It might be hard to say goodbye, but we know that the real impact of a Thrive retreat won’t be felt until the global workers make it back home and re-engage with their families, friends, teammates, and nationals. Therefore, it is crucial to say goodbye - or at least, “See you later!”
As part of the goodbye ritual, our global workers shared God stories (what we call “donut moments”) in praise of our Almighty and Sovereign God speaking directly to them and proving that he is El Roi, the God Who Sees. Many of these “donut moments” also testified to the transformative impact of meeting God at this retreat. (Be sure to ask an attendee or volunteer the next time you see one why we call them “donut moments"!)
Helen shared a particularly special story that reveals how God is at work to transform her daily life. Helen had been in a car accident several years ago that caused a traumatic brain injury. Periodically, that injury has led to vertigo, pressure, and headaches. After signing up for a previous Thrive retreat in Prague, she had to cancel. Over the last couple of months, her head injury symptoms have been almost continual. She thought she was going to have to cancel again, but God provided a way for her to attend. She came to Rome, eager to meet with a massage therapist, chiropractor, and physical therapist to see if these symptoms could be alleviated.
During worship the first night, the lights, sounds, and busyness of the day led to very strong symptoms. She didn’t know what to do but thought she needed to escape the noise of the room. Just then, a hand was placed under her elbow and a voice whispered in her ear, “You need to get out of here, don’t you?” And she was whisked away. How did Melissa, Helen’s small group facilitator, know that she needed to leave? Melissa recently suffered a traumatic brain injury herself and recognized the signs.
As if it weren’t powerful enough that God assigned Helen to Melissa’s small group, the next day, Helen found out that Melissa was going to be her massage therapist! Melissa knew just how to meet Helen’s unique needs with massage. But wait, that’s not all! Helen was also able to meet with our chiropractor, who created additional appointments on breaks, early mornings, and late evenings to attempt meeting every chiropractic need. Her appointment with our physical therapist brought some immediate relief and set Helen up with exercises and special tools she can use at home to continue her progress. She described the treatments and techniques as relieving some pressure, bringing her discomfort down to a 7 on a 1-to-10 scale.
After a facial, pedicure, and long nap the following afternoon, Helen met with a member of our prayer team for one-on-one healing prayer. She started the session expressing pressure in her head at a 7 and a constant swaying of the ground, wall, and chair. After a few minutes of prayer, she described the pressure as down to a 4 and the swaying having taken on a new bouncy pattern. After additional time with the Lord, Helen described release of tension in her neck and jaw, reduced pressure down to a 2 or 3, and the swaying to be more like a rhythmic cradling.
This morning, before the conclusion of the retreat, Helen testified that she could stand without holding on to the chair, that God had met her in a special way, and that God had brought her peace about her health and other issues in her life.
As each of our ladies prayed over one another in small groups, gave long hugs, traded contact information, promised to reconnect virtually or in person as soon as God allows, and ultimately said goodbye to one another for the time being, evidence of God’s movement in their lives was written on their faces. What a privilege to be witness to the Father’s loving hand on each of his precious daughters!
“If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” Matthew 7:11