When a Mama of 4 Gets Her FIRST SHOWER EVER... Retreat JOY!
I have come to accept one thing - while our situation continues to be painful.
I can trust that we serve a GOOD GOD.
And the experience of this retreat has reminded me - HE is a powerful and loving GOD!
And, so now I can tell you about that good GOD while I continue to beg HIM to show His goodness in our own situation.
We receive new ladies into Girls With Vision only 3 times a year. As they join us, we commit to walking with them in Bible Study for 4 months, finishing with a retreat together. All this happens before anyone starts a business, bead work, or other practical boosts...
One thing has become clear to us as we have walked with mamas over the last 2 years. Until GOD changes hearts, practical help doesn't seem to really make a long-term difference in people's lives! We have had many business start-ups fail, many ladies make choices that make it impossible for them to improve their lives - even while someone is trying to hold their hand, train and assist them financially.
Until the hurts and habits inside are healed, those same hurts and habits seem to hold back.
The best answer we have is GOD'S WORD and we have seen HIM change lives - heal hearts - bring hope!
Then, as we continue to disciple, there is a solid place to stand.
On Our Way
So,the retreat we recently went on was with a new group of ladies - precious ones who had joined us 4 months earlier.
(This season also included 7 men - husbands and family of our Girls With Vision ladies - I'll tell that part of the story in another blog)
We had walked with them through intensive Bible Study for some time now... we knew their stories, their hurts, their victories.
During our season of study, they were finding GOD'S LOVE! As they learned those beautiful characteristics of GOD, consistent throughout the whole BIBLE, they began to see the true GOD - our God of
For most of these ladies, this is the first time to be away from family and responsibilities - EVER.
...They are cooked for
...Real flushing toilets (which we have to teach many how to use)
...One mama, when called for tea time, was in the shower - she had never had a shower before that weekend! She said - please, I can have tea any time - I just want to stand under this water a little longer!
And this retreat community - this time to focus on GOD's love, prayer, relationships with women who are committing to walk side by side - this brings such joy to our Girls With Vision! Hearts are able to open up even more - tears flow - as well as laughter... freely!
And we humbly watched GOD at work!
Girls were able to open up like never before.
Moms asked questions - things I wish no woman would ever have to face! ... "What if your husband is a drunkard and doesn't provide food while another man is willing to help you and your children in exchange for sex?"
Prostitutes talked about their trapped lives and asked for help to find a new way...
We had to find medication for one who was on severe withdrawal from alcohol... she stood strong and came through it all with a peace and calm that could only come from GOD!
Confessions... Prayers... Worship... Bonding....
I wish I could tell every story - but I think that would break some rule about how long a blog should actually be! So I'll leave it here...
And a final note of THANKS!!
Without MANY of you, this retreat would never have happened!
We have weighed the balance of the cost of this retreat over and over. The only thing we ask of the ladies is that they provide their own fare to get to the retreat (about $3.00 USD). Even that is a huge stretch for some of them to come up with!
Every retreat has such an impact on individual's lives that we feel it is important to keep.
So, although our normal day to day activities are self sustaining through our jewelry project, three times a year, we rely heavily on donations from people who walk with us at Girls With Vision. And, once again, through each of you who sacrificed and gave, GOD came through and we had the funds to make this happen!
We want thank each person who helped to make this happen!
We are praying to find a retreat center that will be willing to give us a reduced rate for our next retreat (up until now, even though we are a charity ministry, we have been paying the same rates that any group would pay to go on a retreat). Already, we have a long list of women wanting to join us in January and we are THRILLED! -yet, in the backs of our minds, we are calculating the cost of that retreat and feeling a little overwhelmed...
We'd love it if you would pray about this with us!