This is a weekend for bereaved couples and singles to spend some relaxed, unhurried time with other parents who understand the experience of losing a child. As we go through the weekend, we will learn from each other, pray for one another, encourage each other, and find out that we are not alone on this journey. Our goal at these retreats is to point grieving parents to our only true source of comfort, Jesus Christ. Anyone who has lost a child is welcome to come. You are welcome if your child has been in Heaven for thirty days or for thirty years. You are welcome if your child was stillborn and never took a single earthly breath, or if your child lived to be an adult and had a family of his or her own. Come, knowing you will be surrounded by people who care, who understand, and who will pray for you. This will be a safe place, a place where we can honestly discuss our struggles, knowing we will not be judged, because every one of us has been there at one time or another. We will also share our victories, and rejoice with each other as we move along the road toward healing. What will we do over the course of the weekend? We’ll talk about our kids in Heaven and we’ll pray for each other. We’ll explore the beauty of nature around us, enjoy delicious meals together, discuss God’s presence in our grief, and form lasting bonds of friendship. Our time will be informal, but structured. Certainly, we will cry together … but we will also laugh together. There is no cost to attend one of these special events.
Come, knowing you will be surrounded by people who care, who understand, and who will pray for you. This will be a safe place, a place where we can honestly discuss our struggles, knowing we will not be judged, because every one of us has been there at one time or another. We will also share our victories, and rejoice with each other as we move along the road toward healing.
Most of our retreats are hosted at the While We’re Waiting Refuge, a retreat facility in Hot Springs, Arkansas, which has been built and designed specifically with bereaved parents in mind. The Refuge is nestled in the midst of tranquil thoroughbred farms in a quiet country setting with a stocked pond and fifty wooded acres on which to roam. The Refuge is specifically designed for the comfort of bereaved parents, with a welcome center, a large kitchen/dining area overlooking the pond, a comfortable and cozy meeting room, a library/sitting area, an expansive deck, and ten hotel-room style bedrooms, each with its own private bathroom. This event is open to both single parents and married couples. There are no other guests present at The Refuge during our retreats, so we can fully relax and make ourselves at home for the weekend. The Refuge is also fully accessible, with two handicapped-equipped guest rooms. Lodging for the weekend and all meals are provided, and there is no cost to the attendees.
Brad and Jill’s daughter, Hannah, went to Heaven on February 26, 2009, at the age of 17. She battled glioblastoma brain cancer for one year with grace and without fear, accepting it as "her storm" ... her opportunity to bring glory to God. Brad is retired after 31 years in public education and together, they serve as the executive directors of the While We're Waiting ministry. Jill hosts the While We're Waiting - Hope After Child Loss podcast. They enjoy hiking, kayaking, and spending time with their daughter Bethany. They have a passion for pointing grieving moms and dads to the hope we have in Jesus.
Sean and Heather Ellis are the parents of Michael, who stepped into Heaven on July 4, 2016, at the age of 14, one month short of 15. He was on a Polaris side-by-side ATV with four friends when it overturned and fell on him. Sean is employed with FedEx Express in the Air Ops Division and Heather is a stay-at-home mom. They enjoy the outdoors and spending time with their daughter Abigail and supporting her horse barrel racing.