A Secret Women's Retreat in Northern Thailand

You've probably heard about the upcoming Revive '15 Conference this fall and the first international True Woman Conference in the Dominican Republic this past February, but there's a smaller conference Revive Our Hearts helped make possible that slipped quietly past a few months ago. Today I want to tell you about it.

Since 2007, Revive Our Hearts has supported Compassionate Hope, a ministry that offers love, care, and support to persecuted believers in undisclosed regions of Southeast Asia.

Together we have strengthened and cared for the widows and families of martyrs, the imprisoned, the exiled, and the rejected. Knowing they are not alone in their persecution has greatly encouraged and strengthened these suffering saints to press forward with the proclamation of the gospel.

A portion of every gift you give to Revive Our Hearts goes to "mercy ministries" like Compassionate Hope. So thank you for blessing not only these women, but Christ Himself.

And so when Compassionate Hope approached Revive Our Hearts about underwriting* the very first women's conference in this dark region, we joyfully said "yes."

The conference was held this past October in Northern Thailand. Each of the eighty attendees—some from as far as sixteen hours away—was prayerfully chosen and invited because of their significant gospel impact in their particular region. Many were widows of martyrs. Some had languished in prison; others' husbands were in prison. They had been exiled from homes and villages and paid a great price to follow Jesus.

The time was described as "holy," filled with fellowship, prayer, worship, biblical teaching, brokenness, and refreshing times in God's presence.

The women also spent two hours each afternoon making jewelry and other crafts, painting their nails, and cutting their hair. The women marveled at having time to enjoy being a woman, as they're always taking care of their families and church families. What a treat to pamper them!

The men joined right in, joyfully cooking every meal for four days and taking care of all the transportation. "For years we've trained our men but neglected our women," they said. "However, because of this gracious gift, this gives us the opportunity to see our women blessed by God."

Those who attended from the United States were astonished at the depth of these women's joy, surrender, sincerity of faith, fervent prayer, eternal focus, and hunger for spiritual things. There was no self-pity or complaining; the women came with grateful, joy-filled hearts to fervently seek the Lord.

We ended the conference with a "Yes, Lord" time of surrender. The women cracked their beautifully designed clay pots, symbolizing their trust of God for every part of their lives.

Many were going back into difficult situations, so we sent them out under a prayer covering. It's hard to describe what God did during that time.

We cautioned the women about taking their True Woman bags across the border with what was written on them, but they replied, "God will make them invisible to those who would cause harm. We will trust God with this special gift."

What a blessing to partner with Compassionate Hope (and you!) to pour into the suffering and weary saints of this undisclosed region. I say "you," because a portion of every gift you give to Revive Our Hearts goes to "mercy ministries" like Compassionate Hope. So thank you for blessing not only these women, but Christ Himself:

"Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me" (Matt. 25:40).

To hear more about this conference as well as other stories from Compassionate Hope, listen to today's Revive Our Hearts broadcast at ReviveOurHearts.com/Radio.

To accelerate the movement in Southeast Asia and other parts of the world, give here. If you've never donated before, your gift will be doubled this month!

*The money Revive Our Hearts gave for this conference covered transportation, visas to cross the border, three meals plus two snacks each day, lodging for fifty women and several drivers, extra supplies, plus a special gift.

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About the Author

Paula Marsteller

Paula Marsteller

Paula has served with Revive Our Hearts for thirteen years. She is the author of Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl: On Her Journey from Neediness to Freedom. There's nothing she loves to share more than the gospel-centered truths that have so transformed her own life: what it means on a daily basis to be "dead to sin, alive to God, and in Christ Jesus." Paula, Trevor, and their son, Iren, make their home in New York.

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