Sunday, October 25, 2009

R & R

Our retreats have come and gone. All I can say is wow. I feel a little overwhelmed by it all. I definitely feel like God did more in my life than I actually offered anyone else. This time in Cancun with WOTH has been more about personal growth which somehow just doesn't feel right. We come here with the mindset that we are here to serve and to have God actually use the time to minister to me almost seems selfish. I am incredibly thankful though and look forward to sharing those stories in person.

Tomorrow I am going with a group of the girls to a place I don't have a clue how to spell! There are a lot of amazing activities to do from what I understand, followed by dinner and a show. Looking forward to taking some pictures finally! I haven't been too good with the camera this time. The show is supposed to be incredible with wonderful costumes so I'm really looking forward to the day! Hopefully I'll have some fun pictures to share!

Sorry... the internet is pretty slow and uploading pictures is a little frustrating. I'll try again after my excursion tomorrow and when I have a little more patience to get it done! :-)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Being Thankful

Our next retreat is in full swing and the ladies that are in my small group this time are great. They are so honest and genuine with where they are and all commented on how necessary this retreat is for them. There were tears shed the first night and I'm amazed that after 27 years on the field, one of the biggest issues for one of our ladies is loneliness. There are many ladies that are far from other missionary ladies and so they end up feeling quite isolated and alone. Many have told me how wonderful it is to worship in English and of course that just makes me grin from ear to ear to hear that!

The worship times have been amazing and you can just see the pure joy these ladies have as they worship in their own heart language. I think after a number of years of hurting in this area myself, I know that this passion for worship is not gone and that I need to continue to find ways to be unleashed in this area. I feel like God has done some healing in my own heart this past week and almost feel guilty that I'm receiving more than I'm giving! I'm very thankful for the experience I've had here and a little speechless too. I haven't taken many pictures, but if you want to see more my roommate is our photographer and you can see her pictures on the WOTH blog: More later! :o)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

One more thing...

This morning I decided to take a look in the "shoe shop" in the hotel to see what I might find that I can't live without! (Matt will be happy to read that!) However, I walked in and was pretty quickly greeted by Ali, the shop owner.

Ali is from Turkey and pretty quickly in our conversation he figured out that I was with the "missionary women." He was excited to tell me about his spiritual awakening over the past few years and that he believes in one God. He was raised with Muslim parents although I don't believe he actually practices their faith although I can see how it has influenced him. He was happy to share how he believes there is only one true God and I think he enjoys being able to say that with all the other missionary women who are wandering around here.

He commented about how amazing it was that the church supports the women to be a part of a conference like this and started asking about giving within the church. He was asking how it could be that in our economy we would do that. After fumbling around trying to explain how and why we tithe, I was feeling like I wasn't making much sense and hoping God was at work in our conversation in spite of my lack of words.

He has been "seeking a religion" over the past few years and it was quite an amazing conversation. He apologized for not having any coffee to share with me so I think I will need to take my own beverage and visit him in his shop and carry on our conversation while I'm here. I understand how quiet it can be in a shop like this since I worked in one similar in my own past so it will be fun to keep him company here and there. Pray for Ali and my conversations with him while I'm here and for his business - pretty slow with the poor economy and lack of tourists.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Resting and relaxing

Well, our first retreat has come and gone already! It's amazing how fast time has gone by! Our first group of ladies left this afternoon and it was a little sad. There was one lady that is actually from Japan of all places, who was allowed to come to the Cancun retreat. That's not normal that they would allow a lady from another area of the world to attend since they want to offer this special treat to ladies ministering in the immediate area. I know that God made the way for her to be here so that she and I would connect! Turns out she has her doctorate in worship studies and she and I clicked instantly. She was so kind to me and I felt like she was here just for me. Definitely a gift from God directly to me!

One of the gals in my small group for this retreat was really special to me as well. We never spent any time in deep conversation, but she told me this morning that for whatever reason, she just felt a special connection to me. I definitely have a soft spot in my heart for her as well and I'm not even quite sure why. I was quite sad to see her go today.
My room mate (Nicole) and I were able to switch rooms today... yeah! Up to this point, I think we were the only one from our group that didn't have a view of the pool or the ocean from our balcony. We had the "lovely generator on top of the roof of the hotel next door" view. Surely we must have been paying more for that view! Anyway, we are now overlooking the pool area and can see the ocean. We decided on our morning off tomorrow, we might order
room service for breakfast and eat from our balcony. How's that for luxury! Well... only if it's not pouring rain like it was this morning! You'd think we had a hurricane on
the way or something! They've had a red flag warning the whole time we've been here so far which means you can't go swimming in the ocean. Major bummer - and it's probably been cloudy more than it's been sunny. I did get to sit by the ocean today and go down and at least put my toes in so no complaints here. The water really is as blue as it looks in the postcards. No photo touch up there! It's beautiful!

It was great to have the afternoon off to rest! Tomorrow we start all over again with another group of ladies so we are all in emotional downtime at the moment and there were many happy women laying in the sun today!

More later! :-)

Monday, October 19, 2009

First Retreat in Full Swing!

Well, made it through my first couple days at the retreat. Funny, I've been here since Friday and I've only had the opportunity to gaze at the ocean from a distance! The nature of the work for now though... and I love it!

I've led worship a couple times and it's been amazing. I was quite nervous about it all because when I got here, the volunteer staff had been told about me before my arrival (I arrived a day after everyone else) and were making comments like... "everyone has said just wait until you hear Tracy!" Just a little bit of pressure there for this insecure worship leader!

I know the acoustics are wonderful in the meeting room that we are in, but I could swear the angels are singing with us. It's SO beautiful to hear these women sing! There is nothing more amazing than singing Holy, Holy, Holy accapella with a room full of women so dedicated to the Lord! I'm simply blown away. I have a gal leading with me who is just a beautiful woman inside and out. She and I have a lot in common and have both had our share of heartaches in the realm of worship in the church. She has definitely an unexpected gift to me on this trip.

I spent the afternoon today in our hairstylist's room helping her. I mostly did jobs like
sweeping up all the hair and entertain people waiting for their haircuts. When she asked me to blow dry and style one of the girls hair, I was a little bit nervous to say the least! It actually turned out pretty well and I didn't even burn her with the curling iron or bump her in the head with the hair dryer! Success in my book! Ha!

The hotel is pretty amazing and I really look forward to hanging out here with Matt when he comes next week. I think after this week is over I'll be pretty exhausted and really anxious to finally get to "go" to the beach even though it's right out the back end of the hotel!

The internet is pretty slow loading pictures so I'll have to put more up later. For more stories and pictures, you can visit the "official" site at You won't see me in the staff picture because I was off fighting a migraine, but feeling great now!! Off to prepare for our worship time tomorrow. More later! :o)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

I'm here!

Well, traveled for the first time out of the country on my own. Usually I have the benefit of being part of a group and feeling a little more secure about having a support group around me. This time I had to go it on my own! So with about 130lbs of gear (3 suitcases worth) I headed through the Mexican airport on my own. Of course I was stopped because I was "carrying so many of the same kind of item." I had to give an account for what I was carrying and what I was doing with it - in as general terms as I could. I ended up having to pay about $16 to carry it all on through customs so not too bad I suppose. Could have been worse!

Pushed my 3 suitcases on out the front door to be greeted by about 30 guys standing outside all holding their signs wanting me to go with their company. Luckily I saw my guy pretty quickly and he showed me where to catch my van. I was given the royal treatment because I had a "private" transport arranged for me. Kinda nice! I hopped in the van and was off to my hotel in no time!

The hotel is beautiful. The ocean is the bluest blue you would ever see but it's been pretty cloudy and VERY muggy. All our ladies arrive tomorrow and off we go! God is good and we once again have an amazing group of staff ladies. Looking forward to see what's in store!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Off to Cancun!

Women of the Harvest... Part III

I'm off again to lead worship for retreats for missionary women. This time it will be women from all over Central and South America. A little anxious as this time I'm traveling on my own with two 50 lb suitcases plus a third carry on suitcase. It's a lot of stuff! I'll be happy to get there and give up about 65 lbs of stuff that I won't have to bring home! :-)

We'll begin our retreat on Sunday afternoon and I'm excited to see what God has in store for the next week!