I worked so hard preparing for this time together. The place, the message, the gifts, everything. In the end, everything was absolutely perfect. Of our 17 writers, 12 were present! 4 were out of the country, only 1 was unable to come and she is a mom of a newborn. Pretty cool!
the place: the city we met in was in the East of Slovakia, Kosice (4 hours by train from me). Friday night, we met in a little cafe/ pancake-ery in the city center. We ate, drank coffee/tea and played “get to know you” games for about 3 hours before splitting up and going “home” (the team members from the East hosted us for the night). For Saturday, I found a “hotel-ish” sort of place that allowed us to have 2 private rooms, 1 for meeting, 1 for eating. The staff were so, so kind and gracious and helpful to us. And the food was delicious. They really treated us all like princesses.
the message: I was able to organize our main block of our time on Saturday (5 hours) into different parts: calling of the blog (my story, how it came to be) Purpose and Audience (for whom and what we write), Expectations (details of how often and format to write), feedback (what they are hearing about the blog). We began our time with worship (led by Kati) and ended it with a commitment form to sign, mostly symbolic that they understand and agree with everything.
the gifts: I made them journals (each personalized with their name), a mug and pen with the napokonkrasne logo, a USB stick with MP3 files from the blogging conference we attended in the US, a book for inspiration (ones that were given to us from the US conference) and a hand-made bag to carry it all!
Although it was a lot of work, the reward of seeing their faces as they opened their gifts was such a blessing to me. I just cried as I watched them, it brought me so much joy. As a missionary, i know this feeling of being loved on and lathered with good things. Too often, I am the receiver of such gifts and this time it felt so good to be the giver. What a blessing it was for me.
We ended our time together walking through the city center and Christmas market. It was beautiful and I was able to buy my first gift for the Christmas season (remember this was already December 14 and we left for the US on December 17th)
I could really feel their responses, the energy they created together was noticeable. they loved being together, getting to know each other personally, sharing stories. They loved their gifts, were so surprised and felt known. They interacted, asked questions, gave feedback and told personal stories of women who are encouraged by the blog.
The time together was priceless and encouraged us all to keep pressing into this Dream from God. I came back from the weekend totally exhausted, but so satisfied. Looking back, I really can’t believe I was able to do it all. It’s proof that it wasn’t me at all, but all the Lord doing it through me.
thank you for praying for this time, and thank you for being so patience waiting for the report! More next time about our time in the US over Christmas.
One prayer request for this week:
the kids are in the middle of half year exams. they missed some work while we were gone, and so studying and preparing is more challenging.
Each day they are taking make up tests and/or half year exams, please remember to pray for them during this week.