My 5 Favorite Speakers from the Refresh Conference 2015

by Brenda on


My hubby and I had the privilege of attending this year’s Refresh Conference in Redomond, WA. WOW! What a weekend!! We felt SO totally encouraged and strengthened by this conference. I took a ton of notes (I will share some of those later!). For now, I want to tell you about my favorite speakers. Everyone was good! These are the top 5 people whose blogs and books and sermons I want to follow (which is all personal opinion, of course! Another Refresh attender might have a totally different list, as there were so many speakers with SO many great things to say! 🙂

Unfortunately (and fortunately), the Refresh Conference sessions are not recorded. Unfortunately, because I can’t point you to a place to hear them online or purchase an mp3. Fortunately, because these speakers talked about hard subjects–some personal, some that wouldn’t be understood by the world wide web who hasn’t dealt with adoption “issues.” I will share with you how to find these people and their books or sermons, though.

1. Stephanie Fast

Stephanie is a dynamic speaker! She has an incredible life story of being orphaned in Korea, living on the streets, and being adopted by an American couple at 9 years old. Her story encouraged me in our struggle with a child who has bouts of screaming.

Stephanie has authored a book about her life called She Is Mine:

she is mine












She can be found on her website,, on Facebook, on Twitter and on YouTube.


2. Jennie Allen

As the mom of an adopted child who lived through trauma, I felt like Jennie Allen “got” my life. She’s living it, and with her incredible speaking, she shared God’s hope in the midst of suffering! I felt so encouraged by Jennie’s words–that suffering might be what God has for us so that we can be refined to be like Him.

Jennie has written two books, Anything and Restless:



Jennie can be found on her website,, at several Speaking Events,  at the IF Gathering, which she founded, on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.


3. Deborah Gray

Deborah Gray encouraged us to be playful with our kids. We got home and immediately used her tricks on our kids. Everyone had to do a stunt in front of the family. They ALL (healthy, bio kids included) Our daughter wanted to keep doing stunts for 30+ minutes after the rest of the family.

Deborah has written 3 books: Nurturing AdoptionsAttaching in Adoption, and her latest book; Attaching through Love, Hugs and Play:

nurturing-adoptions attaching-in-adoption attaching-through-love-hugs-and-play

Deborah can be found at her website,, and at several Conferences. She does not appear to be on any of the major social media networks.


4. Randy Stinson

Like Jennie Allen, Randy Stinson seemed to “get” the life we live. He and his wife have taken in and adopted kids who were disrupted from other families (I assume because of extreme or dangerous behaviors). I love that they would get a call about a child, pray about it, and say “YES!” and add that child to their family. They are an inspiration to me! Most of the speakers at Refresh were women, so I was thankful (and so was my husband) to get a man’s thoughts on the whole experience. Besides, he was really funny, and got the audience laughing quite a bit.

Randy has not written any books on parenting adopted children (he should!), but he has authored and co-authored a few other books, including; A Guide to Biblical Manhood, Perspectives on Family Ministry  and Recovering Biblical Manhood & Womanhood.

a-guide-to-biblical-manhood perspectives-on-family-ministry recovering-biblical-manhood-and-womanhood

Randy is the Senior Vice President for Academic Administration for The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and a Senior Fellow at The Council On Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. You can find some of his sermons on, and you can find him on Twitter.


5. Arlyn Lawrence

Arlyn encouraged prayer over our children, as she talked about spiritual warfare and how it may or may not relate to our children’s behaviors. It was a really good class. I thought she covered Scripture so well, and I was inspired to pray and seek more wisdom from Scripture (these are good things!).

Arlyn has written two books; Prayer Saturated Kids and Parenting for the Launch:

prayer-saturated-kids parenting-for-the-launch

Arlyn can be found at her website, and at several Speaking Engagements. She is also on Twitter.

If you have adopted, and especially if you’re dealing with some hard behaviors, I highly encourage going to the Refresh Conference next year! You will be BLESSED! 🙂

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