2009 Fruitbearer Women's Retreat
Dear Sisters in Christ,
Quite a few of you have been eagerly anticipating our follow-up newsletter and asking how the Fruitbearer Women's Retreat went. In a word, WOW! What an Overwhelming Witness of God's love and grace.
Karen Gritton (the event planner) and I arrived around 10 AM at the Inn at Canal Square on March 13 to set up, and the presence of the Lord began washing over us from the moment we set foot in the conference room.
What I hear most often from those who attended is that the "Covenant of Silence" was one of the highlights. During this time of individual prayer, we gave the ladies two questions and asked them to listen for the Lord's response: "Lord, what do You call me?" and "What lies am I believing, and what is the truth?"
The time of sharing that came out of this was profound. Because of this exercise, I find that I am much more discerning about what I embrace as "truth." Often, others will make casual, negative suggestions (or I will have unhealthy thoughts of my own), and I am more aware of the freedom I have to ignore rather than to embrace them.
It seems that the weekend created or intensified our hunger and thirst for uninterrupted time with our Lord. The Scriptures have come alive to a number of us since the retreat. We are the sheep of His pasture, and although we hear His voice in the midst of our busyness, we hear Him best in the quiet place where we can sense His heartbeat. Gloria's messages were right on target, her sister Jacquie's anointed dance brought the worship of heaven straight into our hearts, and Sue's music ministry enhanced our Christian unity. Anita's huge sword cut through spiritual strongholds as we prayed for one another and for our loved ones. God moved--gently, powerfully.
Several of the main revelations for me were that we need to stay in the Word, that we need solitude to listen to God, that whatever we're facing, the battle belongs to the Lord, and that we need to be mindful of the truth and careful of what we tell ourselves. The "prompt" we received for the Covenant of Silence, What lies am I believing, and what is the truth?, enlightened me in surprising ways:
The Fruitbearer Women's Retreat was a gift. I so enjoyed the women with whom I had the opportunity to meet and share conversation. Friday night dinner with Barbara and Sue was very special to me. Other highlights included the messages from Gloria Adams (what a fabulous sharer of God's word), the inspirational dance (I was so moved by Jacquie's performances), and the quiet time that Anita introduced has actually helped make my personal prayer time far more rewarding. Candy and Karen are to be commended on the wonderful job that they did to pull this all together. Thanks to everyone!
The retreat was right on time for me. I have been saved since 1992 and felt it was a renewal time for me and my relationship with the Lord. It was also a time to fellowship with my good friend, Denise, and the other ladies. The quiet time with the Lord enlightened me in a way that has not happened before. I am now taking quiet time with the Lord as part of my personal devotions. Along with digging into the Scriptures, I have been using Candy's 30-day Prayer Diary to help me as I spend time asking and receiving from the Lord. To Anita, the warrior princess, I am so blessed to have been able to raise that sword and lift up my prayer concerns to God and feel the Holy Spirit working in me. I am so truly grateful to have spent this precious time with the ladies and our Lord. God Bless you all.
At the 2009 Fruitbearer Retreat, "Rivers of Living Water" flowed freely. Gloria's teachings on rest, hearing from God and spiritual warfare brought refreshment to my battered soul. The uplift from the weekend didn't fade like so many "mountain top" experiences because the Scriptures that were taught, the worship, and the personal ministry have taken hold in my spirit. And, even though it's a battle, I'm growing stronger and going higher in my relationship with the Lord. I'm grateful to retreat director Candy Abbott for providing a worthwhile growth opportunity and hope she continues to make this an annual event.
The 2009 Fruitbearer Women's Retreat delivered much more than I ever imagined! As a Fruitbearer team member I was prepared to
serve the women who attended and other team members - a Martha experience. Instead, my Lord used my sisters in Christ to minister to me. It was at this event that I met my friend, my Comforter, my
Holy Spirit for the second time! He introduced Himself to me in 1977 upon my salvation through the manifestation of speaking in tongues and a new sense of love for the unloveable. It
wasn't until March 14th at approximately 2 AM that I experienced Him as my Friend, and Teacher and mostly my Comforter. I had always glossed over references to the Holy Spirit and considered the
infilling as God's way to equip me to serve the body of Christ and also non-believers. I now realize that the Holy Spirit is my personal connection to the will of God, He is Jesus just
for me, the way I need Him, to heal me, to give me worth, to see myself as Jesus sees me, my constant companion. It was through the loving hands and hearts of my sisters in Christ that this
connection became real to me at the 2009 Fruitbearer Women's Retreat.
Holding that sword high in the air and taking a stand against the enemy has given me the strength and courage to face tomorrow with excitement and anticipation. It has strengthened my marriage and serves as a reminder that each of us must stand with God against the enemy. We cannot just solicit prayer from our Christian family; we must take a stand in the name of Jesus for ourselves and our families, our country and our world.
I thoroughly enjoyed the fellowship with the women but the first impressions started with the rooms and how nicely and lovingly the packets were set up for us to receive. The warm treatment I got when I registered late was continued into our first evening--the presentation and lighting created a warm environment and was quite peaceful.
I did not know the Fruitbearer staff but felt welcomed by each one of you.
I am open to receiving the gift of speaking in tongues, and I thank you all for creating that hunger to study and gain an understanding that it is okay to desire speaking in tongues. I now understand better that I am already filled with the Holy Spirit to the extent that I obey and am open to His direction with or without the manifestation of speaking in tongues. My filling is evident in my level of obedience (abiding), manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit in my life, and if I live as a witness (John 8:32, Acts 1:8, Eph 5:18-21).
It was an amazing privilege to minister to and with my sisters in Christ. Gathering with other women to be "refreshed" in our relationships and experience intimacy with our Abba Father is critical. That is why the Fruitbearer retreat was such a welcomed oasis in our lives that are filled with so much "stuff." We laughed, we cried, we prayed, we ate (very well, I might add), we were silent and, most important, we listened to the beautiful voice of our Lord. For those who were there, I look forward to seeing you again next year. For those who couldn't make it, I encourage you to mark the date on your calendar now. Make it happen. You will not regret it! In the meantime, go to the Father, pose your questions, and then wait. He is always faithful to answer.
Our 1st Fruitbearer Women's Conference (2007)
"Nurturing Growth and Discernment in These Last Days"
Apostle Catherine A. Camper, Founder
United Deliverance Bible Center
Chris Ann Waters
Author and Speaker
Finding Intimacy in a Love-Starved World
National & International Speaker/Teacher
Author of Touched by His Staff
Founder of Iron Sharpens Iron Ministries