Thursday, November 1, 2012

Pure Joy International

Last week I had to opportunity to spend a few days in Prague at a retreat for missionary women mainly from Europe but a few were also from Africa and Lebanon. A group of 15 women from 4 different states in America...Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas and South Carolina...came to lead yhe conference. They led us in times of worship, teaching, encouragement, fellowship and just a lot of fun.

The first night Vickie, the main leader, told us that one of 3 things (or all 3) things would happen by the end of our time together. 1)We would be affirmed in what we were doing. 2)We would be challenged in our walk with The Lord. 3)We would be convicted of something we need to deal with. I can honestly say that I felt all 3 clearly.

First, I think just being with other women who are all doing this odd life too is an encouragement. We are able to hear what's happening in our cities and countries. We are able to stop and pray for one another immediately. We can cry together and laugh together. There was definitely a feeling of affirmation from that. On the last day at lunch, we were given a group picture and a stack of envelopes with cards in them. I thought they would be from random people who had been praying for me/us during this time. However I was so pleasantly surprised to open them and read they were from some of my closest and dear even from my sister. It was so sweet to read their words and be affirmed in what we are doing.

Second, I was challenged to live my life daily trusting God. I really struggle in this area. I do not like to not know what is going to happen or how it will happen. This year is the year I have dreaded since we signed up to come to Poland. Moving to a new city and knowing no one and having to start everything from scratch. It was a stressful year. However, about 2-3 months ago, I realized that God had provided everything we needed. A great house, friends in our neighborhood for our kids as well as us. He gave us a language teacher and the girls great schools and teachers. Our church is amazing and He continues to open doors for us to serve.

Before one of our sessions, I found my seat and sat down. I looked across the table at one of the leader's name tag. Her name was Faith. I thought, wow! faith. That is what God is really teaching me. Faith. Then she got up and spoke. And what did she speak on? Faith. Her name. Most of the sessions were just like that. Something I was thinking about and praying for. The God would speak through the speaker straight to my heart. It was wonderful to be challenged like this. I'm praying that each day when I'm tempted to freak out, I will look back and remember this time.

Third, conviction. I think this word may have gotten to me most of all. I am so prideful and hate to admit when I'm wrong. I don't often stop and apologize to God and ask for forgiveness. But we spent an evening doing this. I really needed to deal with this issue. Daily I fail and daily I need grace and forgiveness. I'm going to spend more time confessing sin in prayer instead f asking for things.

God also allowed so many of my friends from the field to be there. I didn't feel like I had enough time to spend with everyone like I would like to have. But I did have some with each of them. I'm so thankful for that. I also got to meet new friends. It was a special time. I'm so thankful to anyone who prayed for me. God answered your prayers.

Here are a few pics mainly of my new friends and one of my sweet friend Medea.