In August 2018, a dream twenty years in the making came true when FamilyLife was officially launched in Ghana. Ralph and Christina Sutherland are volunteers with FamilyLife who had for years hoped and prayed to bring a Weekend to Remember® (WTR) to this West African country. They finally witnessed the fruit of that dream this past summer when Drew and Kit Coons traveled to Accra to conduct a Weekend to Remember, lead a HomeBuilders® training, and help facilitate the organization of an ongoing FamilyLife ministry.
The Weekend to Remember was organized similarly to a US event—a Friday through Sunday getaway in a hotel. However, African timing is known for being a bit more relaxed and flexible than American timing. Almost no conference attendees had arrived on Friday by the scheduled start time of 7:00 p.m. Undeterred, Drew and Kit began at about 7:15 telling jokes and stories to warm up the crowd. By the time they began delving into the WTR outline around 7:45, most of the guests had arrived.
The weekend was a great success. Cru National Director of Ghana, Stanley Yamoah, delivered a talk on the gospel and the ministry of the Holy Spirit while Drew and Kit delivered the rest of the WTR talks. The audience responded well and seemed eager for more.
The Coonses inserted into the WTR a sixty-minute HomeBuilders training and exercise on Saturday afternoon. The guests loved discussing and would not stop when break time was announced. All the discussion groups continued through the subsequent break time. Each couple received a locally printed HomeBuilders book, Resolving Conflict in Your Marriage, so that they could begin their own groups back home.
At the end of the WTR, Stanley Yamoah invited couples who were interested to remain behind for additional HomeBuilders training. Nearly everybody attending the WTR stayed for the training. Drew and Kit gave thirty more minutes of HomeBuilders training building on what they had covered earlier. Thirty couples signed up to lead HomeBuilders groups.
An additional vision-casting and organizational meeting for FamilyLife was held on Tuesday after the WTR. Eleven couples from the WTR attended. Stanley reported that 228 copies of the HomeBuilders study Resolving Conflict in Your Marriage were ordered by couples that wanted to start groups. Drew and Kit gave a brief FamilyLife training and allowed the Ghanaians to discuss their ideas for doing ministry. The conclusion was that all the couples would start HomeBuilders groups as soon as possible and that the HomeBuilders leaders would meet regularly for mutual encouragement and training.
Feedback from the WTR was very positive:
“This has been a big turnaround for our 22-year-old marriage. We both feel transformed and feel like we are beginning the journey afresh.”
“This has afforded us to re-evaluate our marriage relationship after 13 years and redirect it to God and to each other. The getaway from home has been excellent and really brought to the forefront the positives in each other that we gloss over and the differences that have made us better people.”
“Our kids are asking what happened to us. They say we are completely different.”
Glory to God for this answer to prayer, and may the ministry in Ghana continue to grow and spread throughout the country!