Over the weekend of September 23-25, 45 ladies attended the annual Wisconsin Women’s Ministries Fall Retreat held in Lake Delton, WI.
“Wow!” was one of the statements given about the weekend retreat with Dr. Hyveth Williams who shared her insights on the stories that we read in the Bible. Other words expressed included, “This is just what I needed,” “I experienced healing this weekend, I was definitely encouraged by the messages,” “Understanding the culture and traditions added deeper insights into God’s word,” and “Wow! Awesome. I was truly blessed.”
Dr. Williams was scheduled to speak on the theme, Forgiving and Forgiven. However, she was moved by the Holy Spirit to change her topics. On Friday evening, her title was Talitha Kumi and this was based on the stories from Mark 5:21-43 of two women with the common factor of 12 years. For one it was the length of her life; for the other it was the duration of her illness. On Sabbath morning, Dr. Williams shared Masks-Disguise or Disgrace? This presentation was based on Genesis 38:12-26 which tells the story of promises made and broken in the life of Tamar and that her son is named in the lineage of Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:2).
Sabbath afternoon continued with the presentation The Prince Is Our Brother? based on Matthew 12:46-50 which talks about the the story of Joseph and his journey as chronicled in Genesis 42-50. Particular focus was given to the part of the story when the brothers did not believe they were forgiven, did not think that Joseph would forget what they had done and thought that he would take revenge. Finishing with how it hurt him to think that his brothers did not trust him and truly believe that he was forgiving and that they were forgiven.
“And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God? But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them.” Genesis 50:19-21 KJV
Sunday morning, Dr. Williams gave her final presentation, Take The Limp! based on Genesis 32:24-32 where Jacob wrested with God. “And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob’s thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him. And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob. And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.” Genesis 32:24-28 KJV
Dr. Williams shared that Jacob was a deceiver and in turn he got a dose of his medicine and he was deceived. When he realized that he was going to meet his brother who was traveling with 400 soldiers he feared for his life and when he struggled all night, he was fighting for his life believing it was his brother who was out to kill him to get payback. As day was breaking, he realized he was not wrestling with his brother but with a holy being. He knew that no one can see God and live and dawn was breaking and it was no longer dark.
Jacob recognized who he was and was forgiven. He was touched and got a new name. We may be hurt and maimed because of sin, but we can be forgiven. We may walk with a limp, whether it be be result of the consequences of sin or it may be a blessing from God. We will be given a new name as we are the examples of God’s grace, mercy, long suffering and forgiveness. In this way we can draw others to Jesus Christ, as we seek and save those who are loss and become fishers of men and women.
I want to say thank you to Jim Parish, manager of The LightHouse Thrift Store located near Wisconsin Academy, for supplying vegetarian canned and frozen meat and seasonings and milk substitutes.
Thank you also, to the staff of Wintergreen Conference Center & Clarion Hotel.
I want to thank all of the committee members: Deb Egger for introducing and leading out with the Kintsugi – the Japanese art of beautiful repair; Deb’s husband for working in audiovisual and sound; and daughter Zoe for her singing; Nadine Thomas for the bookmarks; Carrie Veldman for sharing her skills of putting the music together with suggestions from the committee members doing the breakaway Stand and Be Fit; Joan Carlson for leading out with the Pamper Your Hands and in guidance with making a prayer shawl; Celia Patchett for leading out with the breakaway, Praying Through the Scriptures; Deidra Roat for designing and making the sign; and Tammy Elmer who helped the Women’s Ministries Committee by providing hand lotions as well as the additional gift of painted stones that will be sent to attendees.
I praise God for the blessings we all received this retreat weekend and the committee members all prayed and worked together and made this retreat a success. I want to thank the attendees for being flexible with the change in the schedule on Sunday since the speaker was connecting to an international flight, she had to be at the airport 3 hours earlier.
Please continue to pray for us as we plan for the next year as well as for the speakers.
Patricia Antoine-Norton, Women’s Ministries Coordinator