The song Thrive by Casting Crowns reminds us that “we were made to more than just survive; we were made to thrive!” So how do Thrive retreats aid our global workers - who are battling on the front lines of spiritual warfare every day - do more than just survive?
One metaphor that might help explain Thrive’s role is that of the USO. The USO may be known for comedy tours and holiday concerts, but their services far exceed entertainment. To strengthen America’s military service members, the USO provides a menu of supports to connect members to family, home, and country throughout their service to the nation.
Similarly, Thrive offers retreats that deliver fun, joy, tastes from home - and so much more! Thrive’s focus on member care delivers the spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical “bucket filling” that frontline workers need to rest, rejuvenate, and re-engage in the battle. On-site and ongoing services such as daily devotions, stories from other global workers, prayer, healthy physical touch, discipleship, and coaching are designed “to spur one another on to love and good works” (Hebrews 10:24).
Sometimes people ask us why we even need member care of our global workers. Don’t they all have church families to take care of them? What about their relatives and friends? Sending agencies and organizations?
The simple answer: “No, they don’t all have that.” And to make it more complex, if they do have those connections, they may not be sufficient. The reality is that the Enemy is on the attack against our global workers, and they need all the reinforcement they can get to diffuse the fiery darts, fight back, and help heal their wounds.
Almost every global worker here has described some level of exhaustion from lack of transparency and authenticity. Many are in situations where they cannot fully explain their need for care - neither to their families, supporters, employers, nor to the nationals whom they serve.
Many of our global workers attend national churches, so it would be inappropriate to complain about the culture or climate. Many are far from relatives, have family members who aren’t believers, or have families who don’t support their work. Few have friends in the same country who truly understand their work unless they work on the same team. How do you seek advice about dealing with a coworker from the only other American woman in your city when that coworker is your best (or only) friend’s husband?
What you need is supplemental member care from “armor bearers,” “medics,” and “supply droppers;” you need a team of reinforcements who will love you and fight for you, regardless of what wounds you’ve received or inflicted.
Brooke and her five teammates at this retreat all live in different countries. They rarely get to see each other face-to-face, and when they do, they usually have a list of tasks that need to be completed. So they have relished every meal they get to eat together, every afternoon adventure, and every hug!
She said the best thing so far about this retreat is being able to completely let her guard down and receive from the Lord. Not only has her team each received the exact physical treatments they need - including a physical therapy plan for Brooke to alleviate the pain from a neck injury last fall - but they have also received the exact spiritual treatments they need. And they get to receive as individuals and as a team.
Brooke says her team is encouraged and inspired from this Thrive retreat and are looking forward to how this time will impact how they move forward and serve the first and second culture women on their expansive team. She knows they all could benefit from this type of intentional ministry.
So as armor bearers, medics, and supply droppers, Thrive volunteers and participants fortify one another for the next phase in the battle. And in case you were wondering, yes, a supply drop of chocolate chips is good for the soul!
“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11