How many times have you heard someone say, “I’ve lived in this area my whole life and never been to …”? Invite the women to explore their community. This is a six–week program to explore famous historical sites, restaurants that have been featured on the Food Network, Botanical Gardens, museums or attractions that others come from miles away to see and experience but that locals pass by thinking “someday”.
Budget and Planning
Determine the cost of each stop. Develop a budget based on admission fees, transportation and refreshments. If the places are beyond some of the women’s personal budgets, hold a fundraiser to help or defray the cost. If possible, the leader should visit each site before the group goes, so that they are informed and ready to point out interesting features and pitfalls. Choose a historian to take pictures, capture fun quotes for a memory book or PowerPoint® presentation that could be shown at the last meeting. Create a trivia game or use a game show format of questions about various locations visited for the last meeting.
For the first five weeks visit the locations previously decided upon. Traveling together is always fun and builds community, but meeting at the site may sometimes be more practical. Depending on the timing and venue, finish up the exploration with an appropriate treat. Good food, coffee and conversation around sharing the “best things” are memory making and relationship building.
Hold a fun and meaningful wrap–up as outlined above. Bring this time of getting to know your community and each other as an opportunity to challenge the group into a deeper understanding of God’s love and presence.
Devotional Focus for Wrap–Up Meeting
Psalm 46:1–11: “God is our strong refuge He is truly our helper in times of trouble” (vs 1).
The Lord is always close. He is El Roi—the God who sees me. In our busyness, in the midst of challenges, difficulties, hurts and distractions of life, we can miss the blessing of a daily and constant relationship with our heavenly Father. The God who sees all is always mindful of you, always aware of you. In Isaiah 65:24, God reminds Isaiah that He is so aware of His people that even in their rebellion and disobedience He anticipates their calling out to Him. Even before they whisper the prayer, while they are still talking about their situation and their needs, He hears and answers. The Psalmist reminds us that God is very present, a safe place for us to go in times of trouble. We are challenged in verse 10 of the passage to be still, and in that stillness, know that God is God, powerful, present and ready to protect and act on your behalf. In Confessions, Saint Augustine writes, “You have made us for Yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in You.” For each of us today, Home Sweet Home is only truly found when we yield our hearts to our Father God, who knows us best and loves us most.