What a joy it was to hold the pastoral couples conference! We had 24 couples (12 Pokomchí and 12 Q’eqchi) attend, each group coming separately for two days! Education in this area isn’t common here, but it is so important. It is especially needed as the pastors and their wives are an example to many. Good communication is key to a healthy and strong marriage and this was the overarching conference topic.
The couples were encouraged to communicate with love and practice showing love to each other and not just any love, but the unconditional love that God has towards us. They were taught the importance of working as a team. It was emphasized to have unity in marriage and that the closer they are to God, the more unity they will have. The subtopic of “Between us there are no secrets” spoke of maintaining communication that is constant, sincere, respectful, and always valuing each other’s opinions. They learned that “Three is best” which referred to husband, wife, and God in a marriage. Within this, living in constant communion with God personally and as a couple is what is needed for a healthy and successful marriage. They were shown practical ways from the Bible to do all this and encouraged to dedicate time, individually and as a couple, in communicating with God through prayer and time in God’s Word.
A pastor new to the conference said this:
“I thank God for allowing us to get to know other pastors and hear their stories. Each one of us has encountered different situations in life and many times these difficult times can weaken our marriage. Having good communication has helped my wife and I in our married life. This conference has strengthened our knowledge regarding what we should do as a couple, but often forget to do. Thank you for your time and inviting us here.”
Amongst all this education, there was fun and games mixed in. They learned lighthearted songs with actions. There was much laughter during all of this and quality time spent together. Life in ministry and raising children is all-consuming. The conference allowed much needed time away from this, and also to connect with each other and fellow pastoral couples.
After the daytime education, there was a special evening activity planned for them around a campfire! They sang more songs and played more games, and more laughter ensued. A mariachi band joined them in worship songs. We had many new couples for this year and it was wonderful to see them actively participating and enjoying everything.
Pastor Cesar ended the night with a devotional called the Triangle of Love (in marriage). God being first, spouse second, and children third. Cultivating a relationship with God first was highlighted as necessary in a marriage. Then the night ended with a special time for the couples to ask for forgiveness for wrong doings, forgive each other, and pray together.
The couples stayed the night in the Shekinah Center. To keep everyone healthy considering COVID, each couple had their own tent. We set up everything specially for them and it turned out beautiful! This was something new for many and the camping experience was a big hit!
The couples were so thankful for all of this. They aim to share what they’ve learned with couples in their churches, especially young couples. They were also grateful for the individual counselling sessions that were offered to them by Pastor Cesar. Ten couples received this. We invite you to prayer over them with us.
We look forward to hosting them again next year! The conference was a huge blessing in their lives and they are eager to return. One pastor who is normally quiet and reserved couldn’t help sharing about this. This is what he said:
“I don’t have the words to sufficiently express how happy I feel that you thought of us in participating in this conference. My wife and I feel valued by all of you as this conference has brought help to our lives. As spouses there are things we forget to practice, such as good communication, quality time with each other, and listening to each other. This conference has reminded and encouraged us to do these things”