CONFERENCE – The first Empowered to Connect Conference (predecessor to Hope for the Journey) being held at a house church in Beijing, China in 2018. Attendees included Chinese nationals (limited translation was available), as well as ex-patriots and other internationals from several countries. The conference was organized by Andrea Viera.

OSCODA – Raising children is difficult. In today’s uncertain environment - in light of COVID and social distancing requirements – it gets even harder. Fear, worry, anxiety and frustration are being experienced by many to varying degrees. Some of those most affected include our children. Their fear and worry translates – often – to changes in behavior, which leaves parents confused and wondering, “what can I do? How can I help my child?”

Grace Community Church in Oscoda recognizes the challenges faced by parents and caretakers and is sponsoring a free conference late Friday to Saturday, May 21-22. 

The Hope for the Journey conference will take place at the church which is located at 6012 Skeel Road in Oscoda - next to Parks Library. 

The format is modular - so folks are invited to come to one module or all eight of them. Topics that will be addressed in the virtual presentations will include Trust-Based Relational Intervention, Connecting Principles, Correcting Principles, and others. The purpose of the conference is to provide information, insight, and some practical takeaways for parents, teachers, and others professionals regarding how to effectively and meaningfully engage with their children in today’s trying times. 

“We want to provide tools for parents to better connect with their children, while also encouraging them as they continue to journey with them. At the same time, we want to offer teachers and caregivers the same information,” said Pastor Mike Viera, the pastor at Grace Community. 

Pastor Mike Viera and his wife, Andrea, will serve as facilitators at the conference. They are very familiar with the program. 

While serving as missionaries in China before coming to Oscoda, to serve the congregation at Grace, they had the joy of introducing the program to both internationals and Chinese parents at a house church in Beijing. 

“The insight and information gained at that conference proved very helpful on a personal level - enabling us to better parent our two younger, adopted children. But importantly, it also provided a unique perspective from which our international and Chinese friends could grow as parents. We received a tremendous amount of positive feedback from that conference. I have no doubt that it was life-changing for some. It is one of the reasons why we desire to make this conference available to as many as possible in this area” said Pastor Mike. 

The conference will begin with a welcome and the first module on Friday, 4 - 6 p.m. The remaining modules will be presented on Saturday beginning at 9 a.m. and finishing at 4 p.m. 

A catered lunch will be provided on Saturday with snacks available throughout. Grace Community Church, sponsors of the conference, will assist with helping address child-care needs in situations where attendance is dependent on child-care. 

Please call the church for more information. In addition, this conference can help many educational/counseling/medical professionals meet Continuing Education requirements, as well as serve the foster and adoption communities with necessary training certificates. Again, call the church for more information.

The conference is absolutely free to participants. Due to COVID precautions, and to accommodate social distancing while gathering indoors, reservations are needed to participate. 

To make reservations, or to ask questions, please contact Grace Community Church at 989-739-3424. Please leave a message, including the best time to receive a call back.

Show Hope, the developer of the conference, is affiliated with Focus on the Family, Empowered to Connect, and the Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development.

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