Written by Sherry Winters
Today it’s quieter! There’s less laughter! Yes, our precious attendees reluctantly departed yesterday after lunch. Now as we volunteers reflect, we are left with their stories reverberating in our hearts.
This is my third Thrive retreat. Each has truly been special in its own right. But, if I dare be honest, this one is definitely my favorite. One of the reasons is because the number of both the volunteers and attendees was smaller than my previous experiences.
The reduced numbers led to quicker, deeper bonding among all. Furthermore, since all guests, except for one, work in Africa, they truly understood each other’s lives. But even after living as a cross-cultural worker myself, it was important to listen to the unique stories of Africa.
As a foreign volunteer, it is hard to realize the fears of personal danger that some have experienced here. Nor could I fathom their encounters with fetishes, voodoo, and the curses that some have had cast upon themselves. Another brave lady shared the paralyzing horror of having someone break into their African apartment to steal their valuable electronics. Another fear is for the vulnerable lives of their children.
We heard many shocking stories of how African children are drawn into human trafficking! But some have been rescued heroically and given a new lease on life. These stories do bring hope to us volunteers, but, at the same time, bring a deep sadness to us who find it hard to imagine such a reality.
These haunting stories definitely underscore the incredible need for fervent, daily prayers to cover the continent of Africa and its global servants!!