Faith Fields, member of Antioch Church, and Julie Kerr, member of First Baptist Church Vilonia, along with 13 other team members from Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and South Carolina, participated in a Pure Joy International retreat in Prague, Czech Republic, Oct. 24-27, for 50 missionary women serving in 15 European and African countries. The theme of the retreat was "Standing in the Gap" and the scripture was Exodus 17:12 "Aaron and Hur held up his [Moses’] hands … so his hands were steady until the going down of the sun."

Pure Joy is a unique ministry that ministers to missionary women serving overseas to "lift the hearts of women around the world." To date, the ministry has conducted 18 retreats in 13 countries around the world. The purpose of the ministry is to nurture and refresh women missionaries around the world who often live isolated and difficult lives in foreign countries. The retreats reach women in all stages and walks of missionary life: single, married, married with children, divorced, widowed, and empty-nesters. The retreats are sponsored by donations from individuals, churches, and businesses that cover the cost of the retreat for the missionaries and include Biblical teaching, fellowship with other missionaries, relaxation, and Biblical counseling.

One missionary woman who attended the retreat said this: "Thank you for being available to the Lord to encourage my heart, bless me and stand in the gap for me. Thank you for giving me a spiritual oasis. Each one of you has blessed me one way or the other, by a smile, or a hug, or a question, or bending the knee next to me to ask me if I need something, by the gifts, by your examples of servanthood, by your faithfulness to the Lord, by your joy in serving His servants."

Vickie Arruda, founder and president of Pure Joy International, said "Pure Joy is an ‘inside-out’ ministry which encourages local women to be involved in various aspects of the ministry." Women in churches all over the country have had the opportunity to get involved prior to each trip through participating in prayer groups, praying daily for individual missionaries, crafting gifts, providing individualized gifts for each missionary, financially supporting the cost of each missionary to attend the retreat, and going on a trip. If you would like more information on the ministry or to learn how you or your church can get involved, please visit the website,