News from the Edge

May 2023 Newsletter: Preparing and Strengthing Pastoral Couples in Marriage Ministry 

“I’m very grateful to God for providing us with this opportunity. The education that we received has been a great help in our marriage. Before, when I just started in pastoral ministry, my wife and I didn’t trust one another. Through the various education sessions that we have received, our trust as a couple has grown. My wife can be outside of the home attending education or in other activities and I don’t have distrust towards her. We pastors don’t stop learning, in every educational conference we always learn something new. Thank you very much for the invitation.”

This increased trust between couples is many of the positive impacts of this year’s conference, which benefited 22 couples. The couples grew in other areas as well.

Let’s learn more about the conference.

This year Pastor Antonio and Pastor Cesar talked about sexual intimacy in marriage. They noted that God created sex and that it is a very good thing for couples to enjoy within marriage. This is an especially important topic for Christians, but one that is not talked about in Pokomchi and Quechi culture. Therefore, the pastors and especially their wives were uncomfortable at first. The conference speakers reminded them that all the truths in the Bible, even a taboo subject like sex, is important. They should discuss it amongst themselves as couples, with their children, and their congregations. They were encouraged not to be afraid to talk about this topic.

To be very clear with the topic, the speakers addressed what sexual relations are and how God created them to be enjoyed as a married couple. The four purposes: to procreate, give pleasure, provide companionship, and glorify God were taught. The importance of good communication, love, and affection to have sexual intimacy as God designed was discussed. 

Colossians 3:23 was applied to sexual relations as well.

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters”

This was a lightbulb moment for the couples as they had never heard this verse applied this way.

The speakers explained that a couple should love each other with all their heart and find pleasure together in their sexual life. They noted that when love isn’t present, one spouse may have sexual intimacy just for obligation or be forced into it, and that is not how God designed it. God wants couples to fully give of themselves to each other, and to do that there must be mutual love, respect, affection, and good communication. Furthermore, however a husband/wife interacts with their spouse during the day will negatively or positively affect their sexual intimacy.

The pastors and their wives studied Bible verses that talk about sexuality and this led them to be more prepared to address martial problems that they encounter in their churches. They shared that they encountered infidelity in marriages and wives not wanting to have sexual relations with their husbands. Before, they didn’t know how to respond to this and just told couples they would pray for them.

Now, having increased knowledge about sexual intimacy as God designed, they feel equipped to address these hard situations in their churches. They are also excited to share what they have learned with the youth and young couples in their churches. The pastors admitted that no one talked about this before and it is so needed.

By the end of the conference, the pastors and wives felt confident to ask questions about sexual relations that they had and that they may experience when sharing these topics with their churches. They were satisfied with the answers and even more prepared to address this topic in their ministry. 

One pastor shared this, showing how this education will support him in pastoral ministry:

“This is my first time participating in this conference and I give thanks to God for allowing me to be here and for the education given. In times before, education didn’t exist for pastors, even less about these topics. When I was young, nobody talked about these topics with me. I give many thanks to the pastors who taught in this conference. I’m an older man and at this age I’m just now learning about the importance of sexual relations.

I’m very pleased with what I learned. These topics will help me address concerns, such as infidelity, with more confidence in my pastoral ministry and help all the couples that come seeking assistance in their marriages. With God’s help, I can help resolve the conflicts they are experiencing.

With all my heart, I thank you for the new knowledge I have received. I will be praying for each one of you, that you may continue serving in God’s work and helping those who need assistance.”

Canadian Volunteer Jesse, a theological student, addressed a theological question (about how to worship God) that the pastors had submitted before the conference. He also shared his personal testimony and spent time getting to know that pastors.

There was a sewing activity where pastors and wives were challenged to hand sew a fabric tortilla holder. They were given a sample to look at, all the materials needed, and instructions. Wives relied on their husbands to understand and pass along the written instructions and husbands were tasked to help with the sewing. They learned and laughed together during this new task. 

In the evening there was a campfire with games, songs, and prizes. Everyone enjoyed themselves. It was a break from their many responsibilities and a chance to be young again. An evening devotional from Pastor Cesar encouraged the couples to remain steadfast and faithful in their marriage. Also, to continually ask for forgiveness and forgive each other.

It was an amazing time and God touched many lives. We are excited to see how their congregations will grow from this as well! Thank you for your support and prayers that strengthen all involved and make for a successful conference.