A Day to Remember

India | SUD WM | October 31, 2022 | Pramila Masih

Women enjoy a retreat near the seashore in India's South Kerala Section

A group of women from Trivandrum, a city in the state of Kerala, enjoyed a memorable retreat day, packed with many activities. The one-day excursion began when women gathered to take a hired coach ride to Veli, a resort and retreat center, arriving at 9:30 a.m., October 9, 2022.

Following registration, the retreat’s agenda began with prayer and singing. The devotional message, presented by Pramila Masih, Women’s Ministries director for Southern Asia Division, was based on Matthew 8:14-15, the story of Jesus healing Peter’s mother-in-law in Capernaum. Pramila also shared her own heart-touching experience.

The women participated in a Bible quiz conducted by Kochuthresia Selvamony, and all winners received prizes. Selvamony is Women’s Ministries director for Southwest India Union Section, the parent organization of South Kerala Section where Trivandrum city is located.

Pramila Massih presented a seminar, “The Real Beauty of a Woman," which she describes:

  • I asked, “How many of you want to look ugly?” Nobody raised a hand. As soon as I asked, “How many of you want to look beautiful?” they all raised their hands. We had small bowls with facial mud masks ready when I announced that I had something to make them look beautiful. “How many of you want to try?” They all raised their hands again. We distributed the facial packs, asking them to apply on each other’s faces. Then I said, “Now relax and listen to what I have to say.”
  • I told them what the real beauty of a woman is. It’s not the outward beauty that makes them beautiful. I said, “You all wanted to look beautiful, so you came to my parlor today. This beauty will fade, it will expire, but your inner beauty has no expiry date. If you are a caring and hospitable woman, you will remain the same forever. Your outward beauty is a facade and artificial. We do facials, waxing, and hair straightening, and so forth, but does not affect the real beauty of a woman.” I advised them to be beautiful and virtuous, like the virtuous woman described in Proverbs 31:10-31.

A short break for snacks was followed by one more seminar, “Women of influence.”

Participants were asked to color simple outline drawings of women from the Bible, while Pramila again addressed the group. She told them coloring isn’t just for children. She described the benefits of slowing down to color, and how helpful it is for older people to use the other side of their brain while coloring. Everyone enjoyed the coloring activity.

A few games were played just before a delicious midday meal was served. Afterward the group engaged in light exercise by strolling around in the resort garden, and relaxed while chatting and posing for photos on the garden swing.

At 3:30 everyone boarded the toy train at the miniature train station for a train ride around the resort. “This was too exciting.” Pramila exclaims. “I was surprised to discover some of the women sat in a train [even though it wasn’t full-sized] for the first time. They had never traveled outside of Trivandrum city.”

A benediction was prayed before leaving the retreat center and heading towards the beach. The women were not allowed to swim, but they enjoyed the sea breeze and walking around on the sand. They also snacked on delicious edibles available for sale on the beach, including sweet corn and sweet potato which are some of Pramila’s favorite foods.

Now the sun was about to set, and the final prayer was offered before the ladies boarded the bus for home. They kept asking, “When is the next retreat?” This fun-filled retreat was truly blessed. Never to be forgotten.

Photo credit: SUD WM
Written by Pramila Masih, Women’s Ministries director for Southern Asia Division

Published on Mosaic newsletter, 2022 Q4