Every year the coming of Spring reminds us that God gives life

Every year the coming of Spring reminds us that God gives life, restores life, and renews life. The forsythia, lilacs,
magnolias, tulips and flowering plum and apricot trees that we see here in Spring are reminders to us of God’s renewal of
all things, things that seemed to be dead in the bleak winter season of our lives.
The glories of Spring were just making their appearance in mid-April as 57 ladies enjoyed a refreshing weekend away at
our yearly women's retreat, sponsored by the International Chapel of Vienna. Sandy is one of the organizers of this
retreat, which is designed to encourage women to draw close to God and to build relationships with women of faith.
Women of all ages, nationalities, backgrounds, and churches attend, making it a truly international experience.
Our speaker, Valerie Murphy, came from Northern Ireland to minister to us through her talks on being captivated by the
love of Christ. One of the key thoughts we came away with is that we will never be captivated by the love of God until
we realize how truly captivated He is with us. Her clear teaching was strengthened by personal down-to-earth
illustrations and practical application of Biblical truths. Three women also gave personal testimonies of how the Lord has
worked in their lives, not only in bringing them to faith in Christ, but in strengthening them in their faith through various
trials and difficult situations. We sang and prayed together, laughed and cried together. We have included a few photos
to give you a taste of this special weekend.
Excerpts of the feedback from the retreat indicated that women were truly refreshed in the Lord.
“The retreat was very meaningful to me and came at just the right time. I want to go through the notes again and what I
have learned about the Lord and to make changes in my life. I loved the personal stories of the ladies; they gave me so
“Fun night was excellent! A good combination of activities requiring everyone to have a small part. Fun night is so
important to get those barriers down and see women mixing with each other. It starts happening in the small groups but
more at Fun Night.”
“I was really looking forward to the retreat, and I have to say it was just what I needed. I found my joy again in the
messages from Valerie and in the wonderful worship music.”
“I really enjoyed my time there and loved seeing so many churches and cultures interacting positively.”
“I loved Valerie so much, especially her practicality and ability to share from her heart. It was obvious that God was
speaking through her as what she said dealt with so many things I am dealing with currently personally....The weekend
came at a perfect time too.”
“…the retreat was great in every area and every detail. Valerie was THE right person for this topic and I felt she was very
close to us and could identify myself with her life journey. Her topic spoke to my heart and she helped me a lot to start my
relationship with the Lord.”
Several ladies made a profession of faith during the retreat. After our final session several women began sharing their
faith with the hotel staff and guests, and a number of them prayed to receive Christ as their Savior. Altogether there were
11 people who came to Christ. That was a wonderful conclusion to our weekend, and a confirmation that God was
working in our midst to draw people to Him—to captivate us with His love. Valerie was so delighted to be together with a
group of international women and to see a living example of the truth that in Christ we truly all are one. Barriers of race,
nationality, age, socio-economic differences--all come down at the foot of the Cross, where we worship Him together.
Coming back from a retreat can be like coming down from a mountain top. At the peak we had a clear view; we saw the
whole panorama of God's love and of our amazing future with Him. Often there are problems waiting down below, and the
reality of the world we live in can quickly overshadow and erase the experiences we had with the Lord on the mountain.
When Peter, James and John came down from the mountain with Jesus, where He had been transfigured before their
very eyes, they were met at the bottom by a man with a demon-possessed son, and Jesus had to rebuke His disciples for
their faithlessness. The problems of everyday life quickly crowded in on them.
Yet their encounter with Christ on the mountain, in His glorified form, must have deeply engrained in their memories. In
Matthew 17 we read that they had fallen on their faces before Him. But Jesus came and touched them and said, "Rise,
and have no fear." "And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only."
Problems and pain are a part of life, but in the midst of our circumstances, we are invited to lift up our eyes and see
Jesus only. We pray that all those who attended the retreat will be strengthened in their desire to be with Him--to spend
time with Him and to be refreshed in Him. May God also encourage your hearts in Him today, and captivate you with His
amazing love.
Rob & Sandy Shaffer
Email: Shaffer24@aol.com
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PO Box 25520
Colorado Springs, CO. 80936-5520