Sunday, May 1, 2016

CRWM mini-spiritual retreat

For those of you who do not know, I am a partner missionary with the Christian Reformed World Missions (CRWM).  They help support the ministry I have here at Christian Academy in Japan.  Occasionally I attend social events the CRWM missionaries have here Tokyo.  At Christmas time, it was mentioned that I could attend a spiritual conference in Istanbul, Turkey.  I took a month or so to think about it and decided it would be a good opportunity for me to connect with missionaries that work in the Asia region, as well as spend some time focusing on spiritual growth.
About a two weeks before the conference was to happen, CRWM decided to cancel because of security concerns, however a number of us wanted to still get together and we were able to secure rooms at the resort CRWM would have used in Istanbul.  The Otel-Family Resort is located about an hour or so west of Istanbul on the Sea of Marmara, near Silivri, the Europe side of Turkey.
We came from Nepal, Cambodia and Japan.  It was a blessing to spend time there.  We had a mini- spiritual conference time, where we would have an extended devotional time, sharing about each of our ministries, praying for each other, focusing on God's word, seeking what God's will is for our ministry and/or life in the mornings.  We planned some outings nearby the resort in the afternoons and after dinner we would play games or watch movies.
View from the room I was staying in. 
Ginny Blair and my room 
The balcony (Laptop was out, but no internet)
Daytime view from the balcony
View from the balcony
View from the balcony
One of the boats that passed by regularly. 
Jelly Fishing
Our hotel 
Front of our hotel
Down by the water
Our view of the village nearby

One of our meals

Relaxing after a meal. 
 The first afternoon, Kathleen, Ginny and I walked over to the nearby village to check out the stores.

High School

Bazaar area that happens on Sundays

An interesting yard with ducks.
There were many sleeping dogs.
 The second day we traveled to Silivri.  We took a taxi to a mall.  After walking through the stores, we crossed the road and walked through the city of Silivri down to the waterfront.

Yoghurt shack 
Delicious banana-strawberry yoghurt
A man walking with a number of helium balloons
 The mornings were very precious times.  It had a good balance for singing, sharing, praying on your own, in small groups or as a large group, and meditating on God's word and will.

Most of us
Sunday was the day we checked out of our hotel and went to Istanbul for a tour.  We were able to visit the Sultan Ahmed (Blue) Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Underground Cistern, boat tour on the Bospheros and a quick visit to the Spice Market.
The bus that took us to Istanbul and eventually to the airport.

Obelisks in the Sultan Ahmed Hippodrome 

Notice the domes and half domes...

The women with the headscarves

Hagia Sophia

Underground cistern
Upside down Medusa

We were able to take a tour on the Bosphorus.  We saw some of the extravagant palaces, some converted into restaurants.  

That's where the Sultan Ahmed and Hagia Sophia 

 The last stop before heading to the airport was the Spice Market.  Our bags were checked when we went into the entrance.
Entrance to the Spice Market.

Here are some of the treasures I brought back with me.  

All packed and ready to fly out. 
Thank you to some of my CRWM friends, whose pictures I used.  It was a great five days of getting to know fellow missionaries with CRWM as well as a great time for reflecting on and being refreshed spiritually in a great setting.  I am blessed and thankful that I had this opportunity.


  1. Beautiful pictures Winnie! You had an amazing trip!

  2. Beautiful pictures Winnie! You had an amazing trip!

    1. Thanks, Annette! I had a great trip! Looking forward to seeing you in July/August

    2. Thanks, Annette! I had a great trip! Looking forward to seeing you in July/August