FOCUS on the GOD WHO SHOWS OFF
Peg speaking at one of the two retreats in Tanzania. 18 amazing volunteers served women representing 52 mission agencies, 14 African countries, with over 859 combined years of service.
With Peg in Tanzania
As we began preparing for the missionary women to arrive at our Tanzania retreats (2 back to back), we specifically prayed, “Lord, we want you to show off!” He did! In little ways, like sunsets through thorn trees, to the big, as women were transformed. Over the course of days God, Himself, refreshed, their intimacy with Him, renewed their identity in Him, and restored their invitation to join Him on mission!
Peg went to be the key note speaker, being out of country for just over two weeks, but found herself wearing different ministry “hats.” It was a blessed time for her, as once again, the Lord showed her what a need there is to serve the serving. Newest statistics show that one in fourteen missionaries are leaving the field every year, and 67% of those are for preventable reasons. As we walk alongside these gals for a few days, encouraging them, praying with them, sharing God’s truths (reminders that are simply difficult to remember when life is throwing hard things our way), laughing with them, and bringing them a taste of home, it is amazing the difference that is made. Rather than just tell you in my words, here are some of theirs.
A White-elephant-type-game where women fight over products from home they can’t find in Africa
Besides speaking, Peg often counsels, leads small groups, & gives pedicures (what a joy to wash & massage the feet of those who spread the Good-News of Jesus)
A highlight of every retreat are the refreshing times of solitude and prayer
Thank you for loving me so extravagantly. That is how our Father loves us, and I felt it through you at this retreat. -Vanessa
I didn’t know just how much I needed such a time of refreshing. God bless you for your part in encouraging me to keep fighting the good fight! An additional gift for me is that following a recent robbery I was able to sleep through the night after months of waking up with nightmares.
Wow! Wow! Wow! I feel so blessed to be prayed over, showered with gifts, Biblically encouraged through Peg’s messages, and so much more! You have made it possible for me to feel refreshed and joyful to serve. God bless!
I write this as I sit on my bed this morning in the hotel room, soon to depart for the airport and return to home in Kenya…..
Lord, these last few days here at the THRIVE retreat in Dar have truly been a GIFT!! I was worn out, weary, exhausted, and had “hit a wall”! I needed REST….Rest of all kinds—physical, mental, spiritual rest and relaxation. I have known I’ve needed this for awhile and the timing of coming has been just perfect. I have been hungry for YOU….hungry not to just believe YOUR presence is with me, but to feel YOUR presence…I’ve wanted to hear you speak to me, and I have searched for you…and did I hear from you?? Yes! And, I feel like I can breathe now!!! I feel like I can go home and be a better wife, a better mother, a better missionary, a better host, and most importantly a better lover of Jesus!!!
Michaela was my first connection @ the Thrive retreat. Come to find out, her mom and my oldest daughter, Stephanie, work on the same floor in the same hospital! Steph had given them both a copy of my book Please Don’t Send Me to Africa, which still sits on her shelf! Only God could orchestrate that! Here was her email:
I just wanted to write to you and say how thankful I am to you and the other volunteers for the Retreat. After arriving home I am still under the effects of the retreat. I feel that my mind is more stable and I see things differently. I am not as anxious about our ministry and I feel at peace. I know God worked in my heart, and it wasn’t just a spiritual high but He transformed my heart more and continues to do work in me, which will make me more effective for the Kingdom. I know the volunteers pay their own way and that is just amazing that they would do such a thing. I am so grateful, and so thankful that there are people out there advocating for us women abroad and who pray for us.
I knew I needed to meet Karen – she’s a good friend of a good friend, plus I had brought her stamps from the U.S. so she could mail her Christmas cards. So, God ordained that she’d be the first gal to sit in my pedicure chair. Another gift… This morning, I had the following note from her on my Facebook page:
Yesterday morning I was chopping vegetables in the kitchen. The door was open and my four year old neighbor boy was sitting on the stoop chatting with me. I could smell fire… like rubber and rubbish burning. I asked the boy where the smell was coming from. He said “Your sitting room.” I said “No way!” and he said, “Yes, I will show you the fire;” and so he ran inside the house and grabbed your book. I have been reading Meet Me at the Burning Bush with a friend, and he showed me the flames on the cover of your book. If only I could smell the presence of God like that!!
As I think of these women I met briefly, and grew to love so deeply, this thought resonates with me. I have prayed for them regularly that they each learn to bask in the presence of God regularly, leaning hard into Him, so that He will continue filling their cup, renewing their hope, and refueling their energy and re-focusing their vision for the sake of the Kingdom.
WITH BAY IN INDIANA
Twenty-nine hours after Peg returned from Dar es Salaam, she dropped me off at the airport in Durango for a ten-day trip to Indiana. The prayer, asking God to show off, just seemed a natural continuation of the prayers for the retreats in Tanzania. Again, we were humbled as I stepped back, did the very things God had called me there to do, and watched Him take over. While in Indiana, I was privileged to speak at two churches (one inner city church in Ft. Wayne, and one church in the heart of Amish/Mennonite country), at an event for athletes from Bethel College, a city-wide youth event, and a weekend men’s retreat. The venues varied greatly…but that is part of the joy I’ve found in my ministry calling: bridging the gap from eight to eighteen to eighty.
One of the highlights of the time away was the youth event scheduled on a Friday night in Shipshewana, IN. I used the time with the students who came to give a strong evangelistic message. These students seemed to come hungry and ready to hear the word; and, praise the Lord, my words found favor with them. It seemed that seed fell on good soil. Somewhere between 75-80 students came forward in pockets like the one you see above, all across the stage, saying, “Yes! I need Jesus’ saving grace. Yes! I want to stand for Him.” You know God has done something, when the next morning, a mom in the area, started forwarding Peg tweets from students (see pictures on previous page) who were lighting up their Twitter accounts, reaffirming that they were, now, not ashamed of the gospel. They are a little hard to read. One says, “Thanks to Bay Forrest, and a bunch of amazing friends, I can now say that I am saved!”
Another reads, “Tonight I surrendered my life to God and I am proud to say that I am unashamed…”
Another girl wrote, “I cannot even begin to put into words my experience tonight…”
God showed up; and God showed off.
I always love men’s events. Hearing men worship together simply does something to stir my heart for heaven! What a great time of retreat, challenging the men in the picture on the previous page, to leadership: at home, at church, and in their communities. We discussed shunning the temptations of the enemy, and staying pure in thoughts, words, and actions. Their responses were humbling and encouraging.
Since that weekend, these two recommendations and affirmations are simply, again, a reflection of God doing what He does best: showing off! I always say, “If anything is REALLY happening in hearts, God did it…certainly not me!!”
“I invited many athletes from Bethel College to my house to hear Bay speak. Many of my teammates were excited to hear from a former NBA player. Being at a Christian school, a lot of athletes get turned off about hearing another speaker on top of what they get at chapel. Bay was able to connect to these guys because of his experiences, and we saw ten people raise their hands to be saved!” – Luke
“God gave this man of God 6’ 10” for a reason, and New Life is so grateful that Bay continues to leverage all of himself for God’s glory. Whether it was our area wide youth event, or the men’s retreat, or Sunday service, God used Bay to call others out of darkness and into the light of Jesus Christ. We are praying that it was the spark that leads to lasting change for so many of us.” – Drew Ryall, Lead Pastor NLF
- Dec 13. Visiting Angels Retreat – Pagosa
- Jan 10 Head to Phoenix
- Jan 16-18 Board of Directors meetings
- Feb 6-8 staff wide FCA College event @ Indiana Wesleyan University (Bay)
- Feb 20-22 New Brunswick Bible institute, Canada (Bay)
- Mar 20-22 New Brunswick Bible institute, Canada (Bay)
- April 11 Women’s Event, Lovelland, TX (Peg)
- April 21-27 New Hampshire Prison Ministry (Bay)
Obviously, one of the greatest moments of God showing off came year’s ago, when He showed up in a manger wrapped in swaddling clothes. He came in humility, that the humble might know Him. He came meekly, to serve. He came silently, so that only those who were listening could hear. But, He came! That is simply unfathomable! Came to die that we might have life unending. As we move into this season of Advent, celebrating that coming of our Messiah, Christ, it is with awe that we get to behold His glory as He shows off time and time again in the simplest acts of ministry.
The REAL GOOD NEWS is that He’s not done showing off…and ONE DAY…He will come again. Of this, we are certain. Only one response will be necessary: every knee will bow and every tongue will proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord!
May you behold His glory as GOD SHOWS OFF this Christmas season. Have a blessed HOLY-DAY celebration!