“Stepping Out with God” was the topic of this year’s women’s retreat held on September 1-3 at Abba’s Haven near Lavina, Montana. Laura Worf, the new Women’s Ministry Director for the Montana Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, was the guest speaker. Worf led the women in a study of Psalm 37:23,24. She talked about how God leads us, how He delights in us, how He keeps us from falling when we stumble, and how He is holding us by the hand.
The nearly 40 women in attendance enjoyed making new friends and connecting with long-time friends while enjoying the beautiful setting in nature.
Sabbath morning, a group of women from the Choteau Montana Adventist church presented the “Woman at the Well” story, complete with a beautiful painting by Arlene Harris.
During the day on Sabbath, Lanette Brown, the organizer of the retreat, invited the women to turn in their name badges and draw another women’s name badge to take home with them and pray for that lady each day for the next year.
Saturday night, the women enjoyed a Bean Auction. They discovered one of the attendees, Shauna Herbel, owned and ran her own auction company, so she was immediately commissioned to be the auctioneer for the Bean Auction. Each lady was given a quantity of beans to use as currency to bid on items each woman had brought to the retreat. There was laughter all around as the women enjoyed each others’ company and took home new “treasures.” Also on display were all the socks the women had been asked to bring to benefit a mission project for the needy.
Danita Rixen, one of the women attending the retreat, with a few of her friends, came up to Laura Worf Sabbath evening with tears in her eyes. Rixen started sharing: “When you taught that the Godly are those who believe in God and receive Him into their lives, I realized I had always believed in God but that I had never received Him into my life.” She went on to say that earlier that day she had invited God into her life and had experienced a joy in her heart that she had never before experienced.
At Sunday morning’s session, Laura Worf invited Danita Rixen to share with the entire group how she had invited God into her heart. Worf then invited the women to come forward and lay their hands on Rixen while they prayed over her. Judy Schwab, (who had drawn Rixen’s name badge to pray for her for the following year) led out in the prayer. Worf commented, “It was so powerful to end our retreat celebrating the birth of a new baby Christian. Part of our program talked about how God delights in every detail of our lives. I had used the illustration of a parent enjoying every detail of a new baby, and here we had a wonderful real-life example of a newlyborn baby Christian in our midst! God richly blessed our time together.”
Worf ended the retreat by talking about how God wants to hold us by the hand. She used an illustration of an unfinished quilt to make the point that as God is leading us in this life, we see our circumstances and the path he has us on as the underside of an unfinished quilt. “There are lots of knots, missing pieces, and parts that make no sense to us,” she stated. A few women had been holding up an unfinished quilt with the underside showing to help the women visualize the illustration. Worf then asked the women holding the quilt to turn it over so the audience could see the finished top. She stressed that this is how God sees our lives. “We are His masterpiece according to Ephesians 2:10 NLT,” she emphasized. Worf encouraged all of the women to hang tight to God’s hand and continue “Stepping Out with God.”
At the end of the retreat, Laura Worf presented Lanette Brown with a gift from the Montana Conference of Seventh-day Adventists in appreciation for her efforts keeping the yearly retreat going while there had been a vacancy in the Women’s Ministry Director position at the Montana Conference of SDA the past few years. Worf also presented Brown with a gift of appreciation from Sue Patzer, Women’s Ministry Director for the North Pacific Union Conference.
Worf stated, “I’m excited to begin to pull together a committee of women who are passionate about serving the women of the Montana Conference. And I’m glad that Lanette Brown will be part of that committee which will help to ensure a smooth transition. We want to provide programming that nurtures the women around the Montana Conference and also plan for ways to impact the women in our individual communities.
Next year’s retreat is scheduled for August 30 – September 1 and will be held at Abba’s Haven again. Any ladies who are interested in serving on the Women’s Ministry Committee or helping with the Retreat are asked to contact Laura Worf at email@example.com.