By Joel and Tiffne Whitley
Take a moment and look around, what you will probably see are people engaged on their phone or tablet. Tiffne on the other hand saw an opportunity to “unplug” and engaged women from around the world in another way. She saw the opportunity to use God’s word to touch the lives of women in a deep and meaningful way so that God could make a difference in their life and in turn make a difference in the lives of those around them.
The Difference Retreat, coordinated through Trinity International church of Strasbourg, took place in a countryside retreat center near Strasbourg, France where ladies from France, Spain, America, England, South America, China, Japan, Russia, Korea, Egypt, Central African Republic, Cameroon, Benin, Bulgaria, Albania, and Madagascar came together and plugged into God’s word and the lives of each other.
The fruits of this weekend manifested themselves in a number of ways. Initially, God used an unfortunate family situation during the retreat to bring the ladies together in prayer and expressions of support to make a difference in the life of a lady from Trinity. A few months after the retreat, Tiffne was encouraged to learn that two women who attended the Difference Retreat had decided to follow Christ in Baptism. The difference Jesus was making in their life was expressed in their personal testimony which they shared publicly in Chinese and Albanian before the church the day of their baptism.
However, the difference each lady experienced in their personal life was only part of the equation. The leadership and challenge Tiffne presented during the weekend retreat to make a difference to those around them was realized when the ladies from the church joined together in a ministry to the “ladies in waiting” who work the streets of Strasbourg.
Currently, several of the ladies from the retreat have become involved in this ministry
to prostitutes and have taken steps to develop small gift bags with candies and Biblical messages of freedom and forgiveness. More importantly than the gift bags themselves, were the expressions of compassion and friendship the ladies of the church offered the
“ladies in waiting.” On International Women’s day, March 8, the ladies of the church met their new friends and gave them a small emergency kit that they can carry with them in their purse.
Then, closer to Easter, the Difference ministry continued with Tiffne and the ladies giving small Easter chocolates and an MP3 player with the New Testament in the languages of the “ladies in waiting,” including French, German, Bulgarian and Turkish, so that God can speak to them directly and hopefully open their lives to the biggest difference-maker, Jesus.
Communities around the world are waiting for the Christian leadership that helps them “un-plug” from the everyday and reconnect with God. Gifts to CBF’s Offering for Global Missions make possible the ministries’ of CBF field personnel around the world as each aim to make a difference and create beloved community just as Tiffne has done through her Difference Ministry.
To learn more about how you and your congregation can partner with field personnel like Joel and Tiffne Whitley through participation in the CBF Offering for Global Missions, visit www.cbf.net/OGM.