Chicago UBF (Illinois, USA)
July 19, 2012
There was a gracious woman’s gathering for 33 women July 13-14, 2012 at the UBF Headquarters in Chicago. Liz Hembekides, Christy Toh and Helen Rarick prepared this retreat which was supported by Pastor Abraham T. Kim, Pastor Ron Ward, Chicago UBF and the elders. The retreat was held in the Leningrad House which was cleaned and prepared by Loyola Fellowship and decorated by Rebecca and Mary Pierce and Christy Mun. Delicious food and drinks were elegantly prepared and served by Elena Lomahan, her two daughters, Rebekah and Sarah, and her sister Cherry. The title was “A Time of Rest’. The retreat began with appetizers and mingling, followed by a wonderful salmon dinner. Those in attendance were women who had served in UBF as native shepherdesses for more than ten years. We were thankful to come together and be served so graciously by such enthusiastic servants of God. The love of God shown to us was balm for our weary souls.
After dinner, Helen Rarick gave us a powerpoint on two long-suffering wives of two famous missionaries: David Livingstone’s wife, Mary, and Hudson Taylor’s wife, Maria. Through these reports we were stunned to see how much these women sacrificed and suffered because of the work of God they participated in. Their husbands are famous missionaries, but I was not aware of the glorious sacrifice of their wives. After these reports, the environment at our gathering became very honest and open. We began to openly share our struggles with one another and through this we were encouraged to continue to live as pastor’s wives and endure glorious suffering as part of a long line of fruitful servants of God in history.
At the end of the evening took a survey on common struggles of pastor’s wives in order to circle the top three and/or add to the list so that organizers could know how to adequately plan specific topics at future gatherings.
The meeting ended with words from a few of the women thanking those who prepared and with prayer by Amy Stasinos. We then enjoyed more mingling around a delicious chocolate fondue. How wonderful that after all this, we each received a nice spa gift! We felt refreshed and encouraged.
The second day we started with a lovely continental breakfast and more fellowship and a singing of praise and worship songs. Liz Hembekides presented an introduction of the Book of Psalms and then we had deep Bible study on Psalm 23 in three groups. After our Bible study on Psalm 23 anyone was invited to stand and speak what they learned. Deborah Ward shared a testimony of her struggles as a pastor’s wife overcoming her physical limitations and the victory God has given her. Many other women spoke of their struggles and how God is helping them. The results of the survey of the top three struggles of women in ministry were shared and they were: I have trouble finding time for personal time with Jesus; I just don’t have enough time and energy to do all I need to do; and I’m having a hard time loving my church community. Women spoke freely offering suggestions for solutions and personal discoveries on how to find rest in the Lord. We learned valuable things from each other. Index cards were distributed for suggestions and topics for future get togethers. We were each gifted the book A Place of Quiet Rest by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. The conclusion of our gathering is that women of faith need rest in Jesus and that the Lord is our Shepherd who graciously can give us real rest! Following sincere three by three prayer we enjoyed an amazing barbeque lunch again prepared by Elena. Thank God that we women could gather for this gracious time of rest through his word, fellowship and encouragement from each other.
By Grace Martin