October 24, 2011
Retreat? No! Go FORWARD!
This weekend I had the privilege of hitching a ride to Brazil with some fellow missionary ladies from Asuncion. We enjoyed the five-hour drive, sharing about life in general and getting to know each other. Why? Women of the Harvest, "a ministry of support and encouragement for women serving cross-culturally," invited us to a retreat they were hosting for South and Central American gals just like us. I've been to more youth retreats, couples' retreats, and women's retreats than I can count, but this was my first time to go to a missionary retreat. I expected that it would be a time of refreshing, rest, fellowship, and Bible study. Kinda like a cold glass of water on a hot day. I totally underestimated this weekend. It was more like riding a barrel over Niagara Falls!
From the moment we arrived at the hotel in a city just over the border in Brazil, there were women waiting to greet us with hugs and help us get settled. The hugs never stopped. They showered us with care and love and concern, and nurtured us mentally, physically, and spiritually.
We were ushered as soon as we checked-in, to tables where we could register for pampering options, which included massage, a haircut from a makeover specialist, a color consultation to determine your best choices in clothes and makeup colors, and pedicures. Then we were also offered the opportunity to sign up for an appointment with a counselor for a private consultation, and with prayer partners for a time of intercession.
|Devotion in the hammock|
I REALLY enjoyed the massage, the time getting to know women who "get it" because they, too, are missionary women, and finding out that I am a "spring" and should wear warm, yellow-toned shirts. And by the time my haircut came along, I'd decided that I wanted it to reflect the change I'd gone through in my spirit, to be light and free and fun, and not so worn down by the lies I'd begun to believe about myself.
Well, you fellow curly-q's know that not just anybody can cut our hair. So I arrived a couple of hours early to watch Shirley, the WonderGirl of makeovers, cutting the other ladies' hair. This gal has a talent like nothing I've ever seen. She was able to look at each lady, analyze her face shape, her body, and her hair, and determine what cuts would look best. During this observation time, we talked about the experiences she's had as a volunteer with WOTH Retreats. She explained that God often tells her what to pack because He wants her to give away her clothes during the retreat. After telling several stories of giving away stuff, she said, "And this morning, God told me to bring this shirt with me while I was cutting hair because I'd need to give it to someone, and I'm sure that's you." I'm sporting that shirt in the picture below, which showed up on the WOTH blog. Later Shirley came up to me to give me a beautiful necklace. What a heart! All the volunteers were like this, just full of love spilling over onto us, and sharing their warmth and care with us every minute we were there.
|after my makeover, with my small group leader, Mary Ellen|