From concerts to seminars by some of the most renowned Bible teachers, speakers and worship leaders, The Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove in Asheville, N.C., offers a wide array of ways for people to study and grow spiritually.
However, sometimes we simply need a couple of quiet days away with God, and Him alone. That is why The Cove offers Personal Spiritual Retreats, self-directed opportunities for an individual or a couple to privately refocus on growing their relationship with God in beautiful and peaceful surroundings.
Audery Ponder is one of those people. In November of 2009, she attended the Evening at The Cove with Kathy Troccoli and felt the presence of God on the property of The Cove. “I purposed that evening to come back someday.”
Someday came sooner than she thought it would. A recent college graduate, Ponder needed to spend some time seeking God’s counsel on His direction for her life. Last spring, she went to her computer and began looking for places to get away.
As she was perusing the Internet for retreat centers, she remembered her time at The Cove the previous fall. “I was very excited to see that The Cove offers Personal Spiritual Retreats,” she recalls. “I saw the dates offered and called right away. I knew this was where God wanted to meet with me. I just praise the Lord that everything worked out for me to come.”
Her time spent at The Cove turned out to be a God-led time of preparation for her. “I am very secure in my relationship with the Lord, but somehow I just felt the need to shut myself away from the distractions of the world, and find a temporary refuge. I came there with Psalm 46:1 on my mind, which talks about the Lord being our Refuge.”
She recalls one of her sweetest moments with God as she was walking on the nature trail on The Cove’s property. “I found a seating area near a brook. I just sat there fellowshipping with God. I felt sweeping of His spirit come over me. I was so overwhelmed, I began to weep,” she remembered. “A couple walked by me and asked if I was okay. I explained to them that I was just worshipping. That was just one of many sweet moments I had on my Personal Spiritual Retreat.”
Ponder wants everyone she knows to have the same kind of encounter she had at The Cove. “I shared my experience with several people. We owe it to God to give Him focused time in our lives,” she said. “I am so thankful that The Cove has this for us. It is very hard to truly put into words; people just need to experience this. God will meet you, and it will be life-changing.”
Read what other people said
- This was indeed a gift to me by God. My time spent here at a Personal Spiritual Retreat was to prepare me to accept God’s next assignment. I will never forget this time in my life. It is a great spiritual marker on my journey. Thank you for making space for me. May people see the changes in me and want to come.
- I had the freedom to seek God without interruption…no pre-planned activities. It’s all about spending time with God. Thank you.
- The Personal Spiritual Retreat is an opportunity to reflect or study in a restful, relaxing environment, free of distractions in our “connected” life.
- The weekend followed a time of recommitment to God and my wife. It was a significant time of repentance, leisure, and growing together and toward God. Praise God for His faithfulness.