In a world full of noise and busyness, how can we discern the voice of God? How can we unclutter our souls enough to hear the still small voice? This is exactly what a group of twenty women recently explored from across the Albanian Mission, during a very special spiritual retreat. On the 25th and 26th of March, women gathered at Tirana Te Stela Resort hotel, to take part in a weekend of reflection, fun and closeness to God – and to explore the theme “Loud and Clear: Discerning the Voice of God.”
Vanesa Pizzuto preaching at Albanian Mission’s Women’s Retreat with translator Sanda Thomollari.
Journalist and writer, Vanesa Pizzuto was the guest speaker, who serves as the Communication and Media Associate director for the Trans-European Division (TED). Her presentations focused on the link between spiritual and emotional intelligence. Sharing from her personal experience, Pizzuto explained how there have been times when she was unable to hear God’s voice “Not because I wasn’t reading my Bible or praying, but because I wasn’t adequately addressing other issues. “It was when”, Pizzuto continued, “I started to pay attention, for example, to the tone of my inner voice – which was often critical – and to my general tendency to avoid risks, when suddenly God’s voice became a lot clearer!” Pizzuto now believes that spiritual and emotional maturity are inseparable. “While I am still growing in this area, it has been such a liberating discovery that I keep talking about it with all my friends, and I am starting to write a book about it.”
Natiéli Schäffer, Albanian Mission Women’s Ministries coordinator and event organiser.
Natiéli Schäffer, Women’s Ministry director for the Albanian Mission and event organiser, commented on the importance of exploring this topic to help Albanian women realise that “though they live in the context of a patriarchal society, the Bible, the Word of God is also for them, because the voice of God is for everyone. Women can hear God’s voice, and God can also be manifested to and through them too.”
“I grateful for each woman who came to this event, who participated, opened up, shared, and made this meeting truly special.”
The two-day retreat included not only presentations, but also a time for prayer, playing games, crafting, and even enjoying the spa. Schäffer believes that making time for building community is essential, “to strengthen relationships between women in our community, and to deepen and strengthen their relationship with God, without the interference of everyday life at home, at work, and even at church”. The women who attended the event felt energised and closer to one another. Anxhela Rakollari, shared how participating in the retreat reminded her of God’s unconditional love, and her personal value – at just the right time. “I’ve been going through difficult days lately, and I needed to hear God’s voice. And really, in that meeting, God spoke to me very loud and clear!” Sanda Thomollari, another participant, who also served as the translator for the event, highlighted the importance of taking time to pray and learn with other women. “This women’s retreat was very important to me because it’s not easy, as a wife and mother, to take time for yourself to get away from all the daily tasks and just be with God. Also, the warm atmosphere among the sisters in faith was wonderfully uplifting. I believe we all had a little foretaste of Heaven there.”
“I grateful for each woman who came to this event, who participated, opened up, shared, and made this meeting truly special,” Schäffer concluded.