A lot has been going on with "While We're Waiting" over the last few weeks, and I'm so excited to be able to tell you about it!
Just in case you're new to the blog, let me fill you in on what "While We're Waiting" is all about. It's a ministry to bereaved parents that we, along with another couple, started several months ago. The name comes from the dilemma that every parent who has lost a child must face ... How am I going to live while I'm waiting to be reunited with my child in Heaven someday? Am I going to abandon my faith or apply my faith? Am I going to become bitter or better? How can I live so that my child and my Lord are honored by my life? The "While We're Waiting" ministry seeks to bring together bereaved, but believing, parents to offer support to each other as we grapple with these questions.
The main vehicle we've used to bring parents together is a series of retreats. Since April of 2011, we've hosted two weekend retreats for couples, one weekend retreat just for Dads, and two one-day mini-retreats just for Moms. Every one of these events has been an incredible blessing, not only for the attendees, but also for us as the hosts. God has showed up in a powerful and unmistakable way each time, and we have been humbled by what He has done.
So, now that you know what "While We're Waiting" is all about, let me share some news with you!
1. "While We're Waiting" now has a Facebook group. I formed this group a couple of months ago as a way of keeping bereaved parents connected, and to be a source of encouragement through the holidays. We are now up to 39 members, and it's been a great way to keep in touch with other parents who have experienced the loss of a child. If you are a bereaved parent and would like to join, simply type "While We're Waiting" into the Facebook search bar and request to join. We'd love to have you!
2. "While We're Waiting" is now a corporation. We are in the process of seeking public charity 501(c)(3) status, and that is the first step. We were actually officially incorporated as of August, but have just now started the 501(c)(3) process. In hopes of saving attorney's fees, we are attempting to complete the process ourselves, and that was one of my major projects over the Christmas break. Our board of directors will be meeting tomorrow evening to review it all before we send it in to the IRS. Please join us in praying that we receive approval as we take this big step.
3. One reason we are seeking 501(c)(3) status is because our board has decided to do away with all registration fees for our retreats. We feel that God is leading us to provide all of our events at no cost to our participants, because we don't want anyone to be unable to attend due to financial issues. We will take a love offering at each of our events, and we'd like for people's donations to be tax-deductible. I've spent the day today updating our website to reflect these changes.
4. We also have had new brochures printed, reflecting the fact that there is no cost for our retreats. If you have a friend or family member that you'd like to give a brochure to, please click here to email me and request one. I'll be happy to send you one or twenty ... however many you'd like.
5. We have decided to open up our couples' retreat to singles as well. We had two single moms attend our last couples' retreat in November, and it was a real blessing to have them there. So I've also been updating all of our information to reflect this change.
6. Our next "While We're Waiting" Mini-Retreat for Moms is right around the corner. It is scheduled for Saturday, January 28th, and will be held at my friend Janice's home overlooking beautiful Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs, Arkansas. It will run from approximately 9:30 a.m. until 6:30 p.m., and each Mom who attends will receive a massage, and enjoy a five-course gourmet meal prepared and served by our own private chef. We'll spend the day sharing our kids' stories as well as discussing issues that we all face as grieving Moms. There is room for a total of six Moms to attend, and two of the spots are already taken, so we are looking for four more Moms who would like to come make some new friends.
7. And just a reminder...our next couples'/singles' retreat will be April 20-22; and our next Dad's retreat will be May 4-6. It's never too early to sign up and reserve your spot!
8. Check out the "While We're Waiting" website for more information or to register for any of these events. I spent quite a bit of time this morning getting it all updated and a little better organized, and I'm pretty pleased with the results.
9. Finally, please join us in praying for wisdom as we seek God's leadership for "While We're Waiting." We'd really like to host an event for bereaved siblings at some point in the future, because all of us bereaved parents seem to have concerns about our surviving children. We've even discussed hosting an event for grandparents who have lost grandchildren. And we'd even like to expand "While We're Waiting" further someday ... "While We're Waiting" doesn't just apply to parents who have lost children. Maybe someday we could host an event for those who are waiting to be reunited with a beloved spouse. We are seeking to be obedient to God's leadership in all of these areas.
10. What else can you do besides pray? Help us spread the word! Tell people about "While We're Waiting" ... give them a brochure, send them to the "While We're Waiting" Facebook page, direct them to our website. If you'd like for us to come share about "While We're Waiting" in your Sunday School class, church, civic group ... we'd be glad to! Just let us know when and where and we will be there. Distance is really not an issue for us. We appreciate your help in this area!
Maybe you can tell that we are ridiculously excited about what God is doing in and through this ministry, and we are humbly grateful that He is using us in this way. Thank you for partnering with us in prayer and in spreading the word. May He continue to use "While We're Waiting" as an instrument of healing and encouragement to many.