"I felt completely heard and understood"
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17 May 2018

"I felt completely heard and understood"

The last week of April and the first week of May, seven participants came for the "Radiant Life" Debriefing retreat for missionary families, couples and singles in Orlando. This was a period of rest, refreshment and renewal for these missionaries. Here are just a couple of powerful testimonies from participants in the Radiant Life debriefing retreat in Orlando, Florida:

"What a week! Our family spent the last 9 days in Florida attending a missionary debrief conference “Radiant Life” through Excelling Leaders. It was a week we didn’t know we needed but are thankful the Lord knew we did. We processed through some of the best and hardest times we’ve experienced not only on the mission field but in marriage and life as a whole. We cried more than we thought we would and laughed till our bellies hurt. We were challenged as a family, as a couple, and as individuals. We met friends who became like family and had conversations with people who “had been there”. We left not only feeling refreshed and inspired but reminded-that we aren’t alone on this journey”.

"It was one of the most life changing experiences I have taken part of. It’s a safe place and no judgments and all the way through it we all knew we were not alone. I was able to get some much needed healing to a very bruised soul."

"I felt completely heard and understood ".

Debriefing Retreat

The retreat was organized by YWAM colleagues Kevin and Sue Prins, who from their own experience want to pass on why it is so good to return to the mission field with good resilience and being better equipped. It is also important to bring closure after a long period on the mission field and prepare for return to your "passport country" which, after such a long time away, might not feel the same as when you left it. (www.excellingleaders.org)
Kevin and Sue had approached Jolanda last year to work with their staff team, but until now, this was practically impossible with the kids at home. Fortunately, Rodney's parents were able to fly in from Arizona and help out with the girls, allowing Jolanda to focus completely on the debriefing of these missionaries.

Their Debriefing team consisted of six people and they first met for a few days to prepare the lessons and the personal debriefing. On Friday, April 27, all participants arrived, two families with a total of 5 children, a couple and a single.
A team-building exercise we did during our preparation for the debriefing retreat. 
Jo was given full creative license to prepare the welcome baskets for the participants.

"We help missionaries tell their story"

A debriefing is a relational process in which the realities of the past and their impact are expressed and understood for the purpose of release, renewal, and moving forward. Effective personal debriefing is, essentially, helping a person tell their story in an environment where they feel fully heard and understood. We, as debriefers use a timeline, also known as a "life path", to help them tell their story. During this retreat in Orlando, together with a male colleague, Jolanda was the personal debriefer of two couples.

There was also a team member debriefing the five children at their age level. They walked the children through a debriefing based on the biblical story of Abraham including creative activities. They talked about Abraham also having to move and pack up his tent. What all did Abraham take with him and what did he leave behind? What or who do you leave behind to start again somewhere else?

Broken "shards" become whole again

One of the activities that Jolanda did together with the participants was Japanese "Kintsugi" art repair. In this technique, broken, ceramic vessels are glued back together and the cracks and "scarring" are made beautiful with gold paint.

We all know that feeling: that we were once a "beautiful flowerpot". Sometimes things happen that "break" us, we experience events such as moving, living in a foreign country, grief, lack, pain, feeling misunderstood, conflict and so on.

God picks up these "shards", sees them and uses all these experiences, everything that is "broken", and brings healing and breakthrough to make you whole again. He brings everything back to the right place, to a beautiful new pot, a new you! Sometimes the scars remain visible, but God gives "Golden Paint" and brings relief, clarity and healing through His touch and anointing. The cracks may still be visible, but now they are filled with precious gold. You are of value, you are unique and worth more than GOLD.
Shards are glued back together again. God puts everything back in the right place and heals brokenness.
The glued cracks are covered with golden paint! The pot is whole again and has even more value than before.
The participants all broke a flower pot and glued it back together again. This "act" gave a lot of food for thought and brought healing. While they painted over the cracks with gold paint, the stories and testimonies of what God is doing in their personal lives started pouring out.

10/40 Window Reporter

I, Rodney, have had the privilege this month of working on another ministry website, 10/40 Window Reporter (windowreporter.com). The website is from a ministry called Window International Network (WIN) and exists to inform people about what is going on in the countries of the 10/40 window, bring praise reports and help people pray for the countries of the 10/40 window every month.

The 10/40 window refers to those regions of the eastern hemisphere, plus the European and African part of the western hemisphere, located between 10 and 40 degrees north of the equator, that was purported to have the highest level of socioeconomic challenges and least access to the Christian message and Christian resources on the planet. A refresher course on exactly what the 10/40 window is, can be found on their main ministry website. (Which we will also be redoing for them. More on that in a future update.)
Thank you for reading our update and for your faithful prayers and support.

Rodney, Jolanda, Lisa and Sarah
Sarah giving a presentation on family night at school. 
Lisa giving a presentation she made about a short story she wrote.
Lisa and her bestie, Kayli.
Sarah and her bestie, Gabby.
Lisa enjoyed her last year of middle school volleyball. Her team was undefeated!
Sarah sang with her school choir this year. Hopefully she will continue with choir next year in middle school. (top row, 4th from the left!)
Copyright © 2018 Rodney and Jolanda Blevins, All rights reserved.

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