Written by Cindy Judge
Photo by Margaret Henry
Today the global women arrived at the hotel in Dubrovnik, Croatia… a beautiful ancient city on the Adriatic Sea. Some had traveled on two, three, or even four different planes to get to the Thrive retreat. As small groups met, one was made up of women from different countries and even continents. What would they have in common?
What a joy to meet the women and get to know their stories. We had three hours together. In our circle of chairs sitting knee to knee, the women began sharing their lives. They heard stories that you soon realized had common threads. Having young children in a different country is something almost all had in common. Finding emotional support, not knowing the local language very well, neighbors not having any interest in spiritual things, lots of daily trips out (with kids in tow) to find groceries and supplies were all familiar realities.
But added to these every day stressors, we heard more serious stories: the loss of a child, the adoption of twins from a neighboring country, difficulty with new churches in an anti-Christian culture. Many of these stories ended with the reality of women admitting that they were close to burn out. Some dabbed tears. Life on the “field” is hard.
It struck me once again that the cost of following Jesus to tell people the good news is high. It requires great trust and confidence in God’s call to go and proclaim the good news.
We will be creating a safe environment where they can share their needs honestly in small group discussions and to hear God’s word from the speaker these next three days of the retreat.
May God help us foster and grow an environment that will be one that God will use to meet the needs of these 100 global workers. May they go back home renewed and re-invigorated to keep on.