Our speaker was Jan Kwiatkowski and she has accepted Christ as her Savior in 1975. She has been serving on her church's leadership borard for 11 years and worked as a treasurer there for 13 years. She has a huge heart for women's ministry and since 2005 she has been arranging simple get togethers with women with a variety of themes. She began speaking at women's retreats in 2006 and her life verse is Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Him who strengthens me."
What I liked about Jan is that she shared her heart and soul with us (she shared some really personal things about how she became a widow and how God began showing her what her gifts and callings were after her husband passed away). She also gave us a LOT of homework (even an hour long test we had to take before we came to the retreat) and then many assignments while we were there. But the student in me loved the challenge and loved having to "think" and use my brain! The assignments were thought provoking and time consuming but in the end it was so worth it.
Our first test that we took prior to the retreat was to discover our spiritual gifts. My top 5 gifts were, teaching, wisdom, knowledge, evangelism, and hospitality. Then we had to do more assessments to figure out how we can use our gifts to benefit others and to glorify God. And how were we going to leave the retreat changed and ready to really use our gifts for the people in our homes, church, and community.
Our final assignment was to come up with our Vision statement, Mission statement and Life verse, and so here is what I came up with.
My Vision: I exist to brighten the day of the women around me, to excite them in hearing God's truth and to encourage them to live godly lives by effectively pointing them to Christ by my written words (my blog), my spoken words (my Bible Study) and my life.
My Mission Statement: I passionately enjoy mentoring and teaching women of all ages by motivating them to a deeper relationship with Christ and inspiring them to live godly lives.
My Life Verse: Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. 1 Timothy 4:12
It's exciting to know that God will reveal so much to us when we take the time to study and listen and really ask Him for guidance. I had a great time bonding with the women there, many of whom come to Ladies Bible study on Tuesday, and many of whom I am already close to at church. I got to room with my friend Marian, and a woman named Edith from Nigeria! Edith was a HUGE blessing to me. We stayed up talking Saturday night about her 5 children (3 of which are in college) and what life was like in Nigeria. I loved hearing her accent and learning about her culture, and let me tell you, she LOVES the Lord! Before we left the room she grabbed both our hands to pray with us. I loved it!
God has been showing me that my family is definitely my main "MISSION" right now, since I am wife and mother to two small ones and my goal is to raise them in a godly home and to come to a personal relationship with Jesus. But God has also showed me that my personality and gifts can be used in tangible ways to the teen girls I mentor and have over for fun or bible study, to the women I speak to each week on Tuesdays at church, to the Elementary Sunday School class I teach on Sundays, to the women, like you, who read my daily blog. No matter where I go, or what I do, I can shine my light for Christ. And I'm excited to do just that!
I challenge you to take the time to think and pray about your sphere of influence...who is watching you? who looks up to you? who do you minister to and encourage? What gifts has God given you to bless others with? What is your vision? your mission? your life verse?
I could not have gone on the retreat without my husband who graciously took the children and cared for them all day Saturday and part of Sunday. He did an awesome job and made my life so much easier! I am truly blessed!