When we first started planning our travel to MTW’s area retreat, all I could think of was the imperative verb form of the word…
Like, grab your stuff and flee for your life.
Then there is the other sense of the word, ‘an act of withdrawing’ and a ‘quiet secluded place where one can relax.’
I love these two images next to each other. I think every missionary has felt the first, and needed the second.
For us, we didn’t know what to expect, this being our first area retreat. It’s a grand ordeal, bringing all the MTW missionaries around Europe together, and it only happens once every four years.
So we retreated. It was wonderful.
Here are the highlights:
-Beautiful corporate worship in English- There is something about a room full of Christians, beautiful music, and everyone singing in your maternal tongue, songs you hadn’t heard in about two years, that just fills the soul.
-Sermon series in English- We had a wonderful Greek pastor who preached on Acts 20, Giotis Kantartzis, and Chris and I were able to sit next to each other. I was even able to take notes because…
-Childcare- Fantastic Childcare. People specializing in caring for our kids in a Christian setting. They also had a wonderful children’s program for the older kids. Avonlea couldn’t wait to go each day, and Oliver never complained.
-Fellowship- We were able to connect with old friends, even dear ones from our sending church in Charlotte. We talked about our joys and hardships, watched our kids play together, and just enjoyed the company of fellow brothers and sisters on the field.
-Crete, Greece- We were all together at a resort in Crete. It was just before the tourist season started, so it was quiet and the Lord blessed us with gorgeous weather, sunshine, calm waters, and views of His amazing creation. Our kids didn’t want to come home (and neither did we.)
I wish I would have taken more photos, but we mostly just soaked it all in and let our souls be filled up. But here are
a couple all the ones I have: