International Family Retreat Offers Spiritual Growth

  • By: Joni and Friends
  • Jan. 19, 2017
  • 0 Comments
  • International Family Retreat

International Family Retreat

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to serve at an International Family Retreat (IFR)? Read along as volunteer, JC, answers our questions about her recent experiences with IFR!

Which country did you travel to on your IFR?

I have had the honor to participate in three International Family Retreats: Shenyang, China in 2016, Romania in 2015, and Ghana in 2014.

What were your expectations about serving in another country?

I was quite nervous - this was my first mission trip and I typically treat older adults as a Physical Therapist. Once in Ghana, I fell into the grace of a team working together and a God that worked through me to be useful to those in need.

What impacted you the most in terms of disability ministry?

The incredible ability of the team members, mostly strangers, to come together as a high functioning team. Everyone was open and respectful of each other, and volunteered to help in any way possible. I was most emotionally touched by the deep and profound gratitude of the families we served - to the mission team certainly, but more to God.

How did you grow spiritually?

God graced me the first year with a more positive and grateful outlook in my life. A coworker back home commented on it a month after my return. The second year, I grew in my openness to others. And this last year in China, I have felt blessed by a new confidence and centered feeling of trusting God.

If you could tell people one thing about working with those affected by disability, what would it be?

Remain humble - the people I serve teach me greatly. Pray to let go of preconceived notions of what people can and cannot do.

What was your favorite memory from your IFR?

Playing with children sitting on my lap, and the delight one child showed while playing with my camera. Feeling a deep healing presence during group prayers. The acceptance by other team members. One specific memory that sticks out was giving an extremely disabled child a massage. Although I was not able to provide any real physical progress, God showed me a way to give emotional and spiritual encouragement to this parents. They were so touched by that simple attention to their loved one.

Are you interested in serving on an IFR outreach? Visit our website to find out more!

 
 

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