Real Women Doing Real Life in Similar Situations

Connection Group registration for our Fall Session is officially open!!  

“What is a Connection Group?” you say?  And why would you make time in your already busy life for this?

Because, dear one, this is for you.  It’s not something to add to the long list of important needs you are meeting.  This is refreshment poured into your soul so that you can keep pouring yourself out for all those important needs.  If you’re not taking time to fill yourself up, to meet your very real need for connection and encouragement, you’ll soon be running on empty.

Connection Groups are weekly Skype sessions with you, a mentor, and up to 4 other ladies serving (or formerly serving) overseas.  Imagine a weekly time to curl up in your favorite chair for deep, life-giving conversation with women who truly get the life you’re living.

Sound amazing?  It is.  But don’t take my word for it.

Amanda Wurdeman took part in our pilot Spring Session of Connection Groups.  And here’s what she has to say…Amanda

“After 8 years serving on the field, I was feeling empty. There had been so many orientations, teamwork meetings, flights, furloughs, church updates, good-byes, leading Bible studies, hosting work teams, and being the only one to teach Children’s church. I felt empty. I was still in the Word, but there was something I was missing.

My best friend and husband was great, but he didn’t have this need to share and relate with other women who were going through the same thing. Our other teammates were a gift to do ministry with, but there are times when since you share everything together you need a break.

When I first heard of Velvet Ashes starting connection groups for women, I thought, ‘No, way. I don’t have time for one more thing. I don’t need one more investment of pouring into a relationship and with people I don’t even know.’

Then I realized this is exactly what I have been praying for. Thank you, Lord, for this gift. I’d been longing to share experiences with women who have gone through the struggles and joys I have. Even though I had never met these ladies, they understood what burnout meant and how to help with it. They understood that furlough and fundraising did not mean vacation, but a much needed rest and continued work trip.

Jim Elliot said, ‘It is true that a fellow cannot ignore women, but he can think of them as he ought- as sisters, not as sparring partners.’ Our connection groups became this even after just one Skype meeting – sisters praying for one another.

It was an honest place where we could be ourselves and not have to seem like perfect ‘overseas workers.’

It was a time where we could share and others had been through what we had and offered encouragement or prayers and suggestions if they had no clue what to offer.

We were all real women doing real life in similar situations. And there was real beauty as there were no fights, gossip, or judgments.

We had no reason to mask ourselves. Our one connection was the Lord and similar serving situations. It was a true place to talk and be uplifted.

Despite all the distractions technology has brought us, it has also been a blessing. It makes us possible to mentor, be mentored, and be encouraged with just a click for one hour a week through these special groups. As Colossians 3: 12 says, ‘Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another.’ I was so thankful to openly do that with these fellow sisters without feeling inadequate.

I hope you can have this too – others praying for you, understanding what you are going through, and encouraging you.”

-Amanda Wurdeman serving in St. Vincent

Like I said…amazing!

Click here to see the Connection Group times that are available.  Choose the time that works for you!  Groups close when full.

Our fall session runs for 8 weeks beginning the week of September 29 and end the week of November 17.

What aspect of Connection Groups appeals to you?  Excited about this opportunity?  Do share!   

Photo Credit: kevin dooley via Compfight cc


  1. Laura September 17, 2014

    Oh I was so excited about joining a connection group, but none of the times work for me 🙁  I am very thankful for this site though, and although I’ve not really connected personally with anyone, I love just knowing I’m not alone.

    1. Danielle Wheeler September 17, 2014

      Oh, bummer!  So sorry the times don’t work for you!  We hope to offer even more options for the Spring Session, so I really hope it will work out for you then!  So thrilled to have you at Velvet Ashes, and I’ve loved reading your stories and thoughts through The Grove link ups.  Yes, you are not alone!

      One thought, if you add your last name or even just last initial in your comments, that would help us to know which Laura you are. 🙂

  2. Katie Hoskins September 18, 2014

    Sad, I wanted to sign up for a group this fall but was too late I guess 🙁

  3. Brittany September 20, 2014

    Wow, they filled up fast!  I’ve been hesitant to join one just because I’m so awkward over the phone/computer.  Maybe I will have worked up the courage for the next one.  😉

  4. Phyllis September 20, 2014

    I was too late and too busy, too. I did have an idea: what about forming a group that “meets” in writing? By email, or in a private Facebook group, or something? Would that be an option next time? It might not be quite as personal, but it would be more convenient for some of us.

    1. susan October 6, 2014

      this would work better for people with slower-than-tar internet connections too.  would love to join a connection group but our internet connection is too poor.

  5. Cecily Willard September 23, 2014

    I’m so sad that I missed this!  I am behind on my Velvet Ashes reading, and when I found out about the connection groups, they were all full!  So sad 🙁

  6. Danielle Wheeler September 26, 2014

    Ok, ladies.  I have some news for you.  Our Velvet Ashes team heard your disappointment about missing out on Connection Groups this fall.  We prayerfully considered what we might do about this, and Phyllis, we really liked your suggestion.  So…

    We’re excited to announce that we’re opening TWO special Connection Groups for THIS fall.

    These Connection Groups will happen via email.  So it doesn’t have to be a time that works for you!  Instead of having a weekly skype meeting, these two groups will connect through writing.  (This doesn’t mean you have to be a “writer”!)  At the beginning of the week, the group mentor will send out a list of discussion questions, and throughout the week, group members will respond and share by replying to all.  These discussion questions are the same ones that skype groups will be using, and are designed especially to build connection and encouragement among women serving overseas.

    You are among the first to know about this opportunity BEFORE it is announced more publicly.  There are only 10 spots available, so if you want to participate in one of these Writing Connection Groups, please go here and register for either GROUP 8 OR 9 as soon as possible:

    1. Laura C September 26, 2014

      Thank you so much! I’m all signed up 🙂

  7. Brittany September 26, 2014

    Yay!  Thank you!

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