The Single Moms Retreat is one of the highlights of the year at Bridging the Gap. Single moms from all over Minnesota gather to be nourished spiritually and physically. From amazing worship and speakers to the Diva Boutique and the Spa, these hard-working mommas leave refilled and able to serve their children refreshed. We love this time of loving on our single mommas, but we can’t do it without a host of volunteers. These ladies serve our moms, but also leave feeling refreshed themselves. Recently, I sat down with Christi Johnson to chat about her experience volunteering at the BTG Single Moms Retreat.
Christi, an ultra-marathon runner and candy maker extraordinaire, is a homeschooling mom of nine children who recently transplanted from Cambridge to Willmar, Minn. With a heart of gold and a passion for Jesus that shines, she’s always enthusiastic about the opportunity to serve!
Christi, how did you decide to volunteer?
I heard an announcement at church and it sounded like fun.
Where did you serve?
I volunteered in the spa that our church was hosting. We did paraffin wax on hands, manicures, foot soaks, and pedicures. While giving pedicures, I got to hang out with moms one-on-one for about 20 minutes. It was awesome to hear their stories. They all said how wonderful it was to sit down and relax.
What were your overall impressions of the retreat?
I loved all the things they were able to do for these moms. In addition to getting spiritually recharged, they met physical, emotional, and practical needs. For example, while they were getting pampered in the spa, they had mechanics looking at and fixing their cars. I loved that!
What surprised you about your experience?
I didn’t expect to have so much fun as a volunteer. The worship was amazing and the speaker was so inspiring. I felt encouraged and ready for the next Monday.
What were some of the most impactful moments you experienced?
It was so cool to see these women loving on Jesus and worshipping God because they rely on him so much. It was sweet hearing them talk about their love for God and how he sustains them.
What was the most rewarding thing about volunteering?
It was incredibly rewarding to do something for someone who wouldn’t be able to do it for themselves. These ladies were hugging us after their 20-minute pedicure, saying things like their soul was recharged. How can you not want to be a part of that?
You are such a busy momma yourself, how do you make volunteering a priority?
Serving others is a priority to me because so many have helped me along the way. It seems like the only thing to do is pay it forward.
Finally, why would you encourage someone to volunteer at the Single Moms Retreat?
Single moms give everything they have daily and don’t get days off very often. I can’t count how many times in the day I look at the clock waiting for my husband to come home, so I can get a bit of a break. They don’t get to do that because no reinforcements are coming. If we can help these mommas recharge, it’s an honor to be a part of that.
A huge thanks to Christi for sharing her experience with me (the week of moving into a new home, no less)! I hope her experience will inspire you to consider volunteering at the BTG Single Moms Retreat in the future. Christi said she felt refreshed through the services, relationships with old friends and new, and getting away for the weekend. What a prime perfect example of Proverbs 11:25 which says, “…He who refreshes others, will himself be refreshed.” That is certainly true for Christi and the other Single Moms Retreat volunteers. You can find out more about next year’s retreat here.
A recovering perfectionist, Erica Horyza is learning to embrace God’s grace in the chaos of raising and homeschooling her four children. She loves sharing her journey with other women in the hope they will find grace, peace, and freedom in Jesus. She holds a B.A. in Church Music from North Central University, teaches piano lessons, and is a fitness instructor. Her heart is happiest around a table full of food with a house full of guests.