WM Retreat 09: “Hear and Receive”

March 24, 2009

This past weekend, about 30 New Hope sisters and dear friends gathered at Mariandale Retreat & Conference Center, in Ossining, NY, for the annual Women’s Ministry Retreat.  With the encouragement of our speakers — five honest, vulnerable, strong and faithful sisters from within the NHF community — we circled our hearts to “Hear and Receive” from our God, knowing that “ears that hear and eyes that see — the LORD has made them both.”  (Proverbs 20.12)


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After a feisty round of Human Bingo (don’t even ask how we come up with this stuff because it’s usually the result of a bizarre  combination of driving, chocolate cake and late nights falling asleep on someone’s couch), we went straight into morning worship, led by the old-school praise & worship stylings of Hyunmee, JenK and SiowYing.

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This was the first Women’s Retreat at which the sun shined the entire weekend — what a bonus blessing from God!

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Christina shared with us first, having been moved and transformed by God’s Words in Jeremiah 4.1-4 and Mark 5.24-34.

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“God uses people who are NOT equipped, but He won’t send you out UNequipped.” (Christina)

After lunch, Jing shared with us next about her inspirations from God’s Word in I John 4.7-19.

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“When I’m old and I look back, I believe the picture will be beautiful, not fragmented as it seems now.”  (Jing)

In the evening, after an afternoon Retreat of Silence and dinner, we heard first from MinJung, who had been touched by God’s Words in I John 4.10-12, II Corinthians 10.3-6 and Mark 6.31.

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“I felt God wrap His arms around me and tell me that He would feed me and He would be my food. … It wasn’t crackers I needed, it was Scripture.”  (MinJung)

Then, Jenny shared her testimony from Mark 5.21-34 and James 5.13-16.

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She had lots of props, used to encourage the sisters to have their ‘baggage’ healed and covered over by the true Word of God.

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“God has a way of speaking to us and it’s all different ways.  The question is, are we ready to receive? … God’s Word is truth.”  (Jenny)

Our full Saturday was capped with a time of celebration that included cupcakes and — wait for it — HOT FIRE!

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On Sunday morning, we heard from our final speaker, SharonL., who shared with us from Romans 12.9-21 and I Peter 4.8-11.

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“It’s not forgive and forget.  It’s forgive and remember God.  Remember His love and mercy on us … and then the next tough thing is to love that person. … Fight the urge not to love by covering it with the Truth.”  (Sharon)

Of course, no Women’s Retreat is complete without a baby or two …

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… a gaggle of women to coo over said babies …

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… a reunion of old friends …

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… the making of new friends …

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… the non-casual casual shot …

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… a prayer wall …

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… a group shot …

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… and a group shot where Christina’s eyes are closed.

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We thank God for all of His material provisions for the Retreat — Mariandale Center, the wonderful snacks & supplies tirelessly brought over and prepared by some of our sisters, the worship team and the warming sun.  But most of all, we are so thankful for His continuing provision of His grace, His mercy, His love, His strength, His power, His justice, His righteousness, His Spirit and His true Word.  We realized that at the end of the day, whether we are joyful or sad, healthy or sick, angry or at peace, surrounded or lonely, satisfied or unfulfilled, spiritually healthy or feeling a bit anemic, God and His Word stand firm and fast, and it is our greatest blessing and strongest hope to hear and receive from Him.

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