Early January 2018 it was our privilege to conduct a marriage workshop for a group of Asian missionaries who are working ‘underground’ in Asia. The group consisted of 32 participants: 12 couples and 8 singles, accompanied by 11 children. To facilitate this, the host organization had rented a nice hotel at a tourist location, and provided us with three translators. The whole group was excited to attend the retreat. They had been working in this country between 6 months and 2 years and had been sent out with no training and no language-learning skills, unable to speak English nor the local language. As you can imagine their marriages were under quite a lot of stress, with some participants being on the brink of depression.
It became clear the retreat was becoming more of a Family Camp than a Marriage Workshop, so we called some local YWAMers to help us lead worship times and children’s ministry. After the first two days it was evident most participants were connecting much better with each other and on the 3rd day we addressed their anonymously asked questions about sexual life. These questions revealed a lot of misunderstanding about sexual intimacy as well as considerable suffering. This was their first opportunity to receive Christian teaching on the subject, explaining God’s attitude towards sex from the Bible. They were incredibly blessed! The ladies in particular had private questions, which Marjolein answered later during a ladies-only session. We had a lengthy time of prayer ministry on the 4th day, during which many of the participants were deeply touched by God’s presence, followed by a spontaneous dance party! Five wonderful days filled with teaching, team/family building games, and a little free time too. The singles felt very blessed as well, as it helped them work out certain team issues in addition to receiving some helpful pre-marriage teaching.
Paul & Marjolein Heiligenberg
Family Ministry Heidebeek, The Netherlands
- As a couple, we were aware our marriage faced problems but didn’t really know what they were nor why. This workshop helped us identify the source and provide us ways of working through our problems. Praise God for speaking to us over the 5 days, as both of us were humble enough to apologize, ask for and received forgiveness from one another. We thank God for the opportunity of praying & worshiping together and for the new start to our marriage. We believe He will bless us as we continue to love, respect and honor one another, and together honor our Father.
- Through the workshop, I discovered that I had been stifling my husband by questioning his ability and not trusting him with responsibilities within the family. I praise God for the conviction of the Holy Spirit who enabled me to humbly confess my wrongs and ask for forgiveness. I thank God that with my husband’s forgiveness, I have been set free to grow and become the wife I’m meant to be. All glory to God!
- We praise God for speaking to us that second to God, we are to put each other above all other things. At the station with the 2 bibles, God give us Deut. 11:11 as a promise to us as a couple, we are full of hope for our life together in the time ahead of us. We are moved to tears by God’s amazing grace & great love!
- Praise God for answering many of my doubts and questions on sex. I’ve been set free to enjoy sexual union with my spouse without guilt, rather with thankfulness to God who instituted marriage and sexual intimacy within our marriage.
- I praise God for showing me that I need to find balance between husband and wife time and ministry time. Along with this, I also learned the steps I need to take to make this happen. Through the workshop, my spouse and I felt a new degree of one-ness and stability in our marriage.
- I praise God for showing me that I’m a warrior in dealing with conflicts, and really helped me to restrained myself and listen well to my husband yesterday afternoon. We both feel that God is giving us a second chance with our marriage, to live for His glory!
- Praise God for helping me gain a deeper understanding of myself, my need to look at issues with others’ viewpoints rather than insisting on my own way.
- Praise God for granting me a new insight into “the holiness of marriage”, to reveal the whole image of our holy, Triune God.
- I truly praise God for helping me gain a deeper and more wholesome understanding of the marriage relationship, sexual unity in a marriage (all based on the Truth) and our commitment in our marriage, leading to our marriage being committed to bring glory to God!
- The prayer my wife offered up to God for me while washing my feet reignited my passion for sharing the Gospel. The Lord taught me how to love my wife through the workshop, with the promise that if I give God first place in my life, He will show me how to love my wife & family, and through the harmonious life my family share in God, He will draw many more to Jesus Christ our Lord!
- Praise God for helping me really understand a husband and wife’s commitment to each other in a marriage, and together our marriage commitment in and to God. Both of us now know how to better play our role with His help.
- Praise God for revealing to us the problems in our marriage: lack of good healthy communication, and that we are to put our lives in the right order which is God first, spouse and family second, and only then ministry. We go home with a strong conviction that as we continuously seek God’s help and keep the priorities in our lives right, our marriage will bring joy to God and we will be successful in all areas of life.
- Praise God for teaching me about how very important respect is to men, and how to show respect to my husband so that he will be more confident in himself and feel valued.
- I felt very disappointed and lost in my marriage prior to this retreat. Praise God that there is obvious improvement following the workshop. I’m learning to appreciate the strength of my spouse and adapt to her ways, and praying that she will do likewise.
- Praise God for the privilege of being part of this workshop as singles, we feel through this we are better prepared and feel hopeful for our marriages when the time comes. God also graciously brought healings for past hurts and communication breakdown between co-workers, with genuine forgiveness one to another; indeed He makes all things new. All glory to Him!