Closing insights on how God moved through our prayers for this retreat….
Nine women who had never met before sat around a circle on the first evening of the retreat. Two were serving in France (one young mom, one close to retirement); two in Germany (one involved with Syrian refugees, the other working with our American military);one in Italy (with the possibility of partnering with the Facilitator’s close friends in Southern Italy); another in Scotland with a counseling ministry; lastly, a lady in Portugal serving in youth ministry. It was the co-facilitator’s first trip outside the US and had left her 3 little ones with her husband. The facilitator was a veteran with Thrive. Together, they represented 75 years of investment in Europe for the Gospel.
Each one came with tiredness, yet hopeful expectation of being renewed, refreshed and encouraged by the teaching, fellowship (with others who could relate) and a craving for pizza and gelato.
The group discussions touched on how one would define “thrive” versus surviving, and what does abiding/dwelling in Him look like realistically. They spent time praying that the truths taught would become more and more realities in their lives. As they shared their struggles, victories and heart cries many tears, laughs, and prayers were shared.
On the last day, the facilitator handed out the 30 Days of Prayer that had their first names on it. Without exception, EACH prayer seemed to be specifically hand crafted for each woman! One, in particular who had shared that this last year’s theme had been TRANSITION burst into tears as her prayer was specifically for grace to handle transition. The Lord then continued to magnify His intimate interest in this same lady as she had prayed that she would “clothe” herself with compassion and kindness (also one of the teachings they were challenged with…but under her breath she kind of muttered to the Lord, “but it would be nice if I actually had a new literal wardrobe too…” During break she was given two new pieces of clothing that were her perfect style and color! He knows, He cares, He loves to bless!
Here are two quotes from ladies in this group.
I cannot express how much this time away to rest and refresh has meant to me. Thanks for thinking of so many ways to love on us! It is so hard for me as a “giver” to “receive”. So glad you made it possible for me to refill my empty cup. I return to Germany refreshed and ready to pour into the lives of those who await me. Joy Bissonnette
Many of these women are carrying the weight of life in their host country. One global worker (Germany) shared how refugees are flooding her host country.
“We share what we’ve got,” she says, but sometimes it doesn’t feel like enough.
Her young son has a friend who’s living on the streets. “It’s one thing when you
don’t know them, but when it’s your son’s friend and he has a face and a name…”
She hasn’t cried in a year, but found freedom to process, counsel, and cry to release this baggage at the retreat.
And I’ll end with this quote: ” I will never forget this special time when so many came together to be the hands and feet of Jesus to us—and you sent them! Forever grateful for you! May God overflow His blessings on you!” Sending a huge hug, Hillary Skaff, Scotland
Thank you to everyone of you who have prayed this journey with the Thrive team. May He take each request and continue to answer it in ways that glorify His Name!
Author of 30 Days of Prayer