March 31st-April 2nd has been marked on our calendars for literally over a year now. On those dates is our largest event of the year in terms of numbers and likely logistical effort. It was born at a cafe (arguably, all good ideas start with a cup of coffee). A group of women gathered there to talk about how we could better serve the needs of adoptive moms, how we could support women locally, how we could come together in unity to encourage and bless each other. We sipped our lattes and shared challenges and ideas in this faithful brain trust and landed on something big that kind of took all of our breath away. We needed something for couples, not women alone, not for simply a community of mamas; we needed something to build us up together, to build our marriages.
I think Mark may have gasped a little that evening when I came home and told him that The Sparrow Fund may or may not have just added a marriage retreat to our program repertoire. But, it didn’t take him long to catch the vision for it. It just made sense. The best way to serve families is to build up the partnership between a husband and a wife.
We started with 60 couples in 2013. In 2014, we added a few more couples, forcing us to have overflow housing at another hotel. In 2015, we moved to a larger place to open it up to a few more people while still keeping a small retreat feel. In 2016, we had about 100 couples from 12 different states around the country. We somehow arrived to 2017 and to our 5th Together Called happening in only a few days now with about 110 couples coming, filling the entire resort. The magnitude of the impact of pouring into these 220 parents who are in turn pouring themselves out is incredible.
As this weekend has gotten closer and closer, the magnitude has become more and more apparent but also has the mess that often comes with that. Where there is a place for transformation, life change, and healing as these marriages are and can be, there is also opportunity for weariness and a sense of never, impossible, and stuck to creep in. We need prayer in a significant way as Mark and I lead the charge for a team of us–all of whom come with our own stories–to serve each one of these men and women and enter into their stories. We could ask you to simply pray; we know many of you would do that. But, we want to be intentional to have consistent prayer coverage over the course of the whole weekend. The needs of the couples coming are that great—our needs as a couple seeking to be an effective conduit of His mercy and hope are that great.
If you want to pray at any time however you are led, please do and let us know that you did because it will build us up and encourage us as we press on. If you want to pray over a specific time frame to be a part of consistent prayer coverage for specific needs that we’ll provide to you, then let us know by signing up on the Google form HERE.