Dear Ministry Partners, Family, and Friends,
We’re not sure if it’s the case where you are, but here in Texas it seems as if summer is already here! Man! Christmas wasn’t that long ago was it?! At this rate, we’ll be having a turkey dinner next week! This spring was such a busy, yet rewarding season for us. We can’t compile all the details here (I guess we could and make it a mini-series) but we will give it our best to give you the best detailed summarized update we can.
We just finished a ReUnite Weekend in Junction. We had 10 couples attend, all at different stages of marriage (engaged all the way to 20+ years), different involvement in the military (active and retired), and even some had different marriages than when we first met or they came to ReUnite before.
One couple, Jason and Christine, had been to a ReUnite Weekend before not on good terms and asked to meet with us on a weekly basis coming out of the Weekend. A couple of months went by and we’d see improvement, effort, God’s blessings, but then followed by selfishness, hardness, and callousness. Finally, one day they came to us and said they were getting divorced. We fought pretty hard with them that night. We ended with challenging them of course, but said we could no longer support them due to not having any biblical grounds for their divorce. We would support them through some sort of temporary separation, but that was it. We didn’t hear from them for months and just assumed they had gone through with their divorce. As this ReUnite Weekend approached, Jason reached out to Adam seeing if there was a spot available for them to attend. To Adam’s shock and amazement, they had not gotten divorced and were actually doing better than ever! Apparently, both of them realized their lack of dependence on God and their selfish motives. Asked each other for forgiveness and are trying to make changes to how they treat one another. They came to this last ReUnite Weekend a completely different couple! At the bonfire Saturday night, they thanked Laura and I for not supporting them in their divorce. She could still hear us saying, “if you file this divorce, you’re not giving him a chance to change.” God did an amazing work in their lives!!
Many of the other couples there had great things to share and say in their evaluations. We want to pass along some of them to you. It is because of your partnership in ministry which gives us the opportunity to walk alongside these couples. Your faithful financial support, timely prayers, and encouragement enable us to keep our head in the fight. While these comments may be directed to us, they are meant for y’all as well…
“I had accepted Jesus when I was 9, but have since drifted FAR; would love help on this road. Coming into the ReUnite Weekend, I would rate our marriage a 4 out of 10. Leaving, we are a strong 8. The one thing I will remember about the Weekend is being able to confess and forgive has changed our marriage and myself. The effect of the Weekend has definitely brought us closer and enabled us to be more transparent.” (Army wife)
“Coming into the ReUnite Weekend, I would rate our marriage a 4 out of 10. Leaving at a 9, the thing I will remember the most is that I need to put the needs of my spouse before my own, she is not the enemy, and bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh. This Weekend has helped us learn to resolve problems between each other and how to love each other in a new way.” (Active soldier, spouse above)
“Coming into the Weekend, our marriage was a 4 out of 10. Praise the Lord for this weekend., we are now at a 9! We were at a serious disconnect and just going through the motions…this weekend sparked and urged our interacting and helped us connect again!!! (Army wife)
Still on the ReUnite Weekend, we closed the Weekend with a short talk on legacy. In an effort to put a solid bookend to the Weekend, we had previously gathered a number of large rocks (the size of large plates). We asked the couples to chose a rock, get alone together, and if there was a theme or verse or word to summarize the Weekend, to write those themes, verses, or words on the rock with the provided Sharpie pen. We then gave the couples about 15-20 minutes to design their rocks.
As we could see couples finishing, we asked them to gather in the front yard. Sharing from Joshua, we talked about the significance of making a pile of rocks (Joshua 4) along with other Old Testament examples, we asked the couples to pile their rocks in the grass. After all the Pintrest shots were taken, everyone stood back for a moment. While most of these soldiers were deployed, they were used to seeing piles of rocks. When on patrol, a pile of rocks may mean there is an IED there. It may signify a soldier being killed there. It may identify a directional instruction of where to turn from harm. All of these negative emotions and connotations to something God instituted for His people to remember what He had done. We did our best effort to redeem that pile of rocks for these couples. This pile was signifying what He did in each of their lives and as a couple that weekend. We asked the couples to take their rocks home and set the rock in a prominent place. So when their kids saw the rock, they might ask what it means, and they’d have the opportunity to share what God did (much like Joshua 4).
The Weekend wasn’t without it’s share of humor and pain though. We had the opportunity to take Alexis and her friend Sydney with us. They stayed in a log cabin down the road a bit, but had their own 4-wheeler to cruise around the property with. On Saturday, while the whole group went on a long ATV ride up the hills and down the valleys, Adam was helping stage kayaks when one of the property owners came rushing up to him saying Alexis has been hurt.
While on her 4-wheeler, coming down the steep, rock infested hill, she had lost control of her ATV and rolled several times before she finally let go of the ATV. She was severely bruised, scraped, swollen, and scared. We needed to take her to the ER to make sure nothing was broken, no internal bleeding, and also because of her head injury. The guys around her at the time of the accident said they saw her under the ATV twice as it crushed her into the rocks. One of the guys, heard her sliding on the rocks just before she rolled and slammed on his brakes in hopes she would just run into him, but Alexis said later, she was scared of pushing him off the hill so she tried to steer clear of him. In the end, she of course had a concussion, lots of scrapes and bruises, a really cool black eye, and a great story to share.
The ultimate laughter came as Sydney (a freshman in high school), asked if she could lead the intimacy talk with me. Her parents are great friends of ours and were there to witness it. She sat beside me and I tried to set her up as impromptu and quickly as I could. She then with great confidence and boldness said, “You should be making love 2-3 times a week. If you’re not, then you have some communication issues and you’d best resolve those before going back into the bedroom.” The place erupted in laughter! Her parent’s faces were shocked. Laura and I didn’t really have much else to share (not really). After the laughter died down and her dad and mom caught their breath, the couples asked where she learned to talk like that. Her response, “well, we just finished a 6-week topic at church on sex and that was about the summary of it.” Once again, laughter erupted.