One of the biggest joys I have experienced this last year in ministry has been the group of women God has formed for fellowship, learning, growing, healing, worshipping and serving together. Just over a year ago, four Covenant women approached Patty Restrepo and me about the possibility of gathering women together from different Covenant churches in the Oaxaca valley in order to grow and serve together. Little did we know at the time all that God had planned for this group of women!
A group of 15-20 women from the valley Covenant churches and a few from other denominations, has been meeting every other Thursday morning, with Patty and I hosting in our homes, for a time of meditating on the Word, fellowship and training in a specific area of ministry. Currently, we are going through Mending the Soul, a program that seeks to bring healing from abuse, and God has indeed been at work in each of the women. Patty and I greatly appreciate your prayers for us as we lead the women in the process of allowing God’s Spirit to speak truth into our lives as we identify different ways we’ve been abused or have abused, as well as the effects that has had on our understanding of who we are and our relationships. It has been an emotionally and spiritually difficult time for us all, but God is good and we trust Him to heal the broken-hearted and break the chains of oppression. The women also had the opportunity to share some of what they are learning about harmful and healthy relationships at the Peace Fair and Service we had in October.
We celebrated our one year anniversary in November, thanks to the SIM funds we received from Women’s Ministry in the U.S., with a weekend retreat up in a cabin in the mountains. What a gift that was for us all! Besides our regular time of reflecting on the Word, we had many special times to connect with each other and with God.
It was a joy for me to lead us on a silent, prayer walk through the woods, where God’s creation and Word spoke in powerful ways. We also had many opportunities to have fun and laugh together!
Another special time was celebrating the Lord’s Supper together.
Lisandro had the idea that the men could cook and serve the women our food. Many of the women expressed how meaningful that was to them, as the gender roles in the culture here are quite rigid due to strong machismo.
We are very thankful for God’s faithfulness to us during this first year together, as well as for his provision to be able to get away for a weekend to celebrate!