Jesus’ peaceful pace was startling.
Even in the midst of crowds, Jesus never appears crowded. We never find him rushing or stressing or pushing. And yet, 2000 years later, we as his followers often find ourselves strained, exhausted, and empty. “The times are different,” we sigh. True. But the ingredients for peace remain the same.
Is it possible to live at rest in God in a restless, noisy, demanding age?
“I feel convinced that for me, and for you who read, there lie ahead undiscovered continents of spiritual living compared with which we are infants in arms.” Frank Laubach, March 1, 1930 as quoted in Practicing His Presence
Yes! Through retreats, intensives, practicums, and spiritual direction, Lii creates “quiet places” and practically equips leaders in the church and marketplace to discover new, sustainable rhythms of spiritual health and rest.
“Would you consider mentoring me?”
This vulnerable question is one that Barry and Alicia have been humbled to hear from hundreds of hungry souls.
For over 30 years, the Choles have treasured God’s calling on their lives of intentionally investing in leaders’ spiritual growth.
Through the formation of Leadership Investment Intensives, they have the joy of crafting experiences devoted to empowering leaders toward the development of soul health and sustainable intimacy with God.
Lii’s First Steps
Lii took its first steps in 2010 with the launch of a 3-night spiritual formation intensive for women in leadership called Rest & Renewal at the Chole’s newly opened prayer retreat home, Rest Inn Rivendell. At the time, Barry was serving full-time as a world missionary utilizing his doctoral focus as a consultant on third-culture transitions. Together, Barry and Alicia dreamed of a day “after Barry retired” when they could mentor side-by-side once again as they did in their early years of ministry. In the meantime, Alicia began to dream with her team about how to offer mentoring to women not in proximity.
In 2011, via the inspiring suggestion of Stephanie Smith, Alicia’s friend and then executive assistant, Lii offered its first 12-month Mentoring Encounter to a brave group of fifteen women in leadership. By the third month, all involved realized with that the Mentoring Encounters were God-blessed. In September of 2011, through the gracious guidance of an incredible Board (Thank you Jay Clark, Geoffrey Thompson, Spencer Beach, Erik Barr, and Christle Johnson!), Lii incorporated as a non-profit ministry devoted to providing “spiritual direction for leaders and learners.”
God gifted the Choles with the unexpected in 2012. After a Daniel Fast and multiple prayer retreats, God confirmed in Barry’s heart that the time for transition to full-time mentoring was now. Barry emerged from prayer sensing that God was saying, “It is time! And, son, I’ve got this.” In confirmation, a praying friend saw a valley of dry bones of men in leadership and in her heart felt that God said, “I am calling Barry to stand in that valley and speak life to these men.” All who know Barry say “yes and amen.” As Alicia said in the dedication of Anonymous: Jesus’ Hidden Years and Yours:
To my beloved husband, wisest friend, and dearest mentor: A man who in faith treasures the unseen potential of every hidden soul. In the spirit of Barnabas, you invest in others richly then with joy step back to watch them shine.
Barry completed his term with World Missions and then transitioned with their blessing to serve full-time with Lii in December 2012.
In January 2013, Lii offered its first 7th Year Mentoring Encounter for men. Then in May of 2013, Lii received 501c3 status! In the Fall of 2013, Jay Clark transitioned out of the board to focus upon his growing business and family, and Sanford Williams (a lawyer in D.C.) and Connie Boltinghouse (Texas businesswoman and minister) joined the board.
In 2014, Lii expanded to include three affiliate mentors: Life coach and professional writer, Mary Yerkes, Family and Marriage Therapist, Laura Demetrician, and pastor and musician, Stephanie Smith. All three women are alumnus of Alicia’s Mentoring Encounters. In the 7th Mentoring Encounter, they discovered a vehicle in which their professional expertise, life experience, and love to mentor women found life-giving expression. As Laura transitioned out of her role as an affiliate at the end of the year, Lii welcomed a new affiliate mentor, Dr. Kimberly Nash Alexander, speech therapist, minister, and alumni of Alicia’s Mentoring Encounter.
In November 2014, through a generous grant from the Hudson Foundation, Lii held their first Couple’s Retreat the focus of which was “championing your spouse’s First Love”! The retreat was extraordinary and the three couples who participated quickly made plans for a reunion!
As of December 2014, 118 different women and men had experienced Lii’s 12-month 7th Year Mentoring Encounters and retreats via staff mentors and an additional 15 women had experienced Lii via affiliate mentors.
May 2015, Alicia completed her doctorate in Leadership and Spiritual Formation from George Fox Evangelical Seminary and Barry completed his certification as a spiritual director from Sustainable Faith’s school of spiritual direction!
June 2015, long-time partner and colleague, Christie Browne, transitioned from her role as an outstanding Lii facilitator. Lii cannot over estimate her contribution to this ministry and she will be dearly missed.
Other summer transitions include the departure of our beloved Christle Johnson as Board Secretary and the warm welcome of Jennifer Keitt as Ambassador and Kathy Witte as Secretary.
Through the generosity of Lii donors, Lii was able to more than double its scholarship awards for Mentoring Encounter applicants!
In 2016, Lii launched Online Courses and Webinars, personal spiritual direction options, and Staff soul care alongside an incredible team:
- Sara Escamilla, Lii facilitator.
- Stephanie Smith, Messaging and Dream Catalyst
- Angie Britt, Bookkeeper
- Diane Marpe, Alumni Care
- Lori Ritchey, Intercessory Prayer
And an DREAM Board..
- Sanford Williams, President
- Connie Boltinghouse, Vice President
- Spencer Beach, Treasurer
- Kathy Witte, Secretary
- Jennifer Keitt, Ambassador
- Geoffrey Thompson, Ambassador
- Erik Barr, Ambassador
- Susan Sohn joined the team to spread the word about Lii’s offerings.
- Alicia’s personal website was redone to help others find mentoring opportunities more readily.
- Board Members Connie Boltinghouse and Geoffrey Thompson transitioned to the role of Director Emeritus.
- Author and entrepreneur, Charity Reeb joined the Board.
- Alicia devoted the year to offering only private (as opposed to group) spiritual mentoring to leaders in Vietnam, India, Australia, and the USA.
Now in its 7th Year, Lii seems to have found its niche in providing substantial soul care to leaders.
And we’re still dreaming…