Imagine it, 74 women all choosing joy, all in one day! This was the theme for a ‘mini-retreat’ held for the women of Levin Corp who were joined by friends from other corps. The retreat appealed to so many after such a troublesome, tiring, life-adjusting couple of years. It was the inspiration of Corps Sergeant Major Debra Bishop, with the full backing of our corps officers Captains Ben and Karen Schischka.
The time together began with conversations over morning tea, icebreaker games with much hilarity and beautiful gifts bags containing articles to inspire each woman in the days ahead: a devotional book, Writing Joy on My Heart; a ‘Cup of Joy’ coffee mug, with the verse from Psalm 84:5, ‘What JOY for those whose strength comes from the Lord’, all perfectly fitted in with our theme. All the little extras: shortbread packs, sweeties and so on, just added to the pleasure awaiting the women as they opened their bags.
Captain Karen Schischka based her message for the morning on the first few verses of Philippians 4:4–9, ‘Rejoice in the Lord always…’, with music and video clips that helped to drive the message home.
A guest speaker added to the inspirational theme, telling her story of finding joy amidst some of the most dangerous, traumatic and dramatic times and places in the world. Reverend Barbara Walker, QSO, shared just some of the story of her life as a nurse/midwife in places such as Cambodia, Somalia, the Afghan-Pakistan border and Mozambique over 20 years. This left the women with much to think about from her amazing life of service and devotion to God and his people. Barbara’s book, Purple Hands, is well worth a read.
Very capable people catered lunch. Not having to think of meals brought joy to most women’s hearts!
A time of activity choices gave the chance for all to participate in something to try, learn a new skill, relax and discover or to join in enthusiastically such as line dancing!
A coffee or ice cream break was followed by Karen leading us through the second part of the reading from Philippians.
All went home blessed and joyful having set aside this time to learn more about God’s peace and wisdom, and grateful for all that was done to grant this.
By Marlene Dunsmore