraged in the hope that is found in Jesus, our Lord and Savior.”
For more information on the speakers, schedule and ticket cost, visit www.unseenconference.com.