8th June 2017

Have you ever wanted to just get away from it all to a scenic location where you could be rejuvenated in body, mind and spirit? Well this became a reality for a group of enthusiastic women who signed up to attend the BUC's first Women's Ministries Health Retreat.

This residential Well-being Week for women was run over 6 days from Sunday 21 - Friday 26 May and held at the scenic Aberdaron campsite in Wales.

Designed as a health enhancing, stress relieving, pamper and recharge retreat, the diverse programme was a rich tapestry of training, experiences and activities which included the following:

The event run by retreat organiser ‒ Sharon Platt-McDonald BUC Director for Health, Women's Ministries and Adventist Community Service was a collaborative effort with Aberdaron Site Manager – Malcolm Hayles who helped to spearhead the initiative. 

He states: "The recent Women's Ministries Health Retreat was a tonic, not only for the attendees, but for the staff at Aberdaron who had the privilege of providing the backup services and meals for this the first of what we hope will become a regular feature on the calendar. 

"Our aim was to provide the location, the accommodation and segments of the programme which we hope would have a beneficial effect on those taking part.

"With Sharon sharing the vision, and leading the programme, I believe everyone involved felt blessed, revived and left knowing they had been a part of something quite special." 

And this was certainly reflected in the evaluation forms of the attendees as they reviewed the scope of the retreat and its impact. So what made the difference? 

A key contributor IMG_2005to the retreat was Eugénie Burton, a Fitness and Lifestyle Coach who has been in the fitness industry for over 30 years. Each morning she took attendees through 30 minutes of varied exercises targeted at fat burning, muscle strengthening and toning, body reshaping and fitness maintenance. Her engaging health presentations challenged everyone to rethink their health habits to embrace wholesome principles for optimum health. 

12 days later (following the retreat event) attendee Pilira Zapita reported that she is keeping up with the exercise regime and feeling better for it. 

Sharon presented the Forgiveness as Healing course that she created and delivered interactive workshops on Emotional Resilience. These sessions equipped those attending with tools to re-evaluate relationships, resolve conflicts, develop wholesome thinking and build emotional strength to face life's challenges. In other presentations outlining issues that impact female health, Sharon IMG_1247presented solutions to address health threats and promote healthy aging. Her Ministry Box workshop provided an introduction to a new resource designed to address the brokenness people encounter in life, provide solutions for recovery and disciple those seeking to enrich their spiritual life. It was presented as both a ministry and evangelism tool dealing with nurture, outreach and empowerment of individuals giving them 'glimpses of God' which speaks to their everyday situation. 

Maxine Dennis embraced the idea of the Ministry Boxes as "relevant…to meet the needs of people we are trying to reach out to in the community." 

Other aspects of the Health Retreat provided opportunities to relax and recharge with the wonderfully therapeutic hour-long Thai massages set amidst the breathtaking landscape of the hills overlooking Aberdaron. 

Another enjoyable segment were the craft classes led by Carolyn Schulz where new skills were acquired in card and gift making. Several members of the group overcame their fears as they tentatively navigated the steep steps down to the beach to choose their creative piece. 

On the Thursday evening, there was additional scope to explore the beauty of the outdoors. Worship IMG_2022against a sunset backdrop was awe-inspiring as the group ended the day in thanksgiving to God and sharing testimonies of His goodness. 

Coupled with the daily workout sessions and after lunch walk, deliciously healthy meals, enriching presentations and engaging activities, each day provided a rich collage of learning and enjoyment which paid off by the end of the week. In fact, everyone reported that they felt lighter in body, mind and spirit ‒ evidenced by looser fitting clothing, brighter smiles and spontaneous thanksgiving to God for the new lease of life afforded them.

[Sharon Platt-McDonald BUC Women's Ministries and Adventist Community Services]

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8th June 2018 Messenger vol 123 Issue 11

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