Welcome to our journey. The purpose of my blog is not only to journal our life experience, but also to share what God is doing in our lives. I do not claim to be an expert in parenting, marriage, or even the Bible. But I do have a heart to share my experiences and the true love that God has for each and every one of us. You can read our testimony by clicking on the top of the page. And if you'd like to know about the Homeless Ministry my husband started, you can click on the Homeless tab. I hope you will comment freely on my posts and in my community.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

A retreat like no other

Tuesday and Wednesday we were a part of a women's retreat for about 100 ladies. They were all Christians. Over 500 women signed up and wanted to come but there wasn't room for all of them. I wish we could've stayed and just had retreat after retreat so everyone could come. Some had to travel more than 8 hours to get there. They are hungry for a touch from God.

It's funny in India...things start when they start. We had an agenda but that went out the window right from the start! For those of you who know me, you understand that this was a little bit out of my comfort zone. Being a part of planning a retreat with several unknowns was a learning experience for me. Although I must say, this was one of the most wonderful retreats I have ever been a part of!

When we arrived I was a little surprised to see this...

Everyone takes there shoes off and leaves them outside. While I have learned that is the case with homes, I didn't expect it in a church. They do this out of respect and reverence for the Lord's House. Very cool...once you get past walking barefoot on dirty floors. I hate walking barefoot on dirty floors. Actually, the floors in the homes are really clean. But taking my shoes off and then walking up these dirty steps...not happening! So...I took them off at the top of the steps instead. :)

When we walked into the church the women stood up and gave a warm welcome. After being introduced we worshiped. I love listening to these women worship. It's pure and rich in love. They had no worship band, no music, no instruments, and no words on the screen. It was just their voices and maybe some clapping. It's was truly heavenly.

Even though most of them don't speak English, they all greet with "Praise the Lord" followed by a warm hand shake and a hug too. I loved spending time with these women. The theme of the retreat was "God's goodness in the midst of our brokenness". Indeed the Lord is good! Although we are on opposite ends of the globe we all share in the brokenness of this world. We all want and need to be encouraged and that was what we did for each other. "My plan" was to go over there and comfort them. While I feel we did some of that, it was so much more! They blessed us, prayed for us, and encouraged us. That is something I was not expecting but it was amazing. We poured into each other. We intended to fuel the fire for those in India and they fueled our fire as well.

Honestly, I was considering cancelling our women's retreat for 2013 and instead waiting until 2014 to do another one. But after this retreat, I feel energized. I see again the importance of women gathering in the name of the Lord and I'm excited to do so. There is something amazing about spending a weekend being soaked and immersed in God's goodness. I can't wait to see what God will do!

I thought I would share with you a little video (it's actually mainly an audio) of the women singing in worship. This was probably the most "mellow" of the songs. Most of their songs are very upbeat and they love to include actions in them...it was so much fun!

The other thing that really amazed me was the generosity of these women. When we arrived they gave us beautiful handmade place mats, coasters, and napkins. I can't wait to have a dinner using them. At the end of the retreat, the women gave us more beautiful gifts. First these beautiful flower necklaces. Yes, they were real flowers.

Next they gave us bangles. Bangles are very popular and most women, children, and even babies have bangles on. The thing about the bangles, they take a while to get on and off. Indian women are very small and thus...so are the bracelets. Here are two women who were putting them on me.

I learned that my right hand is slightly bigger than my left one. LOL! Also, there is an "art" to putting them on and causing the least amount of pain. Some people are better at that than others! :) I will cherish my gifts and remember these women every time I use them. What a blessing!

2 Corinthians 5:17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

Lord, I lift these sisters of mine up to you right now. Continue to renew them and encourage them. May you touch them and bless them with a Holy Kiss. May they continue to seek You. Lord, protect them and surround them with Your love. In Jesus' Name...Amen!

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