Velvet Ashes: In Your Own Words {The Grove: Velvet Ashing}

We’ve got a special announcement about something happening here at Velvet Ashes NEXT WEEK. So be sure to not miss it at the end of this post!

This week we have talked about why Velvet Ashes is a special place for you, a place like no other. You have also gotten your decoder ring, so you are familiar with the terms we use. We want to end this week with you hearing not from the leadership of Velvet Ashes, but from your Velvet Ashes sisters. Just like you, they love Jesus, need community, and understand that this life on the field comes with unique challenges.

If you love reading, hear from your people:

Book Club encourages me to read books I might not have picked up on my own. It is fun to hear others’ insights, especially when we bring insights from our own countries and contexts. Even when I can’t read the books, the blog posts are interesting.”

“I read books I wouldn’t otherwise read, so it really broadens my horizons, and I love the discussions, seeing the similarities in the way women serving cross-culturally pick up on things that others might not, as well as the different perspectives I might not gain at all without book club discussions.”

“The books are chosen by women just like me and so appeal to women just like me.”

 In Connection Groups you might find:

“During our Connection Group one member, who lived in a high rise in a huge Asian city, shared that when she is near a balcony in a high rise her thoughts turn toward jumping off, baby in hand. I had no idea how to respond. I’m not sure what I said or if I even said anything, but I do remember hearing another member of our group, who lives on a remote island in Central America, saying something about understanding what she was going through and postpartum hormone changes and how she had experienced a very similar, yet quite different thing at a similar life stage. It was then that I took my shoes off. Connection Groups are a chance for us as women to come alongside each other, to help each other find the rock to sit on—the true foundation for the work that is happening around us—and to hold up each other’s arms or have others hold up our arms for us.”

“I live in a place where there is little fellowship with others. So, when I joined the Connection Group it was an amazing refreshment to my soul. I forgot what it felt like to be in a group of women with similar hearts for the unreached, similar frustrations, difficulties and joys….until the first time my group met! It quickly became the highlight of my week. My heart was lightened and filled with some added joy.”

“My Connection Group was for singles. I was the oldest in this group (even though I am not THAT old!) and was so blessed to finally have the opportunity to share the experience of singleness with women who could understand me. (I shared things with this group of women that I had never shared with anyone. We talked about what it is like to be in communities that focus on marriage and family—what that feels like, and how to manage feelings, thoughts, words, and actions. We also talked about the issues of childlessness. All in all, we didn’t ‘fix’ each other, but we shared the hard stuff and had the opportunity to pray together.”

When you Retreat, this might be you:

“The retreat came at the right time for me – at the end of a stressful and emotionally-draining week, but as I entered into the retreat, I realized those were surface problems for deeper issues and struggles. The focus on Psalm 23 really spoke to me – one of my favorite names for Jesus is that He is my Shepherd. My word for 2016 is “focus” but I’ve realized how easy it is to take my focus off my Good Shepherd and the good pasture He has led me into, and focus on expectations and fears, etc. My focus has again been sharpened and my desire is to more fully embrace my Shepherd and the good pasture He has me in for this season.”

“I have been doing a lot of questioning about my calling, my ministry, my feelings of inadequacy, feelings of isolation even in being with people since the beginning of this year. But within the last month questioning and doubting even more. Did I really hear God’s voice or was it just something I wanted to hear? This weekend was busier than usual but yet God carved several times out for me to stop, rest, and to receive from Him. Studying 1 Kings 19 touched my heart and soul especially about God immediately coming to Elijah and ministering to his needs. The physical touch that brings comfort, healing, love, security, etc. The gentle whisper is what Elijah needed to hear–God’s gentleness, tenderness, caring, compassion, not his might and power. Thank you!”

But more of what happens is the way God weaves pieces of Velvet Ashes into your life:

 “People come to my gate multiple times a day—some people I know who come just to greet (very cultural here) or to ask for money. Some are complete strangers, asking if they can they do any work in exchange for money. I am an introvert and adding the cultural stresses of being interrupted, I feel like I must guard my ‘rest’ time, even if that is at someone else’s expense.”

Suzanne shared that God had been working with her on this, using a conversation with her Velvet Ashes Connection Group and time in his Word. And then she read “Is the Shortest Path the Best One?” at Velvet Ashes. She said:

“[The post] talked about the desires that I have (in this case, it was the desire to keep my sanity by curving out some intentional, much-needed introvert time). The question in the blog post was ‘How often have you gotten what you thought you wanted, only to have a profound sense of disappointment?’

It was the bulls-eye that desperately needed to be hit, allowing me to get to the underlying issue and the root of my skewed thinking: physical rest is the sole thing to keep my sanity. In and of itself, physical rest is good and needed, but only a means to an end, not the end or the solution. It’s only in the person of Jesus Christ can I find my rest and strength when I need the strength to continue.”


Ultimately this is what Velvet Ashes is, not a group of programs—as wonderful as the programs are! But a group of people who love Jesus, the lost, and living life together.

We are your people. And we are so excited you are here! Which are you most interested in? Share in the comments and  Join in the fun here.


We are doing something next week we’ve never done before, and we’re more than a little excited about it! We’re putting on a FREE live class for those who are fresh on the field, or who are soon heading overseas. If this is you, you’re not going to want to miss this, as Danielle Wheeler and Amy Young are going to sit with you for an hour and pour into you.

The best is to be there live so you can interact and ask questions. Join us live Friday September 7, 9am EST. But if you can’t be there at this time, still sign up, because we’ll email you a replay video of the entire class. 

Know someone who would love this opportunity? Be sure to pass it along! We are your people, and we’re here to be a hand to walk with you through the crazy journey of transition!

Space is limited, so grab your spot today.


We invite you to share in The Grove. You can link up your blog post, or share your practices, ponderings, wisdom, questions, ideas, and creative expressions with us in the comments below.

Share your images on this week’s theme with #VelvetAshesVelvetAshing. You can add yours!


  1. IstanJules September 1, 2018

    I love the idea of a newbie class! I wish so much I’d had one when I landed 11 years ago! When you do one for those of us having to reenter our passport cultures, I’ll be the first one to sign up.
    Ladies, I am so thankful for you.

  2. Paulette Leila September 4, 2018

    “Ultimately this is what Velvet Ashes is, not a group of programs—as wonderful as the programs are! But a group of people who love Jesus, the lost, and living life together.”

    How exciting to have found this community of women – sisters and co-laborers scattered across the globe but working towards the same goal. It was so helpful to read this article as well as “Your Decoder Ring,” as I am fairly new to Velvet Ashes and trying to figure out where and how to plug in and keep up.

    In April, on a trip to the city, I participated in the retreat, which came at a perfect time for some things I was dealing with, helping me refocus on Jesus and quiet my heart. After that, I saved many blog posts and articles to my laptop to read back where I work, since there was no internet there. Over the following weeks, I was so blessed and encouraged by the wisdom and insight and transparency of sisters in Christ who live lives that are different-yet-oh-so-similar to mine. Can’t even count how many times I cried and laughed and said “me too!” In June on another city trip, I added myself to the community map, downloaded more articles to read, and connected personally with someone on the Velvet Ashes team via e-mail and skype. What a blessing!

    But now, all of a sudden, Wi-Fi was installed in the semi-remote jungle village where I work! So God has given me the unexpected and wonderful opportunity to communicate with the outside world. Yay! I am thrilled to finally be able to keep up with the latest happenings, and connect regularly with the Velvet Ashes community. So thankful for you!

    1. Amy Young September 7, 2018

      Paulette, I’m so glad that this posts in the week were helpful to you :). And SO glad you’re here AND for the blessing of easy access to wifi :)!

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