Written by Cindy Judge
Photo by Margaret Henry
Some short term service teams meet for the first time at an airport en-route to their place of service somewhere in the world. Their orientation is often the first day before getting to work. Many don’t have much time to be trained or bond as a group.
The 30-some volunteers for a Thrive Retreat meet onsite and happily receive three days of training to prepare them for serving the 100+ attending global workers who attend. Their confidence in meeting needs grows each hour.
And if you saw our suitcases, you would ask what does a box of Cheerios, a bag of Kraft caramels, and a bag of chocolate chips have to with meeting needs. Meeting spiritual needs, physical needs, and emotional needs are among Thrive Retreats goals. Gifts of all kinds symbolize our desire to pour out a measure of “LAVISH LOVE” on these global women.
Love comes in the form of a many things. First-time volunteers of this retreat become a cohesive, bonded team of volunteers ready and waiting to serve. Today has been filled with learning about facilitating a small group of women which follows a message brought by a global worker who speaks to them. We desire to create a safe place to process the talks while they share their lives with one another.
We, as volunteers, are now feeling more prepared to love and encourage and listen to the needs of the global workers. We have learned the best way to ask questions and pray for needs. We walked through a creative workshop about how an internal processor and an external processor will participate differently in their small group…both as leaders and as members. Most of us feel more equipped to create a “haven environment” as a Thrive retreat aims to create at a retreat.
One way to express a warm welcome is by showering the women with gifts. Thrive asked the attendees to send a list of their favorite snacks and food items that they or their children crave while being far from their U.S. home base. Stuffing mix, Butterfingers, and dark chocolate covered pretzels have made their way across the ocean in one suitcase and each woman will go back to their homes with food from their wish list and feeling a little bit more loved.
We are trusting that God will show them His lavish love in many ways over these next four days.