After spending two days with six Serbian women, I realized my Hungarian skills do exist, as I can follow conversations in Hungarian to a vastly higher degree than when they’re in Serbian. The weekend retreat I hosted for Pastor’s Wives in Pécs ended up really a Serbian Pastor’s Wives Retreat, as all the Hungarian and Romanian women invited could not attend for one reason or another – but what seemed sad at first was certainly God’s plan, as it was a wonderful time for these women who have so much in common and yet can get together so infrequently. It was a blessed time, and while much was done in English, I encouraged them not to worry about me and to discuss, encourage and relate in their native tongue. And thus I did get a chance to compare my understanding abilities… I have some old tapes (yes, TAPES) somewhere and a little booklet that came with them to learn Serbo-Croatian (that’s what the box called it). Feeling like I should get them out…only I don’t own a tape player anymore, hmmm.
While conferences and special times of extra teachings and workshops are great and a wonderful tool, my own heart has been burdened to simply give women in full time ministry a break, a real ‘retreat’ with no schedule, no speakers, no expectations; but instead plenty of down time, fellowship time and good food – pampering for women who really need it. After plenty of down time to get to know each other, I’m ending our retreats with a night of sharing, encouraging each other and praying for each other. Our home church of Mile High Calvary has come along behind us in this endeavor and I was able to share with all the women a CD of the teachings from their Women’s Retreat held in September, as well as bookmarks made with their theme verse. And while in the US this summer I picked up some inexpensive gifts to share with all the women, not knowing the exact numbers this summer, I love how God knew and worked out even those details so perfectly. On Friday might I asked all the women to share a challenge or hardship from the previous year and what Jesus taught them through it, or what they are still learning or hope to learn from it. We all took turns and concluded our talking time with prayer requests, and then the two ladies on either side of the speaker prayed for them. After all the sharing and praying, several women shared verses and one shared a vision from our prayer time for everyone. It was beautiful, powerful and amazing.
I’m so blessed to get to enjoy these times along with the women coming, and thankfully I led us all to the correct restaurants without appearing too lost, something I didn’t have to contend with last year when I held this same retreat in our hometown of Szeged. But I’m getting to know Pécs, and love it dearly, such an adorable city center. And the weather was just perfect, not too cold, and the sun even shone so beautifully on Saturday. I’m so thankful for the Lord’s leading in this area, and I’m humbled to be used to bless and encourage women who are on the spiritual front lines with little resources or support, in a country still recovering from the wars that ravaged it in the 1990’s. I’d also like to take this time to thank the many women from Mile High Calvary (and anyone else) who have been praying for this retreat and for the women coming – your prayers were answered mightily. Thank yous as well to those who prayed for me personally – I guess it was more stressful for me than I realized, I came home and sort of collapsed. But I also had a wonderful weekend and the time away from home stress and with some dear friends was much needed for me as well. And the Mexican food was a huge blessing, seriously good, and this California Girl should know. Yeah, who would have guessed you’d find such a great Mexican restaurant in a smaller town in Hungary – go figure!