We left Tulsa and began our way to Rogers, Arkansas. We stopped at Siloam Springs along the way and saw this beautiful spot.
I hadn't paid much attention as we traveled through the small Arkansas towns until I looked up and saw this sign: Tontitown Fire Department! TONTITOWN? The Duggars live here!! (19 Kids & Counting, for those who don't know.) I got a little too excited, according to Andy!
Our GPS took us directly to this "cabin." An amazing cabin with 6 bedrooms and 6 baths. We would be here for a week with Paul & Mary Burleson leading a Pastor's & Wives Retreat for us and three other couples. It was a pilot retreat and the brainchild of some very dear people, the Campbells, who own this cabin and founded a ministry for pastors and their wives. That part probably meant as much as anything--knowing someone has noticed many pastors and wives are hurting and need a place to come for refreshment, encouragement, and healing.
Our amazing hosts, Tom & Jan Stockdale, greeted us at the door and gave us a tour through our home for the coming week. (They didn't have a dish in hand at the time.) They couldn't have been more gracious hosts. They cooked three meals a day for us...amazing meals!
And our place settings were so beautiful.
This is the great room.
The kitchen with snacks, drinks, coffee for us.
The fireplace in the great room and the loft above.
The dining room looking out to the back deck and Beaver Lake.
Beaver Lake looked different at different times of the day. This was my favorite. It was cloudy and misting. We found out after we got to Rogers, AR that our kids, David & Lindsey, had been offered the job in Minnesota and had accepted the offer.
We met twice a day--for a couple of hours in the morning and a couple of hours in the evening. Our times were rich.
We made some incredible new friends.
We've already set up a way to stay in touch.
The fire pit in the back yard overlooking Beaver Lake.
We served on staff with Paul & Mary Burleson at FBC Broken Arrow, OK. We knew coming to this retreat that we were in for something special. We felt privileged to be included. We had no expectations, but we did believe God had some divine connections for us. And He did.
Ryan & Lauryn Gilbert--the young couple among us!
Mike & Freddi Booth
Andy & Bro. Paul singing, "I Don't Know Why" which is their all-time favorite song to sing together.
We had deep discussions.
We sang and laughed hysterically. I mean...hysterically!
Judy Robinson sang...
...with her husband, James Robinson. (All of my photos of them together were blurry!)
The Gilberts had never heard most of our songs. (Before their time!)
Tom & Jan ministering to the rest of us.
Jan & Judy
Meal time became our favorite time. Wild, funny stories were told that literally had us crying because we were laughing so hard! It was healing.
Our last night, we met at the fire pit to sing and talk.
Looking down from the deck.
I caught Tom & Jan listening to the singing from the deck.
The sunrise on the last morning of the retreat. What a rich, rich week. It was full of ministry, teaching, old & new friendships, and healing. God was there. The name of the ministry is "Double Honor." We were certainly shown double honor by the founders of this ministry and our hosts. We were blessed.