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Come Before Winter

July 5, 2011

Reflecting thoughts on Ps103

The last week of May, I attended a Come Before Winter Renewal here in Rwanda. This was my third one to participate in. (2004 in Benin and 2005 in Brazil.) The Come Before Winter organization was founded by my now dear friend and mentor, Karen Alexander. Karen had a vision of taking spiritual refreshment to missionary women in the field. I would not do the history justice, so I invite you to find out more about CbW at www.comebeforewinter.org.

The renewal was held at the Akagera Lodge in Rwanda’s only game park. The expansive view of neighboring Tanzania was a perfect setting for reflection and study of Psalm 103. There were some fantastic additions to the program of study, which included some exercises in active reflection. One of these was period of artistic expression, using scripture segments and pastels, developed and instructed by another of my mentors, Marianna Long. You can imagine that this was one of my favorite parts of the week.

From my point of view, the two greatest benefits of the week were: 1- having concentrated time alone with The Word – through study, reflection and prayer and 2- a melding of many mission communities in Kigali.

At the close of each renewal, a participating missionary woman is chosen to go as a part of the facilitating team to the next event. Lori Kimbrow (my teammate from ATN) and I were chosen to be the Missionary Ambassadors to South Africa. The catch to our travel was that the renewal was the following week. So Lori and I hurried home, got our bags repacked and left the next morning with the team.

Lori Kimbrow and I with the "Cloak"

The renewal was held in the middle of the Tsistikamma National Park, several hours along the coast from Port Elizabeth. This was my first trip to South Africa and, as I had been told, it is unlike the rest of Africa in many ways. The temperature was crazy different. It was so cold, I thought it might snow. The terrain was vastly different. The cities were very developed, feeling much like America to us. And did I mention it was cold?

The renewal itself was also very different. Whereas in Rwanda, we were a small group, which made for easy intimacy among the participants, in South Africa there were almost twice as many women in attendance. It was delightful to see the broad selection of cultures. In fact, at one of the worship times led by the participants, Psalm 103 was read in eleven languages by national and foreign women working in that many people groups.

I was particularly affected by the experience of being participant and ambassador in consecutive weeks. Having been served and ministered to during the first week,  put me in a place of eagerness to do the same for others the following week. I came away having been blessed by the journey. I found a host of new colleagues, friends and mentors.

In closing, I would like to thank the Come Before Winter organization, specifically its board of directors and supporters for the ministry that each renewal is to women all over the world. Some of the women that come are simply playing the part of Martha day in and day out and need a “Mary Moment” to sit at the Master’s feet. Some of them are feeling the burdens of a heavy life and are reaching out in fearful faith for the hem of His garment. Whatever their case, on behalf of all that have been blessed, thank you!

Come Before Winter Team South Africa

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Mandy Scudder permalink
    July 5, 2011 3:48 pm

    Love the term “spiritual refreshment”! Nothing like a vacation with God…is there! So glad you came to South Africa, and I am so blessed that I got to know you! You are a tremendously great servant for our Lord my dear! May you ALWAYS feel God’s presence in your life and in your precious family’s life!

  2. katey permalink
    July 27, 2011 1:49 pm

    I am sure it was especially renewing after spending so much “single” parenting this past summer. When the boys go to school August 8th, I’m reading Psalms 103. Love you much Louise.

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