June 2016, 252 individuals from various parts of the US as well as the Philippines and New Zealand gathered in Chicago to share hope in a world of confusion and brokenness at the 2 day conference: HOPE 2016 – Restoring Hope-Proclaiming Truth-Equipping Churches. Large group as well as small group workshops were offered. Janet Parshall, an advocate of the principles and policies that strengthen the family, was the keynote speaker. Workshops which were offered included, Making Your church A Welcoming Place for God to Transform Lives, Whey Gender Matters, At the Well: Being Jesus in Our Culture, Breaking Free from the Spirit of Death and Despair, Developing Friendships, Support, & Accountability Relationships, God Made Me Do It, Homosexuality: A Case of Mistaken REsponse, How to Reach LGBT Friend in a Post-Christian Culture, How Transformation Happens, Key to Ministering to the Hispanic Community. Founder and Executive Director of Desert Stream Ministries, Andrew Comiskey, Rev. Karen Booth, Pastor Ron Citiau, Pastor Phil Courson, and Pastor Linda Seller were also presenters.
Stories of healing and transformation in the areas of life such as same-sex attraction and gender identity struggles were shared. Those who personally face these struggles as well as family members looking in from the outside were encouraged and supported.
Personal testimonies were shared to help put faces to healing journeys. Our very own, Benji and Hazel Cruz shared their individual healings from God, which lead to the place where they could receive themselves and each other in marriage. Their stories were shared as an offering to those in attendance. Hearts were encouraged during this 2-day conference.