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               MLC Ladies Spring Retreat 
                                              by Mary Lynn Crider                       

 The  2005  Spring  MLC Retreat was a wonderful success.  I thoroughly enjoyed the meeting  and I sincerely  believe that  the ladies had  a great time as well.   The event opened up on  Friday morning with  Sandy Payton,  Missy Waldroup,  and Jane Keel blessing our hearts with  their beautiful voices.  The ladies  were  invited to sing along with Sandy as she played  the piano and led the congregation in worship songs.  After I  said my opening remarks,  I  introduced  Dorie Van Stone  to the many  ladies  that were  there.  Dorie,  who wrote the books  Dorie:  The Girl Nobody Loved  and  No Place To Cry,  touched  everyone's heart with  her awesome life story.   Perhaps few women have gone  through so much and  endured so many years of  mistreatment as did Dorie.  However,  I have never met anyone  with a  more beautiful  testimony  to the goodness  of God than she.  Dorie did  not look at  her life's  experiences  and be-come bitter,  but she looked at God's love and became blessed.   Following Dorie, the trio lifted the hearts  of everyone with their  gospel singing.   Barbara Hanberry spoke next and  she used a  question and answer  format to address  the topic of  "Why Bad Things Happen To Good People".  Barbara,  and her husband Jack, have endured so many difficult and trying circumstances in their lives.  Barbara, not only knew deeply her subject, she also knew greatly the Lord who enabled her to triumph in the face of life's adversity.  After a brief intermission,  the services started  with more singing and then I introduced Lisa Harper to the women.  Lisa's kind attitude,  gentle humor,  and great  communication  skills  combined to  perpetrate the  heart  of everyone  present. She spoke on "A Girl Named Gomer" from the book of Hosea.  As she told the story of Gomer,  she  made  many applications to the  lives of  many  people  living  today. What a  blessing Lisa was to the Retreat.
 
The morning  session was over  to quickly and the  ladies were  off shopping,  eating, sight  seeing,  and resting. Well,  perhaps a few of them rested,  but most of them did loads  of shopping and  consuming loads  of that great  Smokey Mountain  fudge.  By the time the  Friday night service  began  they were  hyped up  from all  the chocolate they enjoyed.
 
Friday night is always a special time  for the Retreat and this one certainly  lived up to my expectations.  The singing  was  just  awesome.    Jane,  Sandy,  and Missy  have never  sounded  so good.  I thank God  for the musical talent  of  these three fantastic Christian  ladies.  Not only did their trio bless each one, but Jane's solos spoke deeply to the heart of each lady that was present.   What a wonderful time everyone had just listening  to the music and enjoyed the goodness and  greatness of God.  The speaker for Friday night was  June  Scobee  Rodgers.  Mrs. Rodgers was  formally married to Dick Scobee who was the commander of the Challenger space shuttle that blew up in 1986.   She held  everyone's  attention as she  recalled the  tragic events  of  that day. "Spiritual Courage"  was the topic she  choose to speak  on during the  Friday  night session.  What an awesome blessing she was to everyone.   She stated that no matter what comes ones way in life, it can be met with spiritual courage.
 
I awakened  Saturday morning with the realization  that I only had few short hours to accomplish  all that  God  wanted me  to  do  for  the  Spring Retreat.  I had so many things  I wanted  to say and do, but the restraints of  time  weighed  heavily upon  my shoulders.  There were so many  people I needed  to attend too  and so many  details that  screamed  for my attention,  that  I  feared  I could  not  possible  get it all done. Just  like the day before,  the session began with  the wonderful  singing of the trio.  I then  introduced Lisa Harper once more to the ladies.  Lisa spoke on "Grace Givers" and once  again she moved  the hearts of  those  present.  My  Mother  gave  a  brief testimony  as did  Missouri  Sorrough.   Again, Dorie captured  the  attention  and the heart  of each lady with the many  true stores  of her life.  She is  such a joy  and en- couragement  to be around.   It was  a great  privilege to  have Dorie,  Lisa,  Barbara, and June  speak to the ladies.
 
The 2005 Spring  MLC  Retreat  ended  all  to quickly.  As always,  I  had  far  more planned  than  I could  accomplish.   However,  I thank God for  the  many  blessings He  bestowed,  not only upon my heart,  but also  upon  the ladies  who  attended.   I sincerely  appreciate everyone who came and  I can only wish I had had more time to spend  with  you.   May God  richly  bless  you  as you  continue  to do  His  will  for your  life.

 

With much love,
Mary Lynn Crider