Even before the retreat begins, new Thrive volunteers are preparing for their upcoming experience. From the assignment of an experienced mentor prior to travel to training videos to on-site preparation, every aspect of the retreat is bathed in prayer and planning. With women coming from all over the United States, sisters in Christ (most of whom haven’t met) come together over meals, in prayer, and interactive workshops. Strong bonds are formed quickly as the women participate in these different groups throughout the day.
As we participated in the interactive workshops today, we discussed the difference between processing thoughts internally and externally and how to be sensitive to those who process differently than us. We also learned how to appreciate silence within discussions, as the cross-cultural women may need time to become comfortable and feel safe sharing their hearts with their groups. Self-care teams split off to prepare for their different roles in caring for the attendees physically, spiritually, and mentally. During the retreat, women will be pampered with pedicures and color/makeup tips, bathed in prayer, provided one-on-one counseling and personal nutrition resources, and offered personal photography sessions as desired.
Through the eyes of one new volunteer (Mindy, who’s co-writing this blog post), the Thrive retreat is more about giving space and rest to the attendees than the constant busyness often experienced within other short-term opportunities. The focus is recognizing these women as sisters rather than global workers who often feel that they are placed on a pedestal with high expectations and little room for doubts or struggles. Our primary goal is the refreshment of a woman’s heart.
As retreat arrivals approach tomorrow afternoon, we volunteers are excited to welcome the global workers we have the honor of serving over the next few days.