Pathways Through Gethsemane
The Power of Prayer in Our Lives

Women of Georgia 51st Annual Retreat - Page 2

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Stories written and submitted by
Chris Klimshuk, Lawrenceville First Christian Church, official Retreat Reporter


Saturday PM:

So here it is Saturday PM. This was such a jammed packed day! Our emotions ran the full gamut! Workshops and the Healing Service then the evening session, oh and of course, there was food in between! Everyone was getting ready to share their gifts and so many diverse and unexpected blessings showed up!

107_0766.jpgBefore everything got rolling, I decided to sneak back stage to catch a glimpse of our illustrious stage florist / designer, and the "unit of measure" used by "The Rock N Banner Babes" to measure the stage!  Everyone feel free to call Sue Wood and ask her about that one! Noah used cubits, and we used "Merrits"!  Anyway, here she is stopping long enough from her backstage scurrying to smile ( beautifully I might add! ) for your retreat reporter!

107_0768.JPG Of course our evening begins with music and praise! Thank you Ann!

107_0769.jpgA thank you to Zena, Prayer Warrior Princess, for her ministry to us as interim Regional Minister over the last 20+ months! You have been a blessing to us and especially to the women of Georgia! Besides, anyone who is willing to run around in a custom made "Zena, Prayer Warrior Princess" T-Shirt gift, has got to be a really cool person!

107_0771.jpg107_0773.jpg"I Come From Woman", an amazingly haunting and beautiful musical litany of the many facets of womanhood through the ages. An ancestral drumbeat guided us through this otherwise acapella musical sermonette. Hearing a beating drum now will forever remind me of the very breath of life with which God blesses us every day! What will we choose to do with the life He gives to us for today?

Lighting of the candles:

107_0776.jpgA tribute to the women serving in the armed forces.

107_0779.jpgOur sisters who have journeyed home before us were respectfully remembered. A special remembrance was also offered to our Colombian sisters and brothers fallen in the name and service of our God. We viewed a very touching, if not disturbing video explaining just a few of the horrors Christians in Colombia are facing. Many brave Christians, some just children, gave their lives for the cause of Christ. This was especially moving to me on so many levels.

It reminds me of the song by Ray Boltz, "I Pledge Allegiance To The Lamb". In his music video, we see saints through the ages, martyred in the name of Christ, standing and praising at the throne of God in Heaven. I would like to imagine that these current day martyrs are welcomed into the arms of God in the same way. I wonder, if I were in their position, if I had to make a choice, would I make the right one? I certainly pray that I would, but hope I never have to know. By far, we don't live in a perfect country, but how blessed we are to live where we aren't asked to choose between our life here on earth or our home in Heaven!

I was touched by some of the reactions I saw on the faces around me, but yet at the same time I wondered, how many of our own here in our country are we ostracizing? They may not come under the threat of death that our family members in Colombia have experienced, but how many times do we attack someone's spirit because of a different belief, a different value, a different race or, even something as simple as a different weight. Are we still that petty?

People used to be afraid of me because I have an illness that scared them. Before they understood it or bothered to get to know me, some called me terrible things or were afraid to even touch me. I'm a very huggy kind of person, so it was a horrible time for me. I felt that I was worth less than healthy people who couldn't even catch what I had. If you haven't felt discriminated against for any reason, you're blessed. I hope you never do know how it feels and by the same token, I pray we never dole that out to anyone else either!

You know, we may not agree with everyone who crosses our path, or understand them, but can we not remember that these people are God's children too? They are our brothers and sisters and God finds great value in them as well. Perhaps we can all learn from the feelings we experienced during the video of the suffering in Colombia, just how valuable we all are to each other and to God! Regardless of our differences or similarities, we have one Father! We are one family! We have one home and that's Heaven! Eternity is an awful long time to live with a stranger, and brothers and sisters should never be strangers to one another whether they live across the globe or next door!

Following the lighting of the candles and the video, we began the "Sharing Of Gifts".

107_0780.jpgAnn Haines offered up a gift of sign language to the song "I Can Only Imagine". I have always thought that the beauty God can put in the hands of a Christian seems to be so gracefully displayed whenever I have witnessed a song gently interpreted in sign.

107_0789.jpgSong: The Happy Wanderer - Lavonda Shadix - Amazing Grace and He Lives to the tune of The Happy Wanderer! Lavonda shared with us a fun way of singing old hymns to a different tune! I knew you could sing Amazing Grace to the tune from the Gilligan's Island theme, but I liked what Lavonda did better! We eventually joined in once we caught on and it was a lot of fun to see how it all fit together.

107_0797.jpgThe Garden , Horda and Friends - Sue Wood offered a strange and twisted tribute to the stage crew and the Rock N Banner Babes at Lawrenceville First primarily directed to see if it would make Chris Klimshuk red with either embarrassment or laughter. Congratulations Sue! Again, I bow in humility to your finely honed skills. I'm rarely speechless and stupefied at the same time, which frankly, I imagine that would be the safest way for me to be!

She did, however, follow this up with a very fitting and interestingly polite tribute to Pam Mikovitz. Hugs for all you do Pam, and Sue...I'm keeping my eye on you!!!!

107_0790.jpgThe Plan Of The Master Weaver (a reading) - Linda Phillippo - Linda, this was an excellent choice to read for the retreat. It puts me in mind of the prayer shawl that we were constructing and it's meaning is even deeper to me now. The beautiful idea that even the threads that we find to be out of place, or as the poem said "a strand of sorrow is added", are with in God's amazing plan for our lives. Usually when we are in the midst of God's plan being fulfilled, we rarely see the final result. It's always in hindsight that we see the most clearly. If you think of your life and who you were years ago, and any of what you've been through since, realize this: that all of the experiences, or strands, of your life come together to make you the blessing you are becoming. Without one of those experiences, a single missing strand, you would have been different today and may have missed an opportunity to be a blessing to someone who may have needed you.

107_0799.jpgJesus Loves Me ( Senior Citizen's version ) - June Coleman

June, I know I'm not a senior citizen, but I totally relate to so much of the song that it is probably going to send me to therapy. What a really cute song. By the way: Send me the words. I have a bunch of folks who wanted to hear it!

108_0801.jpgMary's Little Boy - a poem written and read by Hazel Magner

This was a touching soliloquy begun from Mary's point of view as she watched her Son grow and fulfil God's plan for our salvation. It touched especially on how a mother envisions the best for her child; how Mary thought Jesus life would be. He would always be her little boy to her. How different God's plan was for Him. What a bounty we received because God's plan was perfect even through the suffering of His blessed Son and even through Mary's own sorrow. Beyond her grief, what joy must she have known when God's plan came to fruition through the resurrection of this divine Son. Notice that Hazel wrote this. Thank you for touching our hearts Hazel, especially mine!

108_0802.jpgPraise and Relaxation Through Yoga - Julie Lee - First of all I admire this woman for many reasons, and until now one of them had not included the fact that she was able to praise God in the physical form of a pretzel. Which by the way is based in the Trinity. Look it up. It's a cool story.

Anyway, there were sympathetic groans of pain from the audience as she easily contorted into positions I have seen in macramé charts with ease, and if she broke a sweat, I couldn't tell from where I was sitting! Truly amazing. Had most of us tried that, we would require surgery to untangle us! Julie, YOU GO GIRL!

108_0803.jpgBig Dream - Liz Deweese - Liz presented a reading as well as an acapella song. Something I would never be brave enough to do. God bless those background tapes! In any case, the song which was beautiful without any music other than Liz's voice, spoke of "a Big Dream". Being in mind of our Christian lives, I thought of our Big Dream being to follow God's will for us. She relates in the song a portion about standing in the moonlight "...naked as the day I was born" then references that there is no shame beneath the sky. God sees us from the inside out. Without any protective covering to hide who we really are. As a young child has no shame in their own nakedness we can stand naked in front of our Lord, also bearing no shame. The song continues with a point made about having kissed the past good bye. Our Father says our sins, once forgiven, are as far from Him as the east is from the west. He will create with in us a clean heart. The last part and one of the touching parts of the song says "With a sweet sound only I can make and it gets stronger with every breath I take..." I really think of our own personal prayer being the sweet sound only we alone can make and every prayer brings us closer to our God and makes us stronger. The chorus says, "Makes me think that God's a woman too", again just reminds me of the creative, always life giving side of God, the mothering side of God. Beautiful and thoughtful gift from you, Liz. Thank you.

107_0785.JPGI'm Just A Girl Who Can't Say No" - Linda Whitmire - Linda, what can I say, except that since I promised not to describe your act the way I had originally planned, will this do...? After the initial sense of shock and awe, it was sort of like watching Lil' Abner's girlfriend, Daisy Mae, having succumbed to a hormonal flux of intense proportion, winning a "take home all you can" opportunity while running through the streets of ManTown! I will never see Linda quite the same way again! Honestly if my sides ever stop aching from all the laughing, especially after the whole "Sue Wood Incident" and "Pokey Hontas", I think I should be extremely surprised. Basically, I'm just glad I left with two functional lungs after that!

108_0814.jpgSkit - The Story of Pokey Hontas -- presented by an illustrious yet unusual group of our beloved sisters from Decatur First and others -- I don't recall, but I think I was able to draw only three actual breaths of air throughout this entire performance! I laughed so hard it actually hurt!

A vintage Rock Eagle Retreat skit, it had us all in absolute hysterics. It made me wonder what was the purpose for any of us who even tried to put on any make-up. By the end of this, mine was somewhere around my chin. People must have thought that I hadn't bathed in a week or I had some sort of hormonal issue resulting in the spontaneous sprouting of a goatee! Between the curtain parting, the scene falling, the situation changing and my personal favorite...the great wind, I'm surprised that there was anyone who wasn't in serious need of CPR or at the very least, a make over!

108_0815.jpgSong: "The Light House" - Tamie Hines should win a medal for the most patience, tolerance, along with an excellent sense of humor during unforeseen technical difficulties. What a really good sport! All that and she followed it up with a great song and a great message. "The Light House" has always been a favorite of mine and it was so cool to hear it again. Thanks and hugs to you, Tamie! You really did great under pressure! Hey, that reminds me, isn't that how a diamond happens?

108_0817.jpgKeep A-Pluggin’ Away - recited by Jaque Bloom - a poem written by Paul Laurence Dunbar , we are reminded not to quit in the face of difficulty. If we just "keep a pluggin away", we will achieve our goal, and God's goal for our lives as we learned in Adei's teaching this retreat weekend. How many of us, when trouble comes, want to fold. The choice to do so is certainly ours, but the choice not to is ours as well. Jaque reminded me of something I heard a minister say not long ago. He said, "If you think you're going through hell...DON'T STOP! RUN! It ain't that long before you get through the other side!" Besides, our God is bigger than any thing Satan can throw at us and if we allow God to use our grief and suffering, he'll bring us and others strength and peace. Thanks for reminding us to Keep A Pluggin away, Jaque, and the prayer of healing for brokenness you offered was truly beautiful.

108_0820.jpgSong: "Can't Live A Day With Out You" - by Chris Klimshuk ( commentary deferred to Connie Thompson) -- A song of the soul to be sure! Chris meant this message with every fiber of her being, and we knew it by the time she was finished. The message is essentially that one could live having or not having the most wonderful things that life can offer, but we couldn't face tomorrow or live a day without our God. This one tied in beautifully with Adei's characterizations about God as our life force in phrases like "You're the heartbeat of all that I do." Heartbeat . . . drumbeat . . . heartbeat . . . breathe . . . breath of life . . . "Jesus, I live because you live. You're like the air that I breathe." Chris's powerful presentation moved us deeply and reduced some of us to tears. Thank you for touching us at the core, Chris!

108_0823.jpgSong: "The Lord Is My Shepherd" - by Donna Lassiter - Donna has that really rich alto voice one only hears in accomplished operatic performers. I swear I don't think there was a note out of place! Very Cool lady and very cool talent! Donna I don't know if you took lessons or if that was a gift God gave you, but it was awesome. Don't ever stop using it! I have this image of you, Ann, Adei, and Linda doing "The Flower Duet" as a quartet from the opera Lakmé. That would be neat, huh?

108_0824.jpgDramatic presentation: "Touch Of Faith" - Vanessa Hickman gave a presentation that absolutely reduced me to a puddle of tears in it's realistic portrayal. This woman is gifted! FYI : she is gathering a rather impressive list of dramatic presentations from a woman's perspective! Some of you folks may want to check with her about performing for a function at your church! Go for the "call," Vanessa, and thanks for the autograph!

108_0833.jpgSong: "Prayer Warrior" - Connie Thompson - After Vanessa, I was toast, but Connie reduced me even further to a state of gelatinous goo. What a powerful and most perfect message for this weekend! We are prayer warriors and I've had the privilege and blessing to see Connie put her warrior attitude into motion. I pray that we all learned a thing or two from Connie's song about the power with in us all when we pray! Prayer is truly the single most powerful weapon Christians have if we only remember to use it! Love ya Connie!

108_0836.jpgSong: "Gone" - Genette Waits and Gloria Hunt - This was a very cool, down home type of style that reminded me in a very good way of the female version of the Soggy Bottom Boys From "O' Brother Where Art Thou"! I really loved this one! It also reminded me of the old time revival meetings I used to attend as a child. It brought back some really warm memories! Nice job ladies! And Genette also has the gift of hugging, just in case any one needs to know that for next year!

More Photos from Saturday:


Ann Haines opened with morning worship music

Worshipers praise in beautiful harmonies


Sue Wood opens with our AM announcements


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Adei was, as always, in rare form, relating to us in terms of cooking.








Pam Mikovitz, regional administrative assistant, during a break in activities

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Continue on to PART 3 - Sunday

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