Imagine you serve in a dangerous foreign country. You often have to hide your identity and there's no one around who truly understands your life. Not to mention you don't have a toilet in your house and haven't had a hot shower in a long, long time.
Or you live overseas in a relatively safe country, but you feel relationally dry and thirsty. You long for deep fellowship with people who understand. People from your home culture. And you'd probably still like that hot shower.
If you know any Christian women serving cross-culturally (or if you are one) make sure they know about a helpful ministry called Women of the Harvest (WOTH).
Women of the Harvest seeks to provide real encouragement to women serving cross-culturally. They want to help these women persevere and get the refreshment they need. And from everything I can see, WOTH is doing a fabulous job.
A few weeks ago, I went down to Glen Eyrie, CO to observe a WOTH retreat. WOTH hosts three retreats each year for women serving cross-culturally: one stateside for those on home assignment and two international retreats.
The best way to learn about these retreats may be to watch the videos and read the stories you can find online, like the ones here: http://wothfurloughretreat2010.blogspot.com/ and http://pdministries.com/women-harvest.
At each retreat, WOTH staff and volunteers provide serious and fun encouragement for 100 women serving cross-culturally. The women come and experience deep refreshment and love. They connect with other women who "get their life." They laugh, cry, unwind and breathe deeply. They realize they are not in the battle alone. They get to relax as someone else takes care of the logistics. They enjoy some pampering, like a good haircut, new clothes, maybe even a pedicure or professional massage. And most of all, they find balm for their often-weary souls.
A retreat is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for these women, but WOTH also provides ongoing support through an online magazine, blogs and emails.
So why am I even telling you about WOTH? For one, I love what they do. Sonlight and WOTH share a very similar goal: to help cross-cultural workers stay on the field longer. Sonlight provides women in the US and all over the world with the tools they need to give their kids a great education without the stress of planning and finding all the materials. WOTH exists to help women stay (and thrive) on the field, too.
Secondly, Sonlight has a new partnership with WOTH. We are now the official sponsor of their online magazine, blogs and email newsletters. In other words, Sonlight provides the financial resources to keep these publications running. Many cross-cultural workers already use and LOVE Sonlight, and now, through this partnership, we get to help more women consider if Sonlight would be right for their families, too. Even more importantly, we get to make sure that these publications keep going out to the women who so desperately need them.
And finally, I want to extend an invitation to you. If this ministry grips your heart, pray about how you might serve. Here are a few ideas:
- Make sure the Christian women you know who are serving cross-culturally are aware of the free online resources and retreat ministry WOTH provides just for them. The WOTH website is www.womenoftheharvest.com.
- Explore the videos and stories in the links I gave above: http://wothfurloughretreat2010.blogspot.com/ and http://pdministries.com/women-harvest.
- Pray for Women of the Harvest.
- Get in on the retreat ministry.
- Help coordinate gifts that the women receive at retreats.
- Join the team of volunteers to serve at a retreat.
- Financially sponsor a woman to attend a retreat (contact email@example.com).
- Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about any of these opportunities.
And above all, may God bless you as you live out His noble calling on your life!