Excitement was in the air as the greeters stood in the hotel lobby waiting to welcome the arriving retreat attendees. Our faces could hardly contain our smiles because the waiting was almost over! We meant it when we told each global woman we were glad she was there and we’d been praying for her.
I will never forget the woman I will call Molly. As she entered the hotel lobby, she looked exhausted. Her luggage appeared to be weighing her down even more. As we made eye contact, her eyes filled with tears…
My own eyes unexpectedly reciprocated, so I hugged her and teasingly said she needed to stop that right now or I wasn’t going to be able to do my job. Giggling, we began our tour of the hotel and self-care options. I sensed she really needed to be here, though I didn’t know her.
I was pleased and surprised I later discovered Molly was assigned to my small discussion group. My heart went out to her as I heard her story of how she cares for others in Asia. Her job sounded exhausting. She loved what she was doing, but it was obviously taking a toll on her. Molly was overwhelmed with gratitude for the beautiful retreat setting and confessed she could never afford to come to such a lovely place. She felt spoiled. As she struggled to take it all in, we reminded her it was an expression of God’s extravagant love for her. Global workers are “professional givers,” so often it isn’t easy for them to receive the free pedicures, massages, counseling, color analysis and haircuts. It’s a challenge for them to graciously enjoy and truly receive from others when they are so used to being the givers!
During our group time I asked each one what they needed from this retreat. Molly confessed she needed emotional restoration. During the four retreat days, I watched Molly change as God used many people to pour into her life. She was transformed not only emotionally but also spiritually and physically. There was a complete change in her demeanor.
On the last night of the furlough retreat we do a fashion show with the women wearing the clothing they selected from the clothing boutique. Several women pranced down the aisle in step to the music. Suddenly, Molly appeared, wearing the soft blue dress and jacket I had donated to the boutique. She looked stunning! Molly danced down the aisle in joy, throwing her head back as she rocked out with her arms above her head. She was dramatically transformed! I will forever hold in my memory the before-and-after picture of this one global worker, transformed right before my eyes.
God is so faithful to answer our prayers and give these women exactly what each one needs. I am so blessed I get to be a part of it!