Thunder clouds and rain greeted everyone Friday evening, May 19, for the ninth annual Ladies' Retreat on Deer Lake north of Spokane, Washington. The rain was welcome, however, as the moisture is always appreciated in this area.
The theme this year was "The Pearl of Great Price," representing the blessing of the knowledge of God's coming Kingdom. More than 60 ladies gathered May 19 to 21, many for the first time. Four ladies came down from Canada, some making the journey from Grand Prairie, Alberta, more than 800 miles away!
We were privileged to hear Victor Kubik speak to us on the Sabbath. He told the story of his mother from the Ukraine and her great struggle to get to a land of freedom from the oppression of Nazism and Communism. Freedom was an example of her pearl of great price, physically speaking. She went on to discover the true pearl of great price in God's truth, but then had to give up her Ukrainian community in her new home, the United States.
Her story vividly portrayed how much we should be willing to sacrifice and struggle to attain God's pearl for ourselves.
The speakers told many stories of how people came to learn the truth and illustrated the parable of the pearl of great price more fully. Beverly Kubik spoke the opening night, telling about participating in the LifeNets program acquiring wheelchairs for those who cannot afford them. She also spoke about her mother-in-law and her struggles to obey God.
LeeAnn Luker gave a very informative presentation about pearls, their many characteristics and the spiritual lessons of each. Patty Sexton told the ladies how to look for role models among the many we know in the Church who are an inspiration to us and from whom we can learn.
Michelle Mickelson gave a wonderful insight into the pearls of Nigeria: the ladies in the Church there and the struggles they deal with daily. They face struggles Americans can't even imagine, yet through it all they have a warm and happy attitude.
The last speaker, Sandy Cafourek, dressed as "Minnie Pearl" and gave a delightfully amusing presentation on how and when we were called and what some of the ladies had to sacrifice for that calling.
The highlight, as always, was the special dinner put together by a number of the ladies for the Saturday evening meal. As many as desired dressed up with their hats and pearls.
All too quickly the time passed, and attendees hugged and said good-bye. The ladies left looking forward to the next ladies' weekend, May 18 to 20, 2007.