When I speak at Weekend to Remember® marriage getaways, I’m always amazed at how I see God working.
Take just one weekend, in St. Augustine, Florida. The marriage retreat was a first-class event for over 750 people, thanks to the great work by our staff team and by the local volunteer team. The Weekend to Remember marriage retreat is a powerful tool that is impacting a lot of couples—not only changing lives but also raising interest in people engaging in the battle for families. Here are just a few of the stories I heard at the marriage retreat:
The marriage retreats in the Jacksonville area really owe their growth to Charles and Harriett Moseley. They came to a Weekend to Remember in 1993 and signed up to volunteer and help promote the getaway in the future; for a dozen years they’ve given leadership to the Jacksonville volunteer team. They’ve also sent two children to a getaway when they were married, and one of their adult children has been a group coordinator for five years. Over 5,600 people have been impacted in the past 12 years because the Moseleys cared enough to give their lives on behalf of godly marriages, families, and legacies.
John and his wife, Christine, came to the Weekend to Remember nine years ago on the brink of divorce. Their marriage was not only put back together but they also went back and started a HomeBuilders Couples Series® group with one other couple. Today they have eight groups going with over 88 people. And John has now volunteered at more than a dozen getaways and serves on the city ministry team in Del Ray Beach, Florida. Do you think he believes in the work of God through this ministry? He sells home security for a living and secures homes through his work with the Weekend to Remember.On Saturday afternoon I met a couple in their thirties, Suzette and Eduardo, as I was coming back from lunch. First-time attendees, they had heard about our new Art of Marriage video event on FamilyLife Today radio. They hosted it in their church, and 250 couples came. Now they were attending a Weekend to Remember to see what all this was about.
Returning to my room on Saturday night, I ran into a doctor and his wife. They told me she had cancer and their marriage had been a struggle, but now, after only a day at their first Weekend to Remember, they were evaluating how they could be used by God to impact others. He was having a difficult time believing God could use him. I wish you could have seen his wife beaming as she expressed her respect for her husband and her belief that God could use him. I prayed with them and asked God to give them a great ministry; I believe they’ll have a profound impact in the years to come.
I’ll bet more than 100 men took home my new book, Stepping Up: A Call to Biblical Manhood. I saw many who were already reading it. And several were taking it back home to read with their sons. One man had me sign a book to him, his son, and his stepson. All three are going to read it and then go through it together.
A half dozen moms came up and said a hearty “Thank you” for Passport2Purity®, a resource for parents to teach their pre-teens about sex, peer pressure, and other issues they’ll face during their teen years. One couple had me sign a copy of Stepping Up for their son, who’d been thru Passport2Purity five years ago.
I met a man who said he and his wife do devotions every day with Moments Together for Couples. He said this was a turning point in their marriage.
On Sunday morning, I was encouraged when nearly 90 percent of the men stood at the end of the men’s sessions and dedicated their lives, marriages, and families to Christ. Afterward, I talked to three young men whose fathers had deserted them. They were now fathers themselves and were clueless, but each of them asked how they could find a mentor. I believe there are tens of thousands of these men who’d love to have a life coach. We need to ask the Lord of the harvest to raise up a wave of men who will step up and mentor them!
At the end of the getaway we gave people the opportunity to share how the experience had changed them. Man after man stood up and stated that his action point from the conference was to surrender to Christ and make Him the builder of their home. It’s powerful when men commit to be God’s man. One dad of six sons stood up to say he’d made the commitment to pray with his wife and wanted Jesus Christ to be the builder of his family. He said he was going to meet with all six of his sons and tell them that Jesus Christ was now His master and that he was going to be a better father.
Afterward I found myself jammed into an elevator with several other couples. I saw that buttons for all nine floors had been pushed, so I said, “You didn’t think you could get on this elevator with me without sharing the action points you wrote down, did you?” They all smiled and I called on one guy before the doors opened for the second floor. He said, “I’ve made Christ the builder of my home and decided to accept my wife as a gift from God.”
As we moved on to the third floor, another guy said, “I am going to pray with my wife!” A few more got out. More men kept sharing, floor after floor. At the seventh floor a man got out and held the elevator door open as he announced, “I’m 48 years old and this has been the most life-changing weekend of my entire life!”
I got off on the ninth floor, shaking my head and marveling at just a little of what God was up to in more than 750 lives. For many, the weekend was the first step in a radical new direction for their lives. And for many others, the getaway was a time for committing their lives to be HomeBuilders—to grab a tool, change a home, and change the world.
What a privilege to be used by Him to help reach families!
Copyright © 2011 by FamilyLife. All rights reserved.