2017 Croatia Retreat | A New Volunteer’s Perspective

The Foundation of a Thrive Retreat 

The rugged terrain impressed us as we drove from the airport to our hotel. Scrub brush covers hills of solid rock. Rocky islands dot the sea across from our hotel. Many buildings of the region have been rebuilt from quarries in surrounding hills after the rubble caused by the siege in 1991. Locals have pictures posted in town to remind tourists of that siege and how the town withstood it behind the stone wall and fortress. This theme of the rocks feeds seamlessly into our experience as new volunteers leaning hard into our Savior. So many scriptures and songs jump to mind. “A mighty fortress is our God.” “On Christ the solid rock I stand; all other ground is sinking sand.”

Thrive leadership has built the foundation of the retreat on prayer, following the leading of the Holy Spirit. As I write this, we are still in the preparation part of the retreat. Global women arrive this afternoon and the excitement is palpable. During the past two days (can it really only have been that long?) the leadership has modeled and scheduled prayer time. We spend quiet time in personal reflection and prayer while leaders come behind us and lay hands on us. We are divided into prayer groups and each day spend an hour or more in prayer. As need arises, spontaneous prayer over an individual happens throughout the day. Our volunteer training comes with multiple admonitions to be in prayer. We are trained to save time during small group time for prayer at the end but also to pray throughout the meeting as the Spirit leads. In our training on giving pedicures (or foot washing as one leader calls it), we are encouraged to listen to each woman’s story and pray over them.

During our first time of silent prayer the Spirit led me to Psalm 18 that brought to mind the strength, solidity, reliability of God. This foundation, this stronghold of God, holds the focus for volunteers of the Thrive retreat.  

“I love you, O Lord, my strength. 

The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer. My God is my rock in whom I take refuge. My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”

Psalm 18:1-2

©2017 Thrive