It’s difficult to explain the profound impact of this retreat–on both volunteers and attendees. We as volunteers have spent the last 2 days debriefing about the experience, trying to find the best way to explain it to family and friends at home as we grapple with what we have seen and heard. We’ve been cautioned that not everyone will want the “full version” of our stories, and we may be surprised or disappointed when we learn who really does (or does not) want to hear details of the experience.
Together, we have experienced laughter and tears, joy and sorrow, despair and hope. We have learned the beauty of unity, laughter, medicinal tears, healing, love, and community. The volunteer team has been an example of team unity to the Global Women, who felt blessed to see how the volunteers loved on and cared for each other during this retreat. We, in turn, were blessed to catch a glimpse into their daily lives and the challenges they face, many of which are beyond what we can imagine.
How many times did the attendees say they need more emotional support and a feeling of connection? The Thrive retreats provide the opportunity for the Global Women to connect with each other and feel truly understood. Meanwhile, they are also able to share their stories with the volunteers, who may not have the same experiences but genuinely wish to understand and support the Global Women. The retreats provide a time for the women to feel heard and supported without fear of judgment, an all too infrequent occurrence in their lives.
In an ideal world, the Global Women would have their churches, agencies, family, and friends providing enough support to meet the need, but it isn’t always possible. That is why Thrive is vital to the survival and longevity of these Global Women as they serve cross-culturally. If you have not yet joined a retreat or supported Thrive, I would encourage you to think and pray about it. It will expand your worldview and provide the opportunity to minister to these amazing, beautiful women as they follow God’s will in their lives.