On the Sabbath, we left the city and went down along the river where we had heard there was to be a prayer meeting. We took our place with the women who had gathered there and talked with them. One woman, Lydia, was from Thyatira and a dealer in expensive textiles, known to be a God-fearing woman. As she listened with intensity to what was being said, the Master gave her a trusting heart—and she believed!
After she was baptized, along with everyone in her household, she said in a surge of hospitality, “If you’re confident that I’m in this with you and believe in the Master truly, come home with me and be my guests.” We hesitated, but she wouldn’t take no for an answer.
—Acts 16:13–15 (The Message)
Equipping Lydia helps Christians, especially leaders, experience the deep well of God’s love through spiritual direction and retreats. Laura Baber, founder and spiritual director, says this ministry focuses on social workers, pastors and advocates, who often become overwhelmed by the losses and cruelty seen daily.
“Hunger in the Wesleyan community has grown exponentially, especially among leaders looking for a safe place to deepen their relationship with God and those wanting to live in the means of grace,” Laura said.
Almost ten years later, Equipping Lydia has expanded from two guests to an international ministry that welcomes a steady stream of guests seeking renewal. As Laura meets with people in a quiet, gentle space, she helps them explore their journey with God. Oftentimes, people experience hurt or injustice, but don’t have the space to process their suffering. Laura’s ministry encourages leaders to intentionally release the grief seen and experienced on the front lines of ministry.
“We don’t give advice and we don’t fix,” she said. “We ask soul questions and let the Holy Spirit guide. We just encourage people to enter the Shepherd’s pen and be restored. Our time together helps them over the threshold to a place of quiet and rest.”