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Updated: Nov 15, 2023

Whoosh! What a full past couple of months it has been! I think back to early January when we were on the BFR Local Overnight Retreat and we got the news that our offer on the property for The Retreat House (TRH) was accepted. That seems like a lifetime ago. It is amazing all that can happen in a few short months. There have been so many movements of God and moments of asking “Is this even going to happen?” and moments of realizing “THIS IS REALLY HAPPENING!”

As the closing date drew near, I reflected on the process, and I felt the Lord impressing upon me the image of a triathlon. For those of you that aren’t familiar with or don’t have a 26.2 sticker on the back of your car, a triathlon is a strenuous race consisting of 3 important parts: a 1.5km swim, 40km bike, and 10km run orrrr a traditional Italian triathlon- biking, swimming and eating pasta. A nod to all my Luca fans, if you know, you know. :)

In these types of races, you have to be all in. We have some friends whose entire lives are based around races like triathlons. Their leisure, exercise, and even occupations are centered around helping men and women prepare and train. They are meticulous about the science behind it and the details of body weight, sweat output, hydration levels, environment, and food intake. It is fascinating, mind-blowing really. As I think about that, in light of this triathlon that God has called The Retreat House team to run, it feels similar in that God has prepared us for this. He has been raising us each up, uniquely in our stories to have a piece of this puzzle, to run alongside one another. I think about the elements that have had to be in place these past couple of months, from business plans and pro formas, to architectural designs and ADA compliances, to ministry vision and fundraising, to social media engagement and brand standards, to donor care and grant preparations-many unique, important components to this first leg of the race.

Along the way, there have been mile markers to celebrate and savor the goodness of the Lord. The first one that comes to mind is the openness and excitement from those that have attended our in-home presentations. Next, is the overwhelming generosity from a village of people excited to see this beacon for Memphis unfold. God has shown us that this is a “one foot in front of the other” journey. A journey that requires manna from Him and Him alone. Manna in the form of financial provision, unity, and prayer as a team, individuals already reaching out to book time at TRH, and Scripture and words of encouragement coming across our path at just the right moments. He has provided just what we need- no more, no less, keeping us tethered to Him. As I’ve been reading through the Old Testament it has been such a great reminder to be cautious of the traps that the Israelites so often fell into forgetting what God had done, who He was, and how He was leading. Even on the days that seem slow, monotonous, or tiring- He is present, He is at work, He is leading the way, and He deeply cares for His people.

So as the closing papers have officially been signed, I want to reflect on the stones of remembrance and not forget this first leg of the journey. I want to cherish the moments of wonder and celebrate the tenacity and the village it took to progress like we have. I want to bask in the glory of God and the laughter around the closing table. I want to remember Anna Hopkins giggling and making eyes at the attorney, how he was so kind to us, and how we bonded over a shared connection of dear friends that have impacted BFR Global in incredible ways. I want to forever remember what it felt like to turn the key to the side door of the main house with a slew of kiddos eagerly waiting behind me. I want to remember the wonder that filled their hearts and eyes as they ran through the grass and brought me wild flowers. I want to remember the excitement and hope that filled our hearts as we looked upon a 100 year old house anticipating its walls beaming with love, care, and healing.

As we gathered together with our families yesterday to mark this moment with a toast and treats, we remember and celebrate what God has done and how he has strategically used so many to get us to this point. We look forward together with anticipation for what is to come.

A HUGE thank you to our families that have been alongside us praying for and encouraging us; Tara Airhart, Jeanne Childress and Mrs. Virginia Cade for believing in this dream and passing the torch to us; to you-all of you that have prayed, given, supported and championed us along the way. IT IS HAPPENING Y’ALL!

So what is next? Well….. Kenya…. as in, we are leaving tomorrow to see our kids, high-five our rockstar Kenyan Staff and soak in the glory of God with our family in Africa. It feels like between closing on The Retreat House and traveling back to Kenya for the first time since Covid things are, yet again, coming full circle. While Lacey and I travel, Allison, Lauren, and Adam will hold down The Retreat House fort and keep the ball rolling. Once we are all back on U.S. soil, I anticipate more celebration, prayer, planning, and continuing to walk in a way that brings honor to the calling that God has set before us- each moment and each step.

The second leg of this triathlon looks like continuing to raise money to fully fund the property and renovate the cabin and the main house for daytime events like counseling and spiritual direction sessions, half-day retreats, workshops, and open hours. We can’t wait to have you all out to see the space and continue to catch a vision for what it could become.

Then our third leg will be moving toward completing the rest quarters to enable overnight retreats. As plans unfold we will keep you updated as we know you are just as eager to sit together with the Lord in this beautiful space!

Follow me to The Retreat House.

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Romona Jackson
Romona Jackson

I am just delighted at what God has done. You have crossed over. You are on the other side. What good and faithful servants you have been. I believe the Lord is saying ”well done”. I celebrate this milestone with you and rejoice!

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