Jun 18, 2012

Receiving God's Endless Love.

Lavished, we were.  With gifts, chocolate, gifts, chocolate, messages inspired by the Holy Spirit just for us, more gifts, more chocolate (almost a month later, I am just now coming off of my dove chocolate high!)   Our feet were rubbed.  Our toes painted.  We were prayed for in person and from afar.  It was overwhelming.  A connectedness ran through and among us like a web of yarn that we each held a spot on.  The tug of one person impacted the rest.  Women from all over the island serving the Lord in various ministries together in one room.

Karen salivating all over her bible while she receives a foot rub from the UH-mazing hands of Lisa!
Meleah's turn and I'm next!  

A special ministry called Pure Joy International hosted a retreat for 50 missionary women in the Dominican, Haiti and one special gal from Costa Rica in a 5 star hotel near La Romana, Dominican Republic.  I have two words for you: AIR CONDITIONING!

The view from our room (my girl Karen was my awesome roomie . . . I went to bed giggling with a big, cuh-razy smile on my face every night!) was

SUPER SUH-WEET!

And Vickie Arruda, founder of Pure Joy International, what a piece of work!  I think that God had a really good time when He created her!  She's a witty joy, sweet and tart like rhubarb pie, you know that little zing in the end that kind of kicks you in the pants?  That's her.   A Christian counselor in Arkansas whose "people group," those she was called to work with, is missionary women all over the world - how cool is that?  I am so thankful for her obedience to this call, for the way she speaks truth (that's the zing part), and how truly joyful and witty she is.  Thank you, Lord, for Vickie Arruda and for how you are using her and the women that partner with her at these retreats!

This is the D.R. team from Pure Joy International. Vickie is on the far left.  This team was DA BOMB! Thank you all! They had us laughing, crying, praising, surrendering, laughing some more . . . . 

Can I just tell you that every time we arrived at a destination (i.e. meeting room, dinner table, etc.) there was a special gift waiting for us: button necklaces, baked potato pouch for microwave, ear rings, water bottles, magnets, verses, etc. etc. and these are just to name a few! I think we counted that we received some sort of tangible gift 8 times a day x 4 days x 50 women!  That's 1600 gifts! Can you believe that?  And the really cool part was that people from various churches in the states provided the gifts and in addition had been praying for us specifically - each one! On the last day we received a stack of encouraging letters written to each of us from people at churches in the states - some people received letters from family members or their home church!  What a sweet touch that spoke volumes!  Furthermore, we received goodie bags put together by people in the states who loaded our bag up with items that we personally miss from the states and can't find here!  It was like Christmas morning in that room of women tearing open our customized bags and finding special treats inside!

The theme of the retreat was Endless Love, and the retreat team, women who had followed the leading of the Holy Spirit to be a part of this particular retreat, drenched us in messages that reminded us of God's immeasurable, unfathomable, grandiose LOVE.

"As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us." Psalm 103:12

The messages were M.E.A.T.Y.  We talked about spiritual warfare, God being a God of order and how our lives need to be ordered 1. God 2. Husband 3. Children 4. Ministry and how we sometimes get things out of order, comparison being the killer of joy, the redemption of the cross, where we are living (past, present or the future? You can only be in one box/place at a time, and God dwells in the present!) and SO MUCH MORE.  I am still unpacking all that we talked about and learning to apply new tools to my daily life.

Honestly, I could go on and on and on and on (kind of like I've already done - but then some!)

The Jarabacoa ladies (minus Melina).  What fun!

So here's the deal . . . if you know a missionary or your church sends missionaries out, please let them know about Pure Joy International because they are always praying about and looking for contacts in other countries for future retreats for missionary women.  Is the Lord laying someone on your heart? Don't delay!  Send an email NOW!  Furthermore, it took a team of people from all over the U.S. working to make gifts, send cards, pray for all the participants - maybe the Lord wants your church to partner with Pure Joy for one of these retreats!  The body of Christ is an amazing blessing when distance and differences aren't hindrances but blessings!  Thank you, Pure Joy!

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2 comments :

  1. Oh this has given me such a great idea on how my seet little girls at church can serve missionaries! LOVE this!

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  2. Every time I read this, it makes me cry- because all you all deserve all this and more. Love you mucho.

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