OGDEN -- There appears to be growing excitement for an upcoming free conference designed specifically for girls who are in seventh through 12th grades.
The event is the Not for Sale conference, May 4 and May 5, to be sponsored by the Canyon Road Assembly of God church.
Girls of all denominations are invited to the free event that will begin at 6 p.m. May 4 and run from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 5.
"We're excited to see the variety of evangelical churches that are coming. There are even at least two churches coming from Salt Lake City," said Rachel Johnson, who together with her husband, Jeremiah, serves as a pastor at the church. "It's been amazing to me how this has exploded."
Johnson and her husband are new to the area. But together with a team of women with similar beliefs, Johnson has held conferences a couple of times before in the Midwest, where they were well-attended.
"I just didn't know how it would be received, because we are new here," she said.
The event will feature three keynote speakers, including Johnson, who is known especially for two books she has written.
They are "God's Girl" and "Gabrielle's Journey."
"God's Girl" is a collection of writings on 20 different topics for girls, including abortion, overcoming sexual abuse and purity.
"Gabrielle's Journey" is the story of Johnson's 8-year-old daughter's struggle at life, which started when she was born 10 weeks premature.
Also speaking will be Justeina Brownlee, of Brookings, S.D., and Josie Carignan, of Dallas, Texas.
Brownlee is the author of six books, Bible studies and devotionals, as well as many free, online articles and resources.
She is the founder of True Identity Ministries, a traveling women's ministry team of authors and speakers who hold events for women and teens.
Carignan is the founder of rescueher.org, an effort to help the victims of human trafficking.
Besides the main speakers, there will be breakout sessions on a number of topics that will be led by local youth leaders.
"We'll be discussing purity and self-esteem, even how to handle friendships and bullies at school," Johnson said. "Everything revolves around not selling out to all these things."
Event highlights will include a carnival and store that will open up at the church Friday following a worship service.
"It's the only thing that costs the whole weekend," Johnson said.
The carnival will feature simple games, popcorn, two bounce houses and "all those things girls can participate in and have fun," Johnson said.
All the money raised will go to help raise money to fight human trafficking by supporting Sarah's Home, a place where those rescued from sex trades can go for rehabilitation. The home is in Calhoun, Colo.
The store will feature relevant books that participants can use to continue discussions in youth groups about purity and chastity, as well as "fun shopping" for trendy fashions, jewelry, T-shirts, hats and rings.
Another highlight will be a panel discussion by area youth pastors.
Girls participating will have a chance to text in their questions anonymously to the pastors, who will answer them on the spot, Johnson said.
A free lunch will be provided Saturday. Organizers have held fundraisers at her church to cover the cost.
And Johnson doesn't want mothers to think they aren't invited to attend with their daughters.
"Moms are welcome to come with their daughters," Johnson said. "A lot of moms have asked. It gives them some good conversations to start with their daughters."
More information about the conference is available at trueidentityteens.com. Those wishing to attend may RSVP from that site. Another source for information or to RSVP is to call Johnson directly at 605-413-3875.
Some youth groups are planning to spend the night at the church following the Friday, May 4, carnival.
Johnson said there still is some space at the church for those who wish to spend the night. Contact her to make arrangements.
Johnson said RSVPs are not required to attend the conference itself, but organizers would appreciate knowing how many to expect ahead of time.
Canyon Road Assembly of God is at 1390 Canyon Road in Ogden.