Over a year ago the Lord put it on my heart to host a retreat for the Free Methodist women who live in the Brasília area. Event planning is NOT my strength so this has been an act of faith from the very beginning.
Ideas started churning while we were on home assignment. I received a little booklet on prayer at General Conference. Then I found a great Bible study on prayer in a thrift store. Then a Sunday school class gave a generous gift to help pay for expenses. When we returned to Brazil I met with one of our pastor’s wives who enthusiastically volunteered to take care of the kitchen/cooking. A new member of her church offered to do all the games. (Oh, and she just happened to also be a talented decorator who made the retreat center a place of beauty). A gifted Bible study teacher who I knew when we lived in Cuiabá had recently moved to Brasília and was thrilled when I asked her to be our speaker.
And the list goes on. Every single time I was tempted to doubt, the Lord reassured me that the retreat was going to be just fine (with or without me)!
Women from every possible level of faith came to the gathering. Some had never set foot in a church, but were open and eager to learn about Jesus. Although França did the bulk of the teaching, the Lord helped me to speak with clarity and power for my two sessions. The Lord used an activity that I had planned as a time-filler (a brief class on Bible art journaling) in an amazing way. Several of the women who can barely read or write loved the idea of responding artistically to Bible passages. Who knew that that “dumb” class would be so helpful and meaningful? Jesus knew.
It was a wonderful time of fellowship and faith-strengthening. All of the Free Methodist churches in the area will be stronger and better for it. Thank you, thank you to the many who prayed for us.