Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Transformed Marriages Impact Entire Community In China

Over the past few years Open Doors has facilitated Marriage Enrichment Seminars or “Couples Camps” in China.Today-as China opens up to new ideas, materialism and Western influences-the divorce rate is soaring. Church leaders face intense pressure on their marriages and families when they spend time traveling to far-away house churches to preach or are locked up in prison for long stretches.Open Doors is not only committed to training of leaders and house church members in the Word, but also supporting their families and marriages. As a result, Open Doors will conduct even more marriage and family conferences. Open Doors is praying that the Lord will continue to use these conferences to transform and heal marriages, families and, sometimes, even an entire house church network.The following is the testimony of a pastor from central China following a marriage course he conducted.“We had just completed the marriage course for 60 couples in our community. These couples became interested in the course after they had seen the transformation of marriages in our church. Many of them previously thought that the church only talked about heaven, hell and earth, but when they saw how loving the couples in our church had become, they too wanted to learn the “secret” to a happy marriage. I told them there was no secret, just teachings from the Bible. They were amazed."At the end of the course, we organized a wedding ceremony. The couples invited all their relatives to come and witness the ceremony. Many of these relatives were divorced and were very concerned about the couples’ deteriorating marriages, so they all came.“I have never seen such a scene: extended family members surrounding each couple who had been on the verge of a breakup but now were restored; everybody supporting the couples was in tears and singing praises; children were talking to their parents again; grandparents were giving their blessing; whole families were coming together. It simply turned the entire community around.“The ceremony was a simple one – usually just a flower given to express one’s love after exchanging their vows. Then bowing three times to their guests (as a form of honoring them). In the West, this might be a time for renewing marriage vows but for these Chinese couples, it was the first time they had something official like this as there is no practice or culture of exchanging marriage vows in Communist China.“Then came the picture-taking. Everybody loves to take pictures. Many churches have a whole wall filled with the photographs of the couples who have gone through the marriage course and wedding ceremony. Curious neighbors would wonder what’s happening inside and enter to look at the photographs and ask questions.“One man had a DVD made of his exchange of vows. Apart from showing it to his family and friends, he would also pull anybody that was passing by on the street into his house and make them watch! He simply couldn’t contain his excitement over how the marriage course had renewed his marriage; he just wanted everyone else to share it, too.”
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As in the days of Noah.....

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