18 November 2014

Trip to Tanzania: an island, a missionary retreat, and good times with friends

During one of the afternoons of the retreat, I joined three other ladies on a fun excursion to Mbudya Island. I had a great swim, a fun stroll in the woods, and a relaxing few hours.

Thrive Ministry Missionary Retreat

These are the wonderful ladies in my small group.

The main purpose for my trip to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania was to attend this fabulous retreat. There were 45 ladies in attendance, all American missionaries serving in Africa. Additionally 18 volunteers traveled from the US to serve us for the four days we were together.

The main goals of the retreat were:

  • to step down from the pedestal upon which we so often find ourselves
  • to be refreshed spiritually 
  • to experience God's lavish love
  • to be reminded of our true identity as children of God
  • to be encouraged and empowered
  • to eat lots of chocolate :)

It was such a blessing to be there and to make new friends. We were challenged and stretched by our speaker, Peg Forrest. We shared loads of laughter; had great discussions and prayer times in our small groups; ate well in the dining room; and enjoyed lots of free time.

Generous anonymous donors paid for 75% of the cost! We were blessed to have over 900 people praying for us - by name - a full month before the retreat as well as during it. The goal of Thrive Ministry is to support and encourage American missionary ladies so they can persevere in their calling.

I had asked God to give me a practical 'nugget' I could take home with me from the retreat. And, sure enough, he did! In fact, I've already implemented it with great results. He is so faithful.

As the retreat drew to an end we were commissioned with a new slant on our calling as missionaries. We were reminded that God gives us a God-shaped purpose that is unique to each one of us and that we are to use that gifting to bring him glory. As we gathered in our small groups one last time to pray for and lay hands on each other, it was intense and emotional.

You who were formed and made by me are called by my name and were created for my glory. 
Isaiah 43:7

Christina and Laurie, leaders of Thrive

A beautiful sunrise on Mbezi beach

Praise the Lord, you his servants; praise the name of the Lord. 
Let the name of the Lord be praised, both now and forevermore. 
From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the Lord is to be praised. 
The Lord is exalted over all the nations, his glory above the heavens.
Psalm 113

I woke up early one morning and strolled down to the beach. Watching the dawn of a new day is always special and is such a reminder to me of God's faithfulness. On this occasion, an added bonus was watching a boat full of fishermen arrive at the shore with their catch after a night of working under the stars.

 Visiting friends in Dar

I sandwiched the retreat in between visits with friends that live in Dar es Salaam. I had a nice time with Robert and his family, as well as with Penny.

I love seeing whimsical Baobab trees :)

A rare view of Mount Meru's peak, in Arusha

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