This year will be our 18th anniversary of the Ladies Winter Retreat in Pigeon Forge, TN. It began in 2000 after I had battled depression for nearly a year after the death of my Dad. I realized when I began to tell my story of “life after depression” and that Jesus is the “life” after depression that I was speaking to women in every church that was dealing with overwhelming sadness and depression and was keeping it hidden. No one wanted to admit they were in love with Jesus but sad. There was such a stigma. I wanted to eliminate that stigma and give the women an opportunity to admit that I need prayer and I will get better!!!!
Our first Retreat was 193 ladies from many churches joining one another in the presence of the Lord! This year we had 725+ ladies join us for 4 services in the presence of the Lord. We are anticipating 900-1000 this year for our 18th year. Because of the size of the crowd, I have decided to change some of the things involved in this year’s Retreat.
We began with a meal after Friday morning service for many years. That ended 2 years ago when we could no longer fit in half the convention center. We now have the entire room and we break for the ladies to have lunch in one of the many popular restaurants in Pigeon Forge with their Sisters in Jesus Christ.
I began giving a gift to each woman attending until it too much to wrap and transport. The ladies asked to exchange gifts in our Bring a gift, Get a gift part of each service. This year we will no longer Bring a gift, Get a gift. The crowd has become large enough that it has become too time consuming and we will drop this part of the service.
I have also had several door prizes each year. Last year we had 100 door prizes and 100 Christmas wreaths to give away to the ladies. We had a drawing at the end of each service to give these away. This year we will also make a change. I will have a few door prizes (Thirty One bags, Longaberger and Vera Bradley) and a few wreaths but they will be kept to a minimum. We will not give gifts at the end of each service….perhaps two services. I have a very distinct reason for these changes.
In 2017 on our Friday morning service, a river of healing flowed through the service. The Lord spoke to my heart, I am going to heal the ladies today. By Friday night and Saturday morning we had 54 women testifying that they had been healed in that service. I believe we have His favor. I believe we are moving in a direction that pleases Him. I believe we are under His hand of blessing. Knowing all this, I do not want to allow anything to take our attention away from the most important part of the Retreat….a touch of God for our ladies! We also want to devote all our time to that touch and your healing and take the time we would have used to exchange gifts and receive the greatest gift…..FROM HIM!
I will be devoting more time to preaching and reaching for your miracle for this weekend! I encourage you to come with great expectation to receive your touch before this weekend comes to an end.
There will be several other changes as the time gets closer. I am seeking God to redeem our time to make sure your needs are met. We will have your totes ready for you to fill with a few things as you enter the room, you will make your own name badge as you did last year and I will be on site to greet you as you arrive. I am looking forward to seeing our old friends and meeting so many new friends that are already registering for this year’s Retreat.
I am still praying about a time I may be able to meet with our pastor’s for a few minutes during the weekend. Last year our meeting was between 8-9am on Friday morning. This year we will try to set a time that will be more suited for you….perhaps Friday afternoon. I will be announcing that at a later time. We have many new churches join us each year and I am anxious to meet and thank each pastor/pastor’s wife/ladies ministry leader that has brought her women to join us!
I just spent a few days in revival with our photographer, Tammy Sharrett and we have discussed your photos for this year. They were such a hit that we are coming up with some new ideas for this year. We will once again have Tammy and Sandy on site ready to take your photos for an hour or hour and a half before each service. We will furnish everything for your photos….no cost to you. This is our gift to you as a memory of your time in His presence with your Sisters in the Lord. Each lady can have 2 pictures made….one with your church group and perhaps one with family or your bff. Last year the church groups planned their day to have their photo made and dressed accordingly to make this a special group photo. As we finalize all the details, we will be notifying you as the time gets closer.
The Ramada had all but 3 rooms booked a few days ago. The entire Ramada is filled with our ladies! We are moving all reservations to the Creekstone Inn and River’s Landing which is one block from the Convention Center. Both motels are on the Little Pigeon River with balconies overlooking the river. The same group rate will apply to both these motels. We have blocked the entire Creekstone Inn for you. We are hoping the Creekstone will be totally filled with ladies coming to the Retreat as the Ramada Inn is! There are several rooms blocked for River’s Landing also. To get the special $68 rate, call 1-800-523-3919 and ask for the He Died for Me Ladies Retreat November 8-10. Several ladies are arriving on Tuesday and Wednesday to enjoy Pigeon Forge before the Retreat begins. Your group rate will be available for that also. If you have any difficulty with your reservation or they tell you rooms are no longer available, please feel free to contact me by fb or email. Make your reservations early to assure your space. Your room rate will be refunded up to one day prior to the Retreat if something would prevent you from being able to come.
I will be updating you as we get closer to time with new details and our theme for this year. If your church is not receiving a packet for the Retreat you can email me at moc.l1529341813oa@yr1529341813tsini1529341813mllem1529341813mart1529341813 with your church name and address. I will be mailing your packets out beginning the week of April 15th.
See you November 8-10….come expecting to receive your miracle in the presence of the Lord!