In 2015, Belinda came to her first Thrive retreat as an attendee. Although she had done all that she’d been taught concerning reentering and readjusting to her passport culture, she felt very discouraged and disillusioned. After 32 years serving overseas, returning to what had once been home now felt strange, dark, and foreboding. She just couldn’t understand her place anymore. She made the choice to sign up for a counseling session at the retreat with no real idea of whether it would even help. In just one short hour, God used the volunteer counselor to reassure and comfort her. Belinda said, “For the first time, I had hope again!” She was encouraged to find a counselor when she returned home that could listen and reassure her that what she was experiencing was not abnormal.
Since that day when her new journey began, Belinda has volunteered at two Thrive retreats in order to share the encouragement and healing she experienced. This year, unexpectedly, she was asked last-minute to attend the retreat in Beaver Creek. Though it may not have been her plan to attend, it was certainly God’s beautiful plan for her. On the first day, as the volunteers gathered to get to know one another, Belinda realized that the very counselor who had met her need and given her hope years ago was also serving at this retreat! For the first time since that painful season, she was able to tell this woman “Thank you” and give her a hug.
The Lord blesses not only the attendees through the ministry of Thrive, but He greatly encourages and uplifts the volunteers as well. By giving them the privilege to participate in the work that He is already doing in the hearts and lives of His global workers, He also brings healing and wholeness to the volunteers’ own stories. Sometimes He does it by bringing them full circle.