“Wow! I haven’t seen that smile of yours for months. How did that joy come back?”
Carly* heard her mentor speak what she already knew to be true. Her loneliness, joylessness, isolation, and burnout had overtaken her spirit for the better part of 2020, but God had brought something new to quench her thirsty heart – community, refreshment, prayer, worship, resourcing, and smiles.
Carly’s story of fatigue in 2020 is not unique. We’ve all seen the increased isolation beginning last year lead to more intense feelings of burnout around the world, even outside of the missions community. People worldwide are being faced more head-on with mental and emotional health, and how that affects their vocational and relational lives.
Tough decisions have forced cross-cultural workers into uncertainty or unplanned circumstances. But it’s also forged unexpected friendships and empathy on a global scale.
After all, how many have felt that their smile has faded, or that their attitude of joy has gone into hiding?
For Thrive, a ministry focused on replenishing women ministering overseas, 2020’s changes led to a brand-new event, Gather, where more than 400 women assembled online in July for a five-day, web-based event full of speaker sessions, prayer groups, worship, self-care times, social hours, and more. A place where women like Carly can be poured into, and be reminded of the thousands of women following the same Kingdom Call.
Gather was a true “silver lining” for women serving around the world and women who were brought off the field or prevented from returning to their home countries for furlough or sabbaticals for the summer.
Carly’s fresh reminders of God’s hope amidst isolation are foundational to overseas ministry. “So often I think I’ll do a retreat on my home assignment, and I normally do, but while on the field is really when I need that love and encouragement,” she said.
This month, Gather is happening again. Women from all sending nations ministering outside their home culture are invited to join the Thrive family for five days of refreshment, encouragement, community, teaching, prayer, resourcing, laughter, and so much more.
Even as 2021 begins to see new changes and questions, we can be reminded that none of us is alone – regardless of passport country, host country, or heart country.
More About Gather
February 22-26, 2021
$50 Registration Fee (Access to All 35+ Hours of Live Sessions)
Inviting All Women Serving Cross-Culturally
Register and Learn More at thrive.is/gather2021
Thrive is a ministry that exists to replenish women who are serving cross-culturally by providing spiritual resources through Connection, transformative experiences through Retreats & Events, authentic one-on-one relationships through Alongside, and increase Advocates for them as they invest in Kingdom work.
Learn More at thriveministry.org
*This story is a representation of a woman ministering overseas. Thrive has changed her name to protect her anonymity for this communication.