A Long Awaited Dream Has Come to Life

Two visions came together as I stared at the business card in my hand. One was for a blog with the main purpose to encourage people going through trials of faith, infertility, post-concussion syndrome/chronic illness, finances, and life in general. It was a personally experienced guided journey to help point those suffering with similar trials to sustaining hope in Christ. Never would I have imagined the ability to write so much or so often as I have. It has purely been a gift from God and a love for you as you’ve shared your hardships and journeys with me. It is a joy to serve you in this ministry. The other vision was “planted” long beforehand.

It was July, 2008 in the northwest plateau of Haiti. Another girl from my team and I were tasked with picking the weeds growing outside the ministry leader’s home. His wife, who wasn’t much older than me, was bedridden for a few days with an unknown illness. This had happened a number of times before and was greatly discouraging for them. While plucking the weeds, I was burdened to pray for her healing. After attending a couple mission trips, I noticed there was at least one missionary on each trip who was burdened with illnesses that limited their abilities to serve as they desired. Having dealt with chronic illnesses my entire life, I empathized with them. And it was in that sweet moment of prayer that God lit a flame in my heart. Maybe I should liken it to more of a blazing fire! I pictured a ministry where I could travel to various missionaries and assist them with practical needs that were unmet due to illness, hard times, or busy ministry seasons. Then, I would have a home/retreat centre they could come to in between furloughs/home ministry assignments to rest and renew with Jesus. This idea became my driving force into the mission world.

Though I tried many times to start it, the Lord never fully opened the door. He blessed me with an opportunity to serve on a mission committee at church, giving me the perspective from the other side of mission life. I attended a few more short-term trips and joyfully served a couple missionary friends in Ireland for five weeks cooking meals, cleaning, organizing rooms in the house, helping with the children, taking the ladies out for a fun day, and babysitting in order for the parents to go on a date. The amazing thing was I had only met these people once before, for a few days. Suddenly, I was deeply invested in their lives for weeks, and it didn’t feel weird to me. In fact, it felt like I was serving family. That’s the beauty of the body of Christ when we’re living in unity with the Spirit through the bond of His peace (Ephesians 4:4).

Throughout the years as I have prayed for this vision, people also asked me to consider adding pastors to the list of those needing this kind of service, and as I observed many pastors I knew, God confirmed this need and I decided to expand the boundaries of who I could assist.

In May of 2013, I met with the leader of the mission organization I had worked with previously and shared my vision with him. I said I was thinking of starting it either in Mississauga or Windsor, Ontario, Canada as both cities were near large international airports. He suggested I consider London, Ontario instead. “London… why London?” I thought, not realizing it was halfway between the other two. Almost a year later, I had met and married Michael, and moved just outside of London, Ontario, and the connection didn’t sink in until I was sitting at our honeymoon resort in Mexico. “I live near London!” I exclaimed to God and laughed!

Again, years passed and I had surrendered the dream back to the Lord after nothing seemed to come of it, until I received the business card for Hope Through Hard Times. As I stared at the leaves sprouting from the letter “e” in Hope, God instantly flashed the memory of me picking weeds outside the ministry leader’s gravel pathway in Haiti. From that moment on, I knew God was going to somehow connect this blog to the retreat centre, and the vision was renewed.

It’s been a whirlwind four-and-a-half years of personal and professional development to get us to today. The Lord was extremely gracious to ease me into this ministry as I recovered spiritually and physically from Post-Concussion Syndrome. As I continued healing, He expanded my capacity to offer more resources to you than just the blog. Well, it is my excited privilege to say that the retreat centre, now called Curtha Village has begun!

“Ta me curtha” in Irish means “I am planted” in a missional/Christian sense; it means to be spiritually planted. It was inspired by my time in Ireland, along with the plant theme in our various branches of this ministry. It is my prayer that those who connect with this side of the ministry will be restored and strengthened in their faith to grow into deeper intimacy with Jesus. Though we don’t have a physical place for ministry leaders to attend… yet, we have do our first piece of this service open. It is a virtual prayer centre for ministry leaders (missionaries, pastors, and those leading other vocational Christian ministries) to send any personal and/or ministry related prayer requests to our team of volunteers who will bring your requests to our Father on your behalf. Our retreat development team is also in our second stage of planning the practical service side of the ministry to bring our services to these in need. It is such an amazing joy to see the Lord bring to life something He started sixteen years ago, and the beautiful brothers and sisters He’s provided to serve alongside and make this a reality. Will you rejoice with me for the Lord’s great work, and pray that He’ll continue to guide us wisely into the next steps for this ministry, please?

If you are a ministry leader, please send your prayer requests to [email protected]. If you’d like your name to remain anonymous to our volunteers, please put “Anonymous” in the subject line. We look forward to partnering with you in prayer!

Lord willing, in years to come, we will see the full fruition of the retreat centre dream come to reality when when we prayerfully and worshipfully step into the building He has planned. Until then, we continue to pray and take action as doors open. (Did you know 20% of the profits of this ministry goes towards the development of this retreat centre and practical service to ministry leaders? Spread the word!)

Next week, I’ll explain the structure of Hope Through Hard Times and show you a clearer picture of the four elements of what makes the full ministry we offer you.

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