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Sue Hodnett - Baptist State Convention of Michigan

ROSCOMMON, MI – More than 145 women and a few men literally slid into the Bambi Lake Baptist Retreat and Conference Center for the 2016 Women's Missions Retreat, setting the stage for a fantastic weekend together despite the icy conditions. The retreat would stress the importance of making sure the group’s next steps with God would be with "Both Feet In" and hopefully not up in the air!


The mission studies were led by Sharon Hessling, a retired IMB Missionary. Hessling shared personal accounts from her mission field experiences. Hearts were captivated by her stories and photos as she challenged the ladies to "walk in all His ways". Using the acronym, GOIN, G- grip the gift of grace, O- own the order, I- inch toward intimacy, and N- next step, never alone, women were encouraged to take next steps in commitment to God.


Legacy and Friends led the women in the worship, directed by Cindy Parker.  The theme song for the weekend was, ‘Here Am I Lord’.  


Saturday morning the women were offered a variety of breakout sessions to attend, each designed to challenge them to take their relationship with God to the next level. Most of the breakout sessions provided interaction and engagement in group activities. From the sounds emanating throughout the camp, it was obvious those in attendance were having a good time.


Saturday evening featured virtual mission trips to the countries of Niger, Yemen, and France, complete with Passport screening and security customs officers. The experience felt as if it was an international trip. Women had the opportunity to interact with missionaries from each of the locations: Sharon Hessling, Niger, Marge Lewis, Yemen and Dr. Tony Lynn and Jamie Lynn, Paris, France. Participants experienced the culture, tasted the cuisine, and learned ways to engage with the people groups from each of these areas. Many of the women shared that this was the highlight of the retreat for them. They valued the knowledge how to witness to these people groups because these people are their neighbors here in Michigan.


Dr. Tony Lynn, BSCM State Director of Missions, shared personal accounts of being on mission for God. His passion for the lost and sharing Christ was extremely evident as he taught the Bible studies.  Lynn explained how in our lives the 4 "A's"(Action, Attitude, Affections, and Ambitions) needed to be in alignment with God before taking the invitation to go "Both Feet In".  He concluded the Sunday morning worship with a passionate call, challenging women to live everyday walking more deeply with Christ. Many women made a public commitment to ministry and missions, surrendering to the Father's purpose, as they put "Both Feet In."

2016 Women's Winter Missions Retreat (Photos Courtesy Sue Hodnett)

“What touched me the most from this weekend was to let go of the fear, safety, and comfort of this world and to jump in with both feet to share the gospel with whatever, however, and to whomever God chooses.”

Lisa Jones

“I would have to say that...The Both Feet In conference showed me that while I may be too chicken to become a missionary in some foreign country, there is plenty that I can do in my local community and that I can still be bold at home for Christ.”

Sharon Paratchek

“In order to be fully in God’s will with your whole heart, with your whole life, and with your whole soul, I’ve learned I have to have both feet in God’s will. I have never walked away from one weekend learning so much about the lost people of the world and having such a renewed spirit. The Women’s Winter Retreat was amazing not only did I bond with my God, I got to bond with my mother, mother-in- law and many more inspirational women. I am totally blessed and hope to carry His love with me every day.”

Megan Line

“The retreat was very moving spiritually to me, I came home with a new attitude prayers are being answered and I can see it happening. Thank you so much.”

Angelia Jenkins King

“The whole weekend was awesome. The break out sessions were awesome, Sharon and Tony were spectacular. Something that really touched me was the pictures Sharon shared of her years in Niger. I sat behind Tony and Jamie and they were very emotional watching the slideshow.  This really touched my heart.  Sharon became emotional a few times, too. I was touched by how much they truly loved their work as missionaries.  It was very evident. I loved their teaching and their stories.”

Sandy Heppner Blankenship

“I look forward every year to coming to the ladies retreat. To meeting up with old friends and making new ones. One weekend we all become family and feel like we have always known each other. I really enjoyed this year’s breakout sessions. Thank you for your time and all the energy you invest in the WMU.”

Karen Peckham

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Sue Hodnett is the Women’s Ministry & WMU Consultant for the BSCM as well as the Executive Director for WMU of Michigan. She attends Lakepointe Church in Macomb, MI.

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