The attendees have left, and now as a volunteer team, we turn to processing all that we have heard and experienced. As our new friends departed there was such a wide range of emotions. We are oh so thankful for being allowed into their lives, if even for just a glimpse. We are thankful to have heard their stories, enjoyed their laughter, and listened as they cried. We have seen God in action in innumerable ways. What a good and faithful Father He is!
Many of the volunteers are serving with Thrive for the first time. They are learning to cope with the unexpected realities of the lives of women serving in the field. They are realizing that we as women, mothers, wives, and daughters, often deal with many of the same things regardless of where we live and serve. The women who attended the retreat often deal with parenting issues, fear, loneliness, and anger (and many other familiar emotions). Yet they do so far from home and family. Thrive retreats provide a safe place for them to come and talk through those things, and the volunteers carry a heavy responsibility at times as they gently hold those stories and emotions and as they pray for women in need of encouragement and refreshment.
One of the gifts of debriefing is walking through our emotional responses to those we have served and their stories. We prepare to come back to our homes and share the vital need of encouragement for those to whom Thrive ministers. We came to serve others but we too have been transformed. Hearts have been forged together. Lives have been changed. And most importantly, God receives the glory for His faithfulness to us all!