By Denise Beck
As the world pivots into what it means to be removed from physical connection as a main form of business, relationships, socializing, recreation, and worship, there is a subset of the global population that has been quietly perfecting social distance from these things for years. The missionary and expat communities know what it’s like to live a life removed. Their tools to succeed in what is a “normal” for many of them include resources that have been created to meet their needs; to help them thrive in their removed, disconnected lifestyles. Missionaries are uniquely positioned to teach us about staying connected though distanced, and If we don’t take a moment to learn from them, we are missing out on a chance to grow and make the most of this time.
Resources that they have come to rely on include global virtual communities, virtual book clubs, online retreats and connection groups; Online worship, support groups, and creative outlets.
I am the Executive Director of Velvet Ashes, an organization that has been feeding content to this specific population of global women for seven years. And while I want to protect the mission and vision of our organization, I feel I can’t hoard the blessing that I know is now applicable to the local church as well as those serving abroad.
As many churches are cancelling their annual men’s and women’s retreats, Velvet Ashes has been providing an online option for women to retreat each year; and we are unaffected by the cancellations of the day. Although we couldn’t have known when we planned the theme for this year what the world would be going through, we know God did.
We would love to open our retreat to the church community as we explore “Yet I Will Celebrate”. Together we will learn from Habakkuk how to celebrate the goodness of God, no matter the circumstances. While this retreat was unapologetically created for women serving in cross cultural contexts, we believe that what unites us during this time is greater than that which separates us. Check out our online retreat here or learn more about Velvet Ashes here. We want you to be able to still offer quality resources to your church community as you meet their needs during this time. We provide everything your church needs to host a small group, virtual group, or personal retreat. Please email me if you want more information firstname.lastname@example.org.
I encourage you as church and organization leaders to look to your global worker community for resources during this time. They are generous; they are often forgotten; they are valuable.
On a closing note, I can’t help but think of the coming of the Messiah; when in Pax Romana the conditions were made right for the word of His coming to spread. There has never been a time in history where this many people were tuned in, quieted, and listening. What is He preparing to speak to us? Let’s prepare our hearts to hear.