Sunday, March 26, 2017

We've Retreated, We've rejoiced!

Thank you for praying for the Beautiful Me retreat! 

Did God draw the ladies to himself?
Groups of mothers and daughters led by teenage girls from last years program gathered around radios listening to the Word of God in Hausa and responding to questions they had all been taught to ask. The answers were insightful and deep.
In the evening on the first day, I had forgotten my computer to show the short film for discussion and pictures from the day.  We made a new plan, and God did something beautiful.  Scripture songs were created using Bible verses about God's closeness to us.  God's word does not return empty, so we believe that God did draw people to himself.  The bilingual, choreographed songs presented the next morning spoke of God's commitment to being close to us.

The moment a drama ended and everyone was silent, I interjected with, "How did she get free from the "ropes?" was the beginning of a powerful discussion on Jesus and his grace to free us and love us regardless of our weakness or goodness.  I asked, "So, if we do more for God, will he love us more?" and saw a few heads nodding, others not sure. "When we follow him every day, doing good things and loving others, will he love us more?"  Again, that confused affirmation of my statement revealed a lie that I struggle to fight every day!  In this group, I wasn't alone in my battle.
With deep conviction I declared, "No!" God loves you. It doesn't matter how much you do for him or how many times you fail.  HE LOVES YOU, he delights in you, and he sings over you.

Following this, we split the groups into mommies and daughters and gave opportunities for renewing our commitment to Christ. Many girls recommitted their lives to Jesus or asked him to take over for the first time. Praise God!  With time, the mother's too shared openly their needs and prayed for each other.

Did he draw them to each other?
On the first evening, we watched the mother/daughter groups perform their "secret handshake" and present their dramas or Bible verses they had prepared for the retreat.  Seeing them join together to perform revealed relationships that were developing and deepening in beautiful ways.  We saw further connections being made as mothers and daughters confessed and forgave each other, did audio Bible studies together, and created necklaces, which were worn proudly for the rest of the retreat. 

God answered prayers in so many ways that I didn't expect.  I felt so much peace throughout, and was blessed as I saw God revealing himself to all of us in personal ways.  Thank you for your part in
God getting all the glory out of this retreat!

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