Amid the distractions of life, I knew that I needed to pull away to develop the training seminar I’ve been researching for months…well, perhaps the last 30 years. Topic? How to walk with those in grief. A retreat place in the middle of nowhere. Ahh, peace and quiet. However, a high-pitched whinny persisted the first night. Were there coyotes nearby? Bears? Horses rarely make such sounds except in distress.
The next morning I ventured down to the barn, carrots in hand. “Dakota might not come out of the barn,” said the owner. “Yesterday we had to put Smokey down. She was old and riddled with cancer.”
Dakota was mourning. Her loud and long lament continued for days echoing through the hills, each one piercing my heart. Dakota could not contain her aching soul. So throughout the day her owner would enter the barn and brush her down, take her for walks, comfort her with his presence (see pic). Oh if we could but learn to do the same for our grieving friends! That very week family members and other friends were also in grief. I visited Dakota daily, another constant reminder to me why this training is so important.
In our fear of not knowing what to say or do, too often we pull away from someone in grief leaving our friends feeling even more isolated and alone. Recently senior Cru staff that lead and care for teams in remote countries asked for advice how to help staff members who are in grief. One emailed me from overseas, “Thanks so much! You’ve given me some really valuable insight. And I have also realized how many times I have not cared well for others grieving, so it shines a mirror on some areas I want to grow in.”
~ Dec. 3rd pilot launch of my grief training seminar for Cru leaders
~ Dec 7-10 I will attend a 4-day course, Companioning the Bereaved with Dr. Alan Wolfelt
In addition to helping the Armenian Agape (Campus Crusade) staff members gain confidence in their communication skills and learn to develop stories of how God is at work in their lives, God used the time with our team to strengthen relationships. The host commented that throughout the week he began to see a change in his staff team. “Before, my team didn’t interact with each other much and now I see them laughing and talking together. It is like a spiritual healing happening with this team!”
Prior to their trip, I had the privilege of leading our U.S. team through the Comm Coach Training. It is a joy to realize that by training coaches I have a small part in impacting people around the world, now including Armenia, India, and the Macedonia team (leaving Nov. 29th.) Through your prayers and giving, you too are a part of this amazing legacy of equipping leaders to be more effective in sharing Christ in their own cultures around the globe to people you and I probably will never meet ~ this side of heaven.
“You made me know about the presence of God. I never believed in the existence of God, but now I do.”
Just one of many stories of lives forever changed as our band Stone toured throughout India last month. Stone played 18 times in 9 cities for over 10,000 people, proclaiming the gospel in grade schools, universities and church events. Their concert at Hindustan University drew over 300 in attendance (one of their smallest crowds.) Thirty-one students made decisions to accept Christ and 30 more wanted to meet with someone to learn more. God multiplied these results time and again.
Stone also held music, worship, and communication training seminars for 280 students in 4 cities. The Indian staff are recruiting young musicians to develop evangelistic bands to tour full-time in their own country and were grateful for such specialized training.
Pray for our local staff in India as they follow up with these hungry students and continue to expand God’s Kingdom throughout this vast country desperate for truth.
You are a rich blessing in my life and I thank God for you!!!