Written by Linda Oury

Photo by Karyn Ward

How would you go about meeting the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of nearly 70 women serving in 25 different countries at a retreat designed just for them? Thrive takes a unique approach! Focusing on the 5 love languages of Acts of Service, Words of Affirmation, Physical Touch, Receiving Gifts, and Quality Time, Thrive structures the retreat to care well for attendees. 

In the pedicure room, one woman told me about her adopted son born with defects that will be present his whole life. With joy, she told me an amazingly sweet story about how he had asked forgiveness for calling a bully a bad name after the bully had actually hurt him. This boy may not excel in school, but what a striking example he is of Christ-like love!! When we finished her pedicure, we prayed for him. 

Prior to the retreat, women could list items they might like as gifts from the States since those can be hard to find where they live. One woman didn’t send a list; I was to buy for her so just chose random items. One “happened“ to be gluten-free bars. “How did you know that’s the only kind I could eat?” she asked. Of course, I did not know that detail, but God did! She was also thrilled with the gift for another reason: her mom died earlier this year. Tearing up, she said, “My dad didn’t think of sending a birthday gift after mom died; somehow this one feels like it is from her.” Wow. 

From the Physical Therapists, we hear stories of women learning techniques to care for themselves.

Quality Time has come through intentional prayer times, trained counselors, and spiritual directors dedicating an hour to anyone who signs up.

The art room provides another way to process important issues.

Thrive “gets” what the participants need and does so in simple, yet beautiful ways! 

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