Memories of Spring Retreat Part Two…Jennifer
Edited by Lola – London
I was invited by my childhood friend – Valery (she is also known as Dorothy by other people but I call her Valery) to a women’s retreat she was organizing. Although Valery had told me about the Women’s Ministry, I was a bit down
within myself as I was going through some personal challenges, but decided to honour Valery’s invitation to the retreat and make the best out of the opportunity presented to me.
Upon arrival at Oxfordshire, the scenery in which the barn was located was so beautiful and peaceful I felt relaxed but still a bit nervous as I didn’t know what to expect.
As soon as I walked into the barn through the kitchen, all the ladies came from the sitting room to welcome me and Valery’s’ mum, as we both travelled together to the retreat. Seeing all these ladies and their smiling faces, my nervousness melted. One of the ladies helped me with my travelling bag and showed me to the room I was going to be
sleeping in. The room was an en-suite with two beds. I couldn’t believe it! My own room with toilet and shower. I was shown round the barn, the various rooms, the open garden and the fields with sheep and the beautiful trees blossoming with flowers.
The next day (Saturday) we all sat round the table for a delicious meal that was prepared by some of the ladies. One of the dishes was an African delicacy known as ‘Jollof rice’. It tastes different but I enjoyed it. Everyone had to serve one another on the table and the atmosphere was beautiful, with lots of laughter, joy and memories shared round the table.
After lunch, we had an activity designed to show team work among women. We had to design and make a badge for someone we did not know. We also made an inspirational book marker, placing it in a gift bag we filled with various toiletries. All the art and craft materials were given to us, the machine for the badge making was so heavy to pull down it needed two people to work with.
One of the things I enjoyed after taking time and skills to make this gift item was picking a name from a basket and that was the person we had to give the gift to. The beautiful lady I picked was lovely and full of God’s wisdom. We took pictures together, and, after giving our gifts, Valery explained that the person we gave gift to will be our prayer partner for the rest of the year until next year’s spring retreat.
Whoa! I felt elated in my spirit as I had wanted to know the other women, especially the ones from London. Now I have a prayer partner for the whole year. As soon as we finished the lunch activity, we were given opportunity to relax and I and some other ladies decided to take a walk in the field. I went up close to where the sheep were and basked in the cool afternoon breeze. While out in the field, some of the ladies were taking pictures of the scenery.
Oh! How wonderful it was to be in the company of Women of God singing, dancing, praying and sharing the word of God. Time stood still as we felt the awesome presence of God among us. One of the ladies stood on a chair and was clapping the tambourine; I found this funny but in a loving way, seeing how passionate women are for God.
Remember how I stated earlier that I felt low just before coming on this retreat? I tell you, after the experience of Saturday night until the early hours of Sunday morning, my spirit was overjoyed. And now, even while at home when I sense myself getting down, all I do is take myself back to God and the singing of the songs and hymns at the retreat. I also got a specific prayer card with bible verses that speak directly to me and this guides me.
So far, I won’t trade the experience I had at the women’s retreat for anything. The retreat covered my spiritual, emotional, social and physical needs. I didn’t want to leave on the last day and I was a bit emotional as I wanted the experience to continue but I know that the experience will stay with me.
I implore everyone to contact the Women’s Ministry and find out how they can attend their events as I found out there are several events they carry out.
Thank you, Women’s Ministry. God bless you all.