No matter who you are, what your occupation is, or where God has called you, the world is constantly pressing in on us with demands for our attention and time. Life is always coming at us, flashing by us, leaving little margin, leaving little room for spiritual disciplines—unless we take the time, make the effort, and block out the noise.
During Jesus’ teaching years, as the news of Him spread, multitudes clamored to hear His preaching, they yearned for His healing, they begged for the deliverance only He could bring. As the world pressed in more and more, He took time to pull away. He knew the value of separating, quieting Himself, and communing with His Father in private.
“Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.’ So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place.” — Mark 6:31-32 (NIV)
Spiritual Retreat for Persecuted Believers
Following Jesus’ example, the Help The Persecuted team is excited that, once again, we’re able to host Spiritual Retreats for persecuted Christians in the Middle East. Like Jesus, we too believe that pulling away and focusing our hearts and minds on biblical community and growth provides a special time of restoration and inner healing that only God can manifest.
Hosting a Spiritual Retreat allows us to invest in the lives of our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ in life-changing ways as we:
- Disciple new believers;
- Provide biblical counseling, as many believers who attend have deep wounds;
- Offer a safe place to pray, worship, and grow in faith and community.
Held in secure locations, away from harsh living conditions and the eyes of the secret police, attendees feel safe and cared for. They are nourished physically and spiritually. They participate in intense Bible study, refreshing worship, and they develop a deep focus on the love of Christ.
They come to us broken, weary, and fearful, mourning the suffering, trauma, and loss they’ve experienced. But through God’s grace and power, after just a few days of fellowship with converted believers and powerful worship sessions, a distinct, palpable transformation occurs. Hope-filled smiles and laughter begin to emerge. Past wounds begin to lose their power. Soul and spirit become rejuvenated. And a renewed, or new-found passion for life begins to spread through the group.
49 Muslim Converts Baptized at Spiritual Retreat
In July, we hosted 100+ Christian converts at our first Spiritual Retreat in more than a year. Most were new converts seeking refuge from war-torn Syria. Others were families we’ve helped since the explosion in Beirut. All face persecution for their faith.
Our brother, Seif, attended the retreat and had this to say: “I lost my brother two months ago. Today in Christ, I have more brothers than I can imagine. I feel like I am home among my family!”
Our team is praising God for bringing together a community of former Muslims who now live for Christ, and who have now experienced the community of the Body of Christ in person.
During this time together, our team focused on discipleship of these new believers, as they sought the Lord for healing and hope. Together, the group worshiped, prayed and praised God. And we were overjoyed when 49 Muslim converts stepped forward in faith and were baptized! Baptism of converts is illegal and must be cautiously done. But these Christians were ready to declare their faith “out loud,” and we made it happen. One family was so joyful, they danced in the baptismal pool!
More Spiritual Retreats Planned For This Fall
Each Spiritual Retreat is just one more way God has equipped Help The Persecuted to Rescue, Restore, and Rebuild the lives of our persecuted brothers and sisters.
The cost of each spiritual retreat varies, based on location and number of attendees, but your gifts help us to cover:
- Accommodations and meals
- Conference room space for meetings
- Discipleship materials
- A gift for those serving and leading
These events are designed to make our guests of honor—the families, youth, or individuals in attendance—feel enveloped in love and care.
Jordan — investing in teenagers from refugee families
Turkey — focused on Iranian refugee families
Iraq — a Spiritual Retreat for persecuted women