Samson VIII Extends Amazing Healing to a Full House
1.) We had our largest crowd ever at Samson. 27 men attended the retreat eclipsing our inaugural Samson total of 26 back in 2012. The Samson Retreat offering is truly growing and developing a solid reputation for healing in the lives of the men who attend.
2.) An amazing act of charity and unity of suffering. Prior to the retreat, I had ordered new Samson crosses for the men attending. I was a little behind in getting this order in, but we had planned for the shipment of these new crosses to the retreat house in plenty of time. Well, as God would have it, they never arrived and it set up the retreat for the most loving gift and example of a servant’s heart that any leader team has ever demonstrated at Samson. With 6 crosses short for the men attending Samson, I asked each of our leader team members to consider giving up their own Samson cross for the 6 men who would not be able to receive one. With some expected difficulty, all were able to detach from their own personal struggle in relinquishing their cross and literally united their first retreat weekend and their pain to that with these new men. What an amazing witness of love! What an amazing cross to receive! One leader even commented that further healing was received as a result of this gift. Thank you brothers for enabling these men to receive this wonderful gift. Your replacement crosses will be in the mail shortly.
3.) Blind Bartimaus (Mark 10:46-52) comes to life at Samson. During our Freedom and Forgiveness Prayer Experience, the men entered in the gospel of Mark in a new way. By proclaiming the words of Bartimaus, the blind man who declares to Jesus his desire to see, the men reached out to Jesus and told him what they needed. What an incredible way to petition the Lord! What an easy way to pray as we seek healing from our current pain, trials and struggles. Sacred Scripture is filled with stories that we can prayerfully enter into and with which we can unite our own stories. Keep doing that men!
4.) Samson invites first female witness. International chastity educator, pro-life pioneer, widow, mother and grandmother shared her amazing story of healing with the men. Suffering the loss of her husband due to a tragic sledding accident at age 35, Molly Kelly set out to mother 8 children (ages 13-13 months) and become the gift that God created her to be for the world. God transformed this woman’s pain and enabled over a million teenagers to be touched by her story and message of chastity. It is apparent that we as men need to listen to stories such as these from a female heart. The sage-like-wisdom was truly appreciated by the men and one which we will look to incorporate at future Samson retreats when possible.
5.) The Way of the Cross evolves in amazing ways too. Having established a new location at the Discovery House for the stations of the cross at Samson VII, the Samson VIII men set out to firmly establish the ground that was trail blazed back in March as a lasting Via Dolorosa. With new markers, some stone and unbelievably creative usage of the ground, the stations of the cross emerged in new ways and wonderfully offered the men a meditation worthy of a Cathedral in the woods.
God is continually revealing Himself to us and incredible ways at these healing retreats. As we say at these retreats, “healing comes through revelation.” I am grateful for the many stories that were shared and how the Spirit moved the men of Samson VIII to develop new ideas and experiences. God can use anything for His glory and us as well, including our traumatic and painful past.
I pray that you, the men of Samson VIII, will continue to seek the face of Christ in the midst of your healing journey the way you did at your retreat. I pray that those reading this are inspired to learn more about Samson and the future Judith Retreat coming to PA in October 2016.
In Christ’s healing love,
Mark J. Houck