Broken Into Beautiful: A Glimpse into the 121Hope Rise Up Retreat

Broken Into Beautiful: A Glimpse into the 121Hope Rise Up Retreat

February 7, 2022

Five years ago, I journeyed to Costa Rica with the 121Hope ministry to love on vulnerable women trapped in human trafficking. During our goodbyes, one woman said to me, “Please don’t forget us. We are not a ghost of a population.” Those words have haunted me since that day and the 121Hope ministry has been built on that very sentiment: we recognize victims and survivors and not turn them away. Equally important was ensuring our ministry honored Northland’s vision of engaging others to be fully alive in Jesus. 

During the first week of November, the Rise Up Retreat took place at a beautiful 400-acre center, which we believed was the perfect location for survivors to unwind and refresh as they relaxed, played, and enjoyed the serenity of this property. 

Our purpose was to inspire these women to embrace God’s splendor through body, mind, and spirit. We promoted love, compassion, respect, and beauty in all things, particularly wellness. We honored all and served to enhance the fullness and meaning of life. The retreat offered a safe environment with Christ-led leaders and volunteers who ministered to women, encouraging them to open their hearts and allow the Holy Spirit to take residency in their lives. 

The women immediately bonded with the use of photographs they used as a visual to share their spiritual journey, keeping in mind that some women were angry with God and felt forgotten. But something remarkable happens when life stories are shared with one another. The women realized that while they each experienced trauma differently, there was a commonality amongst each other in the form of being broken and turning it into something beautiful. 

Scheduled activities included sunrise devotionals by the lake as the women leaned in to hear God whisper, “Good morning.” Yoga, canoeing, nature walks, and a team challenge took place as well as offering time and space for their own self-expression. The bonding that took place during the group challenge was quite noticeable and the retreat staff leader complimented our women and said she had never experienced such power of positivity from any group with whom she had worked. 

Our hope for each participant was to continue the healing journey from past traumas, reclaim their true nature, build confidence and selfworth, recharge their energy while reducing stress and anxiety, and help set them on a path of wellness long after they departed. Ultimately, our goal was to restore their faith in Jesus Christ. The 121Hope team witnessed an extraordinary moment when our guests asked to stay up late one evening to praise our Heavenly Father. At that moment, the participants started singing, “The Blessing,” 

“Amen, Amen, Amen. May His favor be upon you And a thousand generations And your family and your children And their children, and their children.” 

And the beautiful part was that they believed in what they were singing. In fact, five women made public declarations of faith during a baptism following Sunday’s worship service. 

One of the survivors shared about her retreat experience, “Attending Rise Up was a unique experience that I will always remember. It was a weekend that provided me with the love, support, and encouragement that I didn’t know I desperately needed, and it also helped me strengthen my relationship with the Lord. God used [one of our volunteers] to get through to me for the first time in a while with my verse Romans 12:2."

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