In the wee hours of Saturday morning, the last of the 28 volunteers made their way to the hotel in Lima to catch a few hours of sleep. As morning dawned, the group gathered to begin spiritual preparation for our guests, who will arrive mid-Monday.
The volunteers come from backgrounds and skill sets as varied as their hometowns. Tina, Rachel, Jessica, and Ruth Ann are young professionals. Karyn and Shelly are empty nesters. Carol Anne and Ronnie are retired-but-not-really-retired. Karla, Linda, and Jill have lived and worked cross-culturally, and Laura and Nadine are getting the chance to use more of their Spanish. Some, like Stephanie and Dawn, come with professional designations after their names. Others like Deana and Joy, have years of ministry experience, and still others come with a heart for prayer and a willingness to serve.
Just as we believe God hand-picked the ladies who will attend, He hand-picked the volunteers, who don’t live in a vacuum. One volunteer shared, “I’ve volunteered before, but I believe God has made me more receptive to the needs of the women we’ll meet this week because of the difficult personal events I’ve experienced in the last year.”
The retreat preparations have already been saturated in prayer, and yet it’s not enough. As the volunteers came together—many meeting for the first time—they devoted several hours to spiritual readiness, spending time in personal sanctuary and prayer for one another.