After spending some time with the leaders of the Guyana and Suriname churches and hearing of their needs, a seed was planted. I started to dream of how the Caribbean Missions Society in Canada could help. We began planning a “Marriage Retreat” for the Guyana and Suriname churches, but as we held further discussions with many of the leaders of the smaller Caribbean islands, the need for helping their married ministry was accentuated. We became aware that many of the married disciples in the Caribbean never had the opportunity to attend a marriage retreat. As I prayed continually of how we, (CMS Canada), could help, God provided in a way we did not expect.
Not long after, my wife Clara and I were invited to join an eight-week marriage workshop entitled ‘Marriage on the Rock’ by David Jung, lead evangelist for the Winnipeg Church of Christ. As the weeks progressed, Clara and I started to have some discussions we did not anticipate. These discussions were helping us grow in our marriage, even after 35 years together.
As I continued to pray for the Caribbean, focusing on how we could help with limited resources, God answered our prayers. Having seen the impact from the marriage workshop myself, I approached David and he agreed to host ‘Marriage on the Rock’ for the Caribbean Churches at no cost!
With this good news, I embarked on the task of speaking with every leader in each English-speaking Caribbean country. Saying ‘yes’ to this invitation meant they would need to commit to attending the weekly sessions for eight weeks; do the required homework; and most importantly, have some deep discussions with their spouses, some of which we knew could be challenging.
We expected that we would have 75-100 couples registered for the workshop. Yet, our God always has bigger dreams than ‘we could ask or imagine.’ We had 476 people register, approximately 230 couples, from 12 Caribbean countries and 22 churches!
The Winnipeg church provided all the resources for the virtual workshop, which was hosted by David and Erica Jung, with the involvement of couples from the Winnipeg church. Each session consisted of an overview of the week’s topic; teaching of a communication tool; breakout sessions; video teaching; and sharing by a couple from the Winnipeg church.
Our biggest concern was the internet connections from the Caribbean. We weren’t sure if their connections would remain stable during the workshop each week. While there were some small hiccups, for the most part, God provided. The disciples continued to show up every week eager to listen, learn and receive the message that would help transform their marriages.
The response from our Caribbean brothers and sisters was overwhelming, and we received very encouraging feedback. Here are just a few of them:
“Thank you so much for hosting the Marriage on the Rock workshop. We really appreciate the focus on the Caribbean. Aside from the awesome lessons shared, it was a truly encouraging experience connecting with our brothers and sisters throughout the region in this way…”
“It is with much gratitude in our hearts that we express our deepest and sincere thanks to you for the hosting of the Marriage on the Rock workshop. This has been a time of renewal and refreshing, of helping and healing, of giving and growing…”
“Eight weeks flew so fast, we cannot believe that we have come to the end. Many lessons learned, much to talk about, much more to grow in. We really appreciated the vulnerable personal sharing of the Canadian couples, we learned a lot from them. We had great times as a couple doing our homework, learning and growing together. Meeting new couples each week and sharing vulnerably was the highlight for us…”
“Would never have imagined sitting in my living room and being part of a Marriage Workshop, meeting new and old friends all over the Caribbean. Just love the idea of the meeting rooms. God is awesome! He turns negatives into positives.”
To view more feedback and photos of couples who attended the workshop please click here: https://www.kudoboard.com/boards/O0WuQBAi
We could not foresee the magnitude of how God works. He answered our prayer and met the needs of our brothers and sisters in the Caribbean. We praise God for the marriages that have been built on the Rock and the lives that have been transformed by this workshop. To God be the glory! God is working in the Caribbean!