Over the weekend of Nov. 8 – 10, Fayette County will be visited by one of the most inspirational and fascinating families in America, the Barrick family. They will be the keynote speakers at the 2019 Grace Life Conference, which is hosted by Grace Community Church and is open to the public.
The theme of this year’s conference is “Thrive and Survive,” a topic the Barrick’s are especially qualified to teach. Although their story has been told by the NBC Today Show and other major media platforms, the Barricks are not celebrities. They are a family that has dealt with tragedies so extreme that it is amazing to see and hear the story of hope which they share with others. Their experiences, and how they responded to them as a family, are a portrait of what it means to thrive and survive. Their teaching ministry brings great insight on how to strengthen marriages, build healthy children and grandchildren, and discover the road of restoration for hurting families and individuals.
On a crisp November evening in 2006, the Barricks were driving in their family van and were just one mile from safely reaching their home. Racing toward them at 80 mph and with no headlights, a truck being operated by a drunk driver slammed into them head-on. All four of the Barricks, husband and wife Andy and Linda, their 15 year old daughter, Jen, and her younger brother Josh, were critically injured and had to be rushed to four different hospitals. Jen suffered the most severe life-threatening injuries, and it was feared she would not live through the night. But thanks to thousands of prayers and the healing hand of God, Jen survived, as did Andy, Linda and Josh.
To say the accident was life-changing would be an understatement. Each of the family members faced a long road to recovery and Jen is now legally blind and still struggles with memory issues. The aftermath of the accident did not just bring the challenge of coping with physical pain and prolonged therapy. The Barricks were confronted with emotional and spiritual trials that could easily have destroyed their marriage and left the children bitter and disillusioned with life and with God.
To talk with the Barricks today is to talk to a family that understands what it means to thrive and survive. When asked how this is possible after having endured an unspeakable trauma, they are quick to point to their faith in God, His sustaining grace, and the wisdom and counsel they continually find in the Bible. This is the foundation upon which they have developed a ministry called “Hope Out Loud.” Every year the Barricks bring Hope Out Loud to numerous churches, schools, radio and television programs. Their books have also brought hope and encouragement to tens of thousands of people.
All four of the Barricks will be speaking at the 2019 Grace Life Conference. Andy and Linda will be speaking on marriage and parenting and on how to successfully face the trials and difficulties of life. Josh is a graduate of Liberty University which he attended on a baseball scholarship. He will be meeting with Junior High and Senior High students to encourage them and equip them with tools that are helpful for coping with the pressures often faced by young people today. Jen will be assisting her parents and her brother by sharing portions of her remarkable story.
The Grace Life Conference, which begins Friday, Nov. 8 at 7 p.m. and runs through Sunday morning, will be held at Grace Community Church which is located at 525 South Glenn Ave. in Washington C.H. Attendance is free and there is no registration requirement. The public is invited to attend any or all of the sessions. Information about the conference, including schedule and topics, can be found on the church’s website at www.gracecommunity.net. Questions can also be directed to the church office at (740) 333-5433.