Thankful for the Privilege of Being "Sent"

The Thrive Retreat for North American missionary women serving in Europe and around the world is over. I just waved goodbye to the last two volunteers. Everyone but me is on their way back to real life and I'm taking some time to reflect on the retreat. 

The attendees who came to the retreat were from every age group and were single, married, with and without children/grandchildren. They serve the disenfranchised and the poor, the middle class and wealthy. They came from all over the world representing Asia (Mongolia, Taiwan, S Korea, Japan), Africa (North and Central Africa), Central and Northern Europe (Turkey, Slovenia, Romania, France, England, Scotland, and Ireland) and many more countries. Many are working to free trafficked women, men and children and others are reaching out to refugees. In my prayer times with them, I heard themes of lost hope, loneliness, isolation, pressure and expectations from the US church and their agencies, as well as family concerns. I also heard of joys and victories, each life and story precious. 

Over and over again, the women thanked us for the retreat and shared how it was a nurturing event for them and a safe place to process their lives. I am very grateful to have been here. 

In just over a week, I will be traveling to Lesotho (a land-locked nation surrounded by South Africa to put on two retreats. Because of that, I've opted to stay in Europe and not fight time change and jet lag by traveling home this week. Kevin will join me on Tuesday night for some prep time for the two retreats in Lesotho as well as rest and vacation in this beautiful spot. We will travel to Lesotho on 11/2-3 and our retreat team will join us on 11/5. Richard and Kate Huang are part of that retreat team and it will be wonderful to serve with them.

Metro is a very important part of these retreats as I could not go without being sent. Thank you for your prayers and your financial support! I'm very grateful to God for you! The thanks from the attendees belongs to you, too!

Linda Swanson

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