On October 7, 2016, G.R.A.C.E (which stands for Girls Reaching After Character & Excellence) held their annual weekend retreat, hosted by Todd & Charlotte Thompson on their property in LaGrange, TN. The theme of the retreat was DARE TO BE DIFFERENT - "I Am What God Says I Am!!" (1 Peter 2:9)
Throughout the retreat, the girls heard from two speakers, attended Bible study/life skills classes, participated in many outdoor activities (i.e. sleeping in tents, paddle boats, GLOW Party), met new people, and had opportunities to share their heart and receive guidance from loving and God-fearing mentors.
The three classes were as follows:
THE GREATER ONE IS IN YOU
The purpose of this class was to teach the girls about the almighty, all-powerful God and having his presence dwelling on the inside of them; to remind them that all things are possible and nothing is impossible; to empower them to stand up and fight the good fight of faith, even at their young ages. They were motivated to Dare To Be Different because they are who God says they are.
The purpose of this class was to teach the girls that they were fearfully and wonderfully made by the Creator, the almighty God; to understand their uniqueness and that they need to love everything about themselves, even that part they may consider flawed or unattractive. They were motivated to Dare To Be Different because they are who God says they are.
IT'S MIND OVER MATTER
The purpose of this class was to teach the girls that they can do all things through Christ who gives them strength. They were encouraged to put on the mind of Christ; having a mind stayed on God, who can help them overcome peer pressure, ridicule and any other such things. They were motivated to Dare To Be Different because they are who God says they are.
Testimonials from parents and girls:
"GRACE camp changed my introverted granddaughter into a beautiful socially confident butterfly. Grace helped reinforce the skills of etiquette. GRACE is a wonderful training venue that exposes and prepares young girls for a rich, well rounded adult life. I will forever be indebted to leaders and sponsors of Grace for it truly does take a village to raise a child." – Ms. Robin
"For me I felt it was empowering to the young girls because many of us hide behind a mask. It gave the reassurance to know that we are all different, to love yourself, and to love God and know that He has a plan for your life. Even as an adult I have issues of insecurities that rise up. When I see the young girls, I see myself, my friends, my cousins, etc. as a child. I see kids who are maybe lost, but they are able to lean on GRACE girls for support and find a possible way out of something and a way to grow. The love for the girls is evident and I'm proud that my girls and I are a apart of this organization; a place where you can be you with the direction of having respect for yourself and others while learning God's word." – Ms. LaKira
"The weekend impacted me because when the speakers where talking, they all where saying how you should be yourself and be careful what route you take in life. I also learned the importance of teamwork while playing Amazing Race. It was difficult at first, but then you would have to actually work together to accomplish the goal and win. The weekend was more like a family reunion because when you made new friends, it was more connections that made us all feel like family. So basically I learned that you should be who God says you are. Be different from others. Always try and work as a team because while you can do a lot of stuff by yourself, certain things takes help." – Cierra
"JaNyia enjoyed the mini session where they discussed being different. JaNyia said the session helped her realize that she can just be herself. There was also a moment where she said table etiquette was taught. Although it's enforced at home, something about the way it was shown during her weekend with GRACE stuck out!! She's professing that she's unique and loves God." – JaNiya (via her mom Patrice)
On behalf of GRACE ministries, we would like to thank everyone for their prayers and support and everything else that was done to make this weekend a success.
For more information about GRACE, visit their website here