Blog

Marriage Conference – June 2015

Posted December 19th, 2015 in News
June 2015 1

A double wedding!

Encouraging the adults of Los Cedros to make their marriages and families a priority has long been central to our work there, and in June, four couples went to Los Cedros for 12 days primarily to hold a fourth annual marriage conference in partnership with Iglesia Eben Ezer.

In planning for the trip, we thought it might be meaningful to have a wedding ceremony at the end of the marriage conference for any couples who had been thinking about marriage and were moved during the conference to make the commitment. The conference was spread out over two consecutive Saturdays, and we decided that at the end of the first Saturday we would announce an invitation to that effect.

June 2015 2

The marriage conference in Los Cedros

After the conference teaching on the first Saturday, two young women came up to us and said they would like to get married.

The women are sisters who are well-known to several of us from previous trips to Los Cedros. Each was living with her intended husband and already had two children with him.

It is common in this culture for young men and women to start a family and live together, in that order, and then maybe think about getting married. Too often, however, they never get around to the getting married part, which makes it too easy for the man to leave his family when the grass looks greener somewhere else. Destitute, fatherless families are endemic in this culture, which is one reason we started these marriage conferences three years ago.

We told these two women that not only would we support the idea of them getting married, we had brought down two wedding dresses that they could use for that purpose.

The fitting session during the week was truly miraculous. A friend of our team had donated two wedding dresses, sizes 10 and 18, and they fit these women perfectly, save some hemming, which was easily done as a small boost to the local economy.

These beautiful young brides were beyond radiant at their double wedding the following Saturday, a sight none of us will ever forget.

Another invitation we extended at the end of the first Saturday was for people at the conference to write down prayer requests and/or questions for us to consider during the week.

One woman asked us to pray for her as she considered ending her life and those of her children as a result of a long and debilitating illness. Almost all of the notes were submitted anonymously, but this note included a name, and we took that as a cry for help and a call to immediate, direct action.

We contacted her pastor to learn more about the situation and also to ask his blessing on our desire to meet with her. He told us what he knew and affirmed our desire to go visit her in her home, so we appointed a couple from among us and sent them off with a professional interpreter.

They found not only the woman to be at home, but also her husband. Immediately upon entering the home, it was clear that something was horribly wrong, and we learned over the next hour, that at the very moment we arrived the two of them were talking about getting a divorce.

The woman has a significant feminine illness, and she was ashamed of being unable to care for her family and of being unable to be sexually active with her husband, two elements of being a wife that are highly valued in this community. We have met several women over the years who, unable to bear children or fulfill other culturally valued roles in their homes, have thought it honorable to divorce their husbands so that the husband can have a fulfilling family life with another woman.

Meanwhile, the husband has been unemployed for several months, and he was ashamed of being unable to provide for his family and care for his wife. The medical procedures she needed were hopelessly out of reach for their financial situation.

This added to the woman’s shame as she did not want to add to her husband’s burden by seeking the medical care she needed.

They were in a deep, dark downward spiral, and they saw little hope for their marriage and, in her case, perhaps even her very life.

When the couple that met with them reported back to the rest of the team, several of us committed to finance the medical care the woman needs. We arranged with the pastor and another local man to get the funds to her in an appropriate and orderly fashion, and we prayed that she would return to health and regain the self-esteem her culture imparts to a productive and confident mother and wife.

At last report, the woman is doing significantly better, and so is the marriage.

There were so many other wonderful things that we were able to be part of during this trip.

June 2015 3

A church in Condega

In addition to Los Cedros, we shared our heart for marriage through mini-conferences in Condega, Monte Fresco and Reyes Norte.

We also delivered letters and packages from American sponsors to the students at Escuela Cristiana Havila, then helped the students write notes and draw pictures for the sponsors in return. As always, that was a beautiful process to be part of.

One of many from this trip.

 

Be Sociable, Share!