This is the typical time of year when one looks backward with hearts of gratitude, and then looks forward with hearts of waiting, anticipation, wonder at what the future holds.
For the ministry this marks the 11th Christmas season. It has been a full one with the Advent Walk through (about 50 people signed up) and then with some retreaters. And then we finished off the week before Christmas by giving me time to breathe!
Looking backwards, I see the changes that have happened since Covid. I see that many more are coming to retreat, and working through so much emotional/mental health things. I will admit, I have not been immune to the fall out emotionally and mentally. I have learned alot as I have sat with people, putting my Spiritual Direction training to "informal" use.
This was also the first year in 7 summers that we did NOT get a garden grant. We just said this morning how grateful we were that it was NOT as dry of a summer as we had last year when our garden nurturer spent min 2 hours watering the trees. However it also meant that there were more weeds than we would have liked there to have been. It showed us that the garden is way to big for just Alvin and I to keep on top of. Okay, at times I admit that I have to ask WHAT WERE WE THINKING!! I am thankful for the fact that our son can supply fresh mulch every year to replenish the areas. So if you pray for us - please pray we are able to secure a grant this year for garden caretakers.
Most of the year was slow. I also got some requests where I was thankful that during Covid, the LORD told me that we needed to go back to the basic of what it was HE called us to. That was good because it made it easy to say no to some requests that were not within our vision.
I think that the slowness of retreaters is also due to the fact that lets face it - financially, most of us are trying to make ends meet. (note: we are not self sufficient, even with our fundraiser and if you want to know more about what I mean, again, I invite you to meet me for coffee and a chat about ministry). But really - I think that people are needing to decide....