HERE’S WHAT SOME OF OUR GUESTS HAVE SAID:
“My wife and I (both doctors) had a wonderful break at Refresh! We had time to rest and relax with our family. It gave us time to discuss and talk about some of our struggles and hurts-working through them with people who love us and helped us.”
“My husband and I (both doctors) wish to thank you, the supporters, for making Refresh! A possibility for us and our family. We have 3 small children (4, 2, and l yrs. old.) We have dealt with a lot of stress in our 1 1/2 years on the field. I really feel that we both have been refreshed and renewed. It was having someone to love on and teach our children. We are going back with renewed hope. Thank you.”
“Reason we came to Refresh! was to relax and rest. I felt exhausted from life in China. However, God met me and far exceeded my expectations. Through Lois’ sharing of her own experiences, God brought up some things from my past that I needed to deal with in order to become more emotionally health. The counselors were available whenever we needed them. Thank you for making Refresh! possible.”
“These ten days have been a blessing to our whole family. It was very encouraging to our kids and to us. Good for our marriage and our family life. We are leaving feeling refreshed and encouraged by our interaction with the staff and other participants.”
“Refresh! in Thailand was a great time for us to get away as a family and refocused and enjoy each other. Helpful sessions, caring and interested staff and beautiful location.”
“I did not have many strong expectations coming into Refresh! except to relax. However, I found that God met me in a powerful way in the mysterious way He does to bring healing and reconciliation. I was amazed at how a group of strangers came together and felt like family. I so appreciated how the Heartstream staff and others loved and cared for my family and filled up my dry wells. I feel my relationship with God is stronger, my love of self is stronger, and my love for my children and my husband is stronger. God helped me realize how much He has blessed me. Thank you.”
“This was a wonderful time of rest for our entire family. We gained so much perspective during the sessions and through counseling. What a blessing to have our kids receive spiritual input and make English speaking friends. We go home with a lot of fresh energy and inspiration. Thank you for making this all possible.”
“As a missionary much of my life is about giving to others. Refresh! provides an opportunity for me to receive from the Lord that I may continue to give out to others. Thank you.”
“The input I have received at Refresh! has reminded me of my identity in Christ and that my value and competence comes from Him, not from what I do. I also appreciated the teaching on Stress and setting goals.”
“I’m convinced that without Refresh! my recovery from burnout would be much harder and take longer. Without Refresh! I probably would not have understood that I’m burned out and need a recovery.”
“This is my first time to attend such a program geared toward helping cross-cultural workers, as opposed to training them. This helped me to focus on myself and put me in an environment that was not giving but receiving from colleagues that understood our needs. For me the counseling sessions were very important to be able to share and receive insight in hidden areas of my life.”
“I think it’s really rare to find a ministry that reaches out and serves us so well. They really understand us and our needs (having been there themselves). Refresh! is a good name – I’m going back to my ministry refreshed and renewed.”
“I was helped in all areas – physically, spiritually, and emotionally. It’s well rounded program. The program for kids and teenagers was also excellent. A lot of ideas, teaching, and examples that I can take with me to use in my ministry to others.”
“Thankful for the caring atmosphere at the retreat. We give, give, give, and need our cup filled too…I was running on empty so ten days of being pampered and cared for via counseling, massage, medical advice was so much appreciated.”
“This retreat was amazing! I sorely needed all of this. Being here gave me a real sense of not being alone with my struggles, and I am so glad I heard about the retreat. I can’t imagine not having come. There is a real need for this type of program. It was so well put together, and I was overwhelmed by how well thought through it was. The staff really gave a sense of love and care. Thank you.”
“For the first time in twenty years of pain I found people who understood my physical condition. I felt encouraged, cared for and loved.”
“I truly appreciated the expressive classes as music, art and journaling which help you to step away from your stress.”
“Thank you for giving my husband back to me!”
“My life was like a shattered vase. You helped God put it back together.”
“I feel like someone has disassembled me. The pieces are lying all around. I have no idea who can put me back together again.” Later: “God has put me back together. My rigging and sails are redone and mended. Now, I just need a month to learn how to sail again.”
(first term cc worker) “Many counselors have climbed down in the pit with me. You are the first ones who have taught me how to climb out!”
(a veteran cc worked suffering depression) “Within a very short time I could work through essential things and was stimulated to grow spiritually by excellentpresentations reaching mind and heart.”
(a professional working in a difficult country) “Without programs like this some of us humanitarian workers (perhaps myself) would not be able to continue to serve on the field.”
(a person from eastern Europe) “…have the program in eastern Europe… Ukraine, Belorussia, Austria. These workers are under stress big time. I know. I’ve been there.”
“Our healing began when you listened to us and understood and validated how horrible our experience (former eastern block country) had been!”
“You two have been the most significant people in this man’s life. You have changed his life, his health, and his family!”
(from an agency leader who sent a veteran of 30 years to us. We diagnosed his life-long manic-depression and set him on the path to healing.) “Without your program, (name) would have been hospitalized, and that would have caused great trauma to a young person from another country.”
(about an young adult with early schizophrenia and other complications) “It really helps to know that transition is not bad, and having people to talk with who understand is necessary. I am leaving encouraged and looking forward to what’s ahead.”
“(This program) forced me to take time to look at how things have affected me…not just push ahead.”
“I feel refreshed physically, emotionally and spiritually. I also feel better able to recognize my needs and limits as well. Information learned in class and times of sharing both affirmed and accepted my needs while at the same time showed alternatives and challenged me to become a healthier person.”
“Heartstream is a vital ministry and God used it for me to begin to understand lies (hidden heart messages) I allowed myself to believe. Through journaling, prayer and counseling…freedom from guilt.”
“The atmosphere, [sense of] community, personal counseling, class times, materials covered were all a very good combination for … and healing. … Thanks for ministering to us!”
“What has been most helpful to me is that there are people who understand where I come from, who know my work, organization, etc. People who know how to listen and ask relevant questions.”
“I gained a lot of insight into why I do things the way I do…. Being back in my own environment with the same pressures…. It will take courage to change things…. I’ve a list of things I need to change, implement into my work and living situation in order to survive.”
“My relationship with God has been restored… I’ve learned…to live by God’s grace alone, not by what I do or by what people want from me…. I’m beginning to see that God loves me the way I am…. I’m re-learning to daily use God’s Word and let it speak to me.”
Answer me, O LORD, answer me, so these people will know that you, O LORD, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.” 38 Then the fire of the LORD fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench. (1Ki 18:37-38 NIV)
Their children were grown. After seven years of business with five years of graduate school and nine years of ministry, the couple left for the mission field in West Africa. Jesus sent them away full. Their family, friends and church had filled them with love, prayer, fellowship and provision. The parting in the east Texas Church was full of tears, blessing and joy. Excited and full, they came to love and give in Jesus name. They left their brick home on Toledo Bend Lake and moved to a canvas tent in a tropical rain forest. It was hot. The thieves were many. And, the line of people suffering with needs never seemed to end. Their full cup poured out continually as Jesus’ invitation to love the least continually came. He watered the thirsty, healed the sick and saved the lost from their cup. And, the culture slowly but surely took the pleasure of loving away by stealing the freedom to give through persecution and incessant demand. It never seemed to end. Sunday never came. Sabbath rest was nowhere. And, after four years of loving from fullness, their cup had gone dry. Pain and emptiness had taken the place of love and joy. The man and the woman desperately held on to each other as they cried out. They were not alone in their isolation and loneliness. Groaning in pain, others across the globe suffered. Groaning in pain, the Spirit of their Lord ached. He sent His healers to them. He scheduled their time. It was June 13th in the year 2010 when they arrived on a train in Grenoble, France. They boarded a bus with four others seeking healing and made their way through the city of the 1968 Winter Olympics and into the French Alps where they were held.
He came to a broom tree, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, LORD,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” (1Ki 19:4 NIV)
The gentle warmth had been busy melting winter snows on sunny days and soft rains watered fields and woods from cloudy skies on others. The air was cool and the earth was clean. The rich green meadows and pathways were full of color and vitality with beautiful deep red poppies, white and yellow daisies, purple irises, wild roses and nature’s bouquets of many others. The sun splashed light on sloping fields and rocks as it reached down through heavens full of small drifting clouds casting shadows across mountain peaks revealing deep valleys with fast running full rivers. After the ninety minute bus ride, a small van loaded with people and luggage fought its way up the side of one wooded mountain to a small cluster of chateaus perched on its side. It was full of emptiness.
He lay down and slept under a juniper tree; and behold, there was an angel touching him, and he said to him, “Arise, eat.” (1Ki 19:5 NAU)
The man looked at the fountain embedded into a bank flanked by a small raised bed of tiny deep blue flowers as the van neared its destination. Its cold crystal clear water continuously flowed from the brass pipe into the six by two foot two chambered stone and cement hold before it continued on its way down the mountain after rejoining the splashing stream it had left a short distance above. After the van stopped, they all piled out and received room assignments. Talk was small. The wounded had been coming in from battle fronts on six continents and would continue so throughout the next day. Evening was approaching. Shadows were long. The air was cool and clean. The man filled his lungs, brought their bags to the room and readied for a cool night under wool blankets. They went to sleep listening to the sounds of the flowing brook below their balcony.
He looked around, and there by his head was a cake of bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again. (1Ki 19:6 NIV)
Breakfast was served at 7:30 am. It was warm and good. The room was full. The man and wife enjoyed small talk and coffee. Empty people filled their bellies. The man wondered what to expect. Worship was at nine. The family of Heartstream was there. Joy and melody with raised voices, rich violin and piano filled the room. The man and his wife worshipped. No one made demands. No judgments came. No one pushed us away. Jesus was there. He held us while we sang. At ten, the loving words of scripture began to penetrate and soften hearts as people full of His love poured themselves out to the empty ones. The founder, Lois Dodds, introduced them as a kind of Mash Unit for wounded missionaries. The man looked around the room at the faces. The wounded were indeed many. She said massage, arts classes, journaling and counseling was available upon request. The man and his wife listened. Request was made.
There he went into a cave and spent the night. And the word of the LORD came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
10 He replied, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” (1Ki 19:8-10 NIV)
After lunch and a long nap, they met Robert. Kind eyes free of judgment and full of care met their hurting pain filled faces on a small wooden bench beside the stream. He listened. They guardedly began sharing. After one hour, the session ended. They left feeling different. The wall was breaking. Their empty cup was revealed. The need was great. Supper was at six. The meal was good. The evening was cool. Clouds enveloped the mountains as soft rain fell upon the meadows and woods. Its water dripped from the walnut tree and the eve of the stone walled chateau onto the balcony as the man and woman slept in peace.
A morning full of food, worship and love from Jesus through Heartstream servants began to flow into the empty cups of people from every end of the earth. The sessions began to help them see the hurt places, understand why they were there and what they needed to receive healing. Massage for the body, heart and mind was applied to sore and aching places. The couple met Robert again. This time pain began to flow out. Tears and hurt were relived. Robert listened. Robert loved with warmth and care. The wall had crumbled. Their cup was open. Supper was at six. The food was good. Night came again with soft gentle rain offering peaceful rest.
The man and woman woke to worship, love and care every day for nine days. They ate well. They rested every night in peace. Their cup of bitterness was poured out. Joy was filling. On the last full day, the man walked hand in hand with his wife on an ancient Roman road that passed through the camp and over the stream. The clouds that had brought soft gentle rains had cleared. The warm sun caste its light through forest trees and green meadows. The mountain flowers were showing themselves as if especially for them. They walked to the chapel where General Napoleon had worshipped and visited the fountain with blue flowers. It never stopped flowing. It was replenished with winter snows and summer rains and had provided clean cool refreshing water to all who passed and chose to dip their cup into it. Roman generals fighting on battle fronts had walked this path. It had refreshed them and their armies. It was there for the man and his wife. They chose to taste its water. It was good as was the general who led them to it. They were full because their God had provided a river full of Him that was alive each day. The love of the Heartstream Mash Unit from Jesus had come to save, heal and deliver. Sunday had come. Sabbath rest and refreshment healed pain and filled emptiness. They rejoiced. Yes, yes, yes! The man and woman can give again because He is faithful and full even when they are faithless and empty. They were not alone. Those who had come empty and hurting at the start were loving and giving to each other at the end. It was a joy to see.
The LORD said to him, “Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. (1Ki 19:15 NIV)
Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel–all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and all whose mouths have not kissed him.” (1Ki 19:18 NIV)
The last day began before first light. Pictures and goodbyes came after the sun rise and breakfast. They left for the battle front equipped with love for the least and the imperative to find a Sabbath fountain when they returned to the tropical forest that Jesus called them to. They ask you to pray that they and others fighting on battle fronts across the world find this fountain wherever it might be and partake of its love so their cup never runs dry. They ask you to pray for servants of Heartstream Resources as they seek to love the warriors fighting on battlefronts at the ends of the earth. They thank Jesus for His faithfulness to provide healing for the wounded as the Day of His coming approaches. There is a fountain deep and wide full of Him. Let us agree to seek and partake of its life giving flow before our cup empties and the enemy divides. He is a river.
Blessings, J and P R in Ghana-West Africa