We just sent our May newsletter out on Monday. If you received that, then you pretty much have the general news from the trip so far. But, there's so much more going on. Here in the Travel Blog is where you'll get the rest of the story.
I am writing to you from the ferry making the crossing back to mainland Scotland from the Isle of Lewis. We were invited to Lewis about 18 months ago by Norma Maclean whom we met at CLAN Women in October 2014 and who also attended one of the Dash Away's last year. We weren't able to get here last year, but this year, it was a priority.
We arrived here in Scotland 11 days ago. Because of the travel and jet lag, we always try to get here a week ahead of ministering so our bodies can synchronize with the land. We are again staying with Heather and Billy Bradford, our home away from home in Peterhead, and Heather is once again driving us all about the land. She is an angel!
It took several hours to make our way to Ullapool, to catch the ferry, and then a few more hours making the crossing to Lewis. Our travel day to Lewis was delayed one day due to cancelled ferries because of strong winds. After a day of sightseeing, we collected Juliette Alston, our prayer minister for the first 3 retreats, at the airport. With our team assembled, we were ready for Dash Away 24.
Our venue was a fishing lodge located on a loch (lake) on the west side of the island. The venue is owned by trustees and is in essence a nonprofit. One of employees at the lodge is a friend of Norma's. Through that connection, we were offered the lodge, and a proper Scottish breakfast both days, free of charge. Since we were just ahead of the opening of their season, the trustees were very generous. They have been looking for way to give back to the community, and because of God's favor, we fit the bill.
We had 12 ladies plus a team of 3 volunteers (2 of which have already attended a Dash Away) who served us all weekend by handling all the meals -- which is a HUGE blessing to us! Twelve of these ladies received personal prayer ministry, 8 with Juliette, 4 with Melinda and myself.
I'm not sure how if I'll ever figure out how to properly and effectively convey what God does during these weekends. This one was even further beyond words. We saw breakthrough after breakthrough. We saw life and destiny find their way into these ladies who come from a culture there on the island that has kept women "less than." We watched God uniquely and profoundly touch each of them. Lives were profoundly changed.
On the Monday following the retreat, we held a one day Taste of DA event with 25 ladies attending. One thing that is very difficult about these one day events is that we miss out on the relational aspect of a full Dash Away. We don't really get to hear any feedback or get to know the ladies. We just trust that God is moving even if we don't hear about it.
We were blessed to quickly see profound fruit from this Taste of DA. There has been so much overwhelmingly positive feedback. The stories are many, they are amazing. They all want us to come back... And stay awhile!
This morning, I received an email from one of the ladies who attended the Taste of Dash Away, which they call a "Taster" here. We are so humbled by what this woman shared. We get to be part of this? Really? God is so good.
"Hi Melinda and Cathy,
As much as I wanted to I couldn't think to write clearly yesterday evening when I got back here to Ness after yesterday's experience. I kept asking myself "how did that happen?" How did that time in Martins, through a short time of worship, bring the most intimate encounter with Jesus I've ever experienced? And a level of intimacy I'd never even imagined. I was apprehensive about the day, anxious we might be 'therapied' (?!), but at no time did I feel anything other than perfectly safe and on a journey of joy. I came to the conclusion quite quickly that you must be a conduit for the Holy Spirit!
Thank you. Thank you for leading us in worship Cathy and Melinda - beautiful music, singing and drumming, taking us to places where Jesus is waiting for us, in fact coming to meet us. I will never forget yesterday and really hope to see you again, praying God will keep you safe, that you will remain spiritually and physically heathy to enable more and more women to experience this intimacy with our Lord, and that He will bring you back here to Lewis despite your busy schedules."
The favor we walk in in this land is enormous. We can't explain it. God is using these simple little weekends in profound ways. As we've reconnected here with some of the ladies who have attended previous weekends, we are hearing testimonies of lasting impact. It was not just a weekend event for them. It literally changed their lives. We are so humbled and honored.
As far as Lewis goes, we love this little island. It has become part of us. We have fallen in love with its people and they have received us as their own. Lifelong friendships have been born here, and as the ferry leaves Lewis in its wake, our hearts are full of joy, but we are also sad. We already miss this land and our friends. What we've seen God do here is beyond words. It's hard to imagine how He can top what we've experienced here but we know He can and we expect that He will.
We've only just begun....