"Arise and Shine" retreat brings joy to women in Norway

Trans-European Division (TED)

[Norway] The Friday night meeting was a lovely beginning of the Sabbath for the 64 women who attended the Seventh-day Adventist Women's Forum at Halvorsbøle the first weekend of September 2015. Liljan welcomed us in her lovely way, and the song team put us all in the right mood—singing is good and healthy!

Raquel Arrais, GC WM associate director, was the main speaker. She met our hearts and brains from moment one! With warmth, wisdom and humor she had observed us Norwegian women, and told us many positive things about us! She couldn't remember being met by so many smiles or receiving so many hugs. She enjoyed us, and told us, ”So does God”! The translators were incredibly clever, and fortunately rapid, because Raquel had so much to tell us.

In her main theme, "Arise and shine," Raquel told us to let God's love and care slip deep into our hearts. When He starts using us, with the special abilities He has given each one of us, then He may shine through us wherever we are serving Him. When we search in prayer and by His help, He will show us how He loves us, which is as parents love their children, only with enormously greater love, wisdom and strength! Then He may work greater things in us than we can ever imagine! I believe a lot of new thoughts were born during this first meeting!

The splendid meals with “chef Eirik” and his (male!) assistants were enjoyed by all, and Raquel was especially pleased with all the Norwegian types of bread and the brown cheese!

The “get-to-know-you” night was filled with competitions, and we all learned a lot of funny things about each other, as well as ourselves. Some stayed up into the "wee hours" of the morning after others went to bed.

Both Saturday and Sunday mornings we had meetings for good prayers, warm companionship, and reflections.

Conversation starters in Sabbath school encouraged groups to open up and share their blessings.

Second meeting with Raquel was called "Arise and shine, you BELOVED." She told us her own fantastic story about the direct impact in her life by the Holy Spirit, which led to her calling: To prepare women for the second coming of Christ!  By a journey through the Bible, she showed how we are already chosen by God, to be His specially chosen co-workers. Like the bread He took, blessed, broke, and gave to others. He will use us in the same way. Step by step she took us through the Scripture and showed us how God equips us with His love and care, and how He uses us in special ways where He places us in our lives.

After a lovely lunch some went for a walk in the beautiful sunny day, while some needed a good talk, or a good rest.

Third meeting with Raquel was called "Arise and shine, in the POWER of the Holy Spirit!" Again Raquel took us into her compelling experiences with the direct work in her life by the Holy Spirit. She made the Spirit alive to our minds, as a power that can really dig into our lives, as a friend, helper, comforter, teacher and caring person! Through the Bible she showed how the Holy Spirit has been active throughout tall history: as worker, companion, challenger, activator and caretaker—all the time with God's fantastic wisdom and love as solid ground. With power He can fill us up with His fruit: love, joy, peace. . . .Through the closeness of Jesus, Likeness of Jesus and the Power of Jesus, He will fill us up, if only we open our inner empty boxes and let Him IN! With fantastic pictures from the Atacama Desert she showed how God sees the full potential in each one of us, if we just let Him rain on us! We can just ask to be filled!

The grand dinner that night was like an adventure with Liljan's leading: beautiful flowers and lots of candles, delicious dishes of tasty food, singing and making songs, creative poems and speeches, good stories and a lot of laughter.

Workshops Sunday included pleasant and useful activities. We really enjoyed this and the nice things we created.

Then the last meeting with Raquel; “Arise and shine, be used!” Now she told us how the Holy Spirit will:

  1. Lead you to the truth about yourself and about God.
  2. Help you to see yourself as a sinner.
  3. Reveal to you what is coming.
  4. Lead you as you walk in the Holy Spirit.

The Spirit gives, heals, equips, fills, and walks with you towards a real life! Raquel then compared each of us with a God's, and as a token, gave each one of us a beautiful rose!

Thank you, Raquel! You are truly God's rose!

Thank you Liljan, Solveig, Chef and the boys, singers, translator's, and all the clever “fixers” for a lovely, blessed weekend at Halvorsbøle!

Reported by Kari Helene Holm