This past week, I was able to attend a three-day IJM staff retreat. We traveled south of Manila to a province called Batangas. Even though I have only been in Manila for a few weeks, I gladly welcomed the opportunity to leave the city and enjoy the beauty of creation.
While we were there, we had several staff devotions where we could spend time studying the Word. The theme for our retreat was The Joy of the Lord is Our Strength. Our focus verse was Nehemiah 8:10
“Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!”
As a staff, we were challenged to find joy in all things, good and bad. Personally, I was challenged to set aside time to celebrate the good things God has placed in my life, and to always share those good things with others, especially those who “have nothing prepared.” Also, the more I get to know my Filipino brothers and sisters, the more I am impressed and challenged by their joyful hearts.