Javier Muñoz, a pastor in Colombia, has seen the need for marriage ministry in his country. High divorce rates throughout Latin America have taken their toll on individual families and societies as a whole. Pastor Muñoz wondered what he could do to make a difference in Colombia. He decided to ask Roger and Laura Dye, American missionaries serving in Latin America, if they could come train a core group in his congregation to do marriage ministry.
“In order to ‘prime the pump,’ I had them (about five couples) watch the Art of Marriage® the week before we arrived,” says Roger. “This served to get them thinking about practical theological applications in marriage and family issues.”
During the training seminar, Los Principios Perdidos del Matrimonio (The Forgotten Fundamentals of Marriage), a woman named Caty shared her testimony with the group:”My mother never married my father, and he was gone before I was very old. Most of my friends were the same. There was this one weird girl in our school who always asked permission of her parents to go out. Most of us were rebellious, and life was chaos in our community. One day she invited me to her house. It was the first time I had ever seen a family with a mother and a father and children who obeyed. I wanted that! That is what drew me to Christ. That is why I am a Christian today.”
Caty now works with her husband in their church’s ministry in Bogota. They have chosen to use marriage ministry as a main tool for sharing the Gospel and planting the church. Pastor Muñoz is convinced that this is the best way for his congregation to build their own faith while reaching out to others.
“We desire to have strong, vibrant, edifying couples’ ministry because we are convinced it must be the central axis of our church, both to edify our members and to seek Kingdom growth,” says Pastor Muñoz.
The marriage training seminar was a success. “We have seen the hand of God using it in our own marriages and the marriages of our leaders and, God willing, we will bring it to the church and also provide programs to non-believers,” says Pastor Muñoz.
In working toward that goal, Pastor Muñoz provided the trained couples with opportunities to start doing marriage ministry in the cities of Bogota, Bucaramanga, and Cúcuta, with hopes to also spread the ministry to Bolivia and Argentina. Other churches have heard about the Art of Marriage material and are begging for someone to bring it to their congregations.
So far every church Pastor Muñoz has communicated with has received the establishment of family ministry with open arms. His goal is for his congregation to become a marriage and family equipping center within the next four years. We pray that God will do abundantly more than we ask or imagine in Colombia and beyond.