Marriage should be honored by all...
Carlos paced nervously in circles around the ever so crowded auditorium. As I drew near and placed my hand on his shoulder to let him know that it was time to start the ceremony, he breathed a deep sigh of relief. Just then, he looked at me and said, "Pastor, remind me what I'm supposed to say again!?" With a laugh I smiled and said, "Brother, just say 'I do'!" as the wedding music began to play.
Although I have officiated other weddings here, this one was special. You see, this was a wedding of redemption. Yes, unfortunately the majority of the culture here has completely forgotten what it means to HONOR MARRIAGE. As a matter of fact, people have seen and grown up in homes with such deep marital dishonor (adultery, etc.) that they have lost all belief in it. For this reason, marriage is often seen in a negative fashion or simply as a legal hassle that isn't really worth it.
As missionaries, our job is not to simply accept the sad reality of the world. YES, God loves us even in the midst of our sins, but he never intended for us to STAY there! We have systematically been teaching about the value of honoring and fighting for marriage and family over the last few years.
So here comes the story of Carlos and Maribel Yanc.
They came to our church in 2015 through an invitation of a co-worker. Actually, Maribel came first because she had grown up in church but fallen away from God. When she invited Carlos, he swore he would never step foot in the church! However, after 8 months of prayer, he gave his life to Christ and was the first person baptized in our 2016 baptism service. This couple have been growing in great ways in Christ and are both teaching in our youth and children's ministry. About 8 months ago, Carlos expressed to me that he wanted to get married, since he realized they weren't honoring God or each other by living together. They began the paperwork, which was backlogged for months due to a filing issue. Then in April during our prayer service he stood up and said boldly, "I DECLARE IN FAITH THAT I WILL BE MARRIED BY THE END OF MAY!"
The paperwork came through and on May 30th we celebrated their wedding!
Many of the leaders of the church helped organize it and it was a great witness to their friends and family from the community! Praise God for this couple!
So what else is new? Last month I wrote about two financial needs to pray about:
One was for the funds to fix our beat up ministry van after an accident left it pretty sad looking. God has provided $2,500 dollars to repair this! We want to send a special "thank you" to Grace Church for this generous offering.
The second request is for our training trip to Columbia. Because there are so many other families out there like Carlos and Maribel, we realized last year that we need to reach them effectively. After a year of prayer, we connected with Family Foundations International, a ministry that is focused on helping churches implement the proper tools to create a culture of blessing in the family. We have already implemented these retreats and tools in our church this year, and they have brough about lots of fruit! For this reason, we are traveling on July 1st to Bogota, Columbia for 15 days of intensive training, and YES, we are going as a family! We still need about $3,500 to cover the expenses of this important training and would love it if you would consider being part of this.
Thank you so much for your continued prayer and financial support. Thank you for being a part of God's team here in Peru!
Blessings in Christ, The Wollbrink Family