By Jayna Richardson
When Paola Jairala received Christ in 2005, she began hoping and praying that her husband would have the same experience. She didn’t have to wait long—one month later, Javico met the Lord as well.
“We both thought that everything was going to change and that we would be happy forever!” says Paola. But they continued to face difficulties in their marriage, just as they had prior to their conversion. Now they were following Jesus, but they didn’t have tools to help them thrive in their marriage—until they learned about FamilyLife.
Through meeting FamilyLife volunteers (now staff) Eduardo and Diana Rivadeneira, the Jairalas began to experience FamilyLife’s events and small groups for the first time. They listened as the Rivadeneiras shared their own testimony and pointed Javico and Paola to resources that had helped in their marriage.
“We got to know this beautiful FamilyLife ministry in which we were able to learn to improve our communication as a couple and to heal what was damaged in us,” says Paola.
Over time God’s Word convicted them of the things they needed to correct in their marriage to have the kind of relationship God intended. As they saw their marriage improve, they wanted to find a way to carry what they’d learned to others. They attended a FamilyLife training and began ministering throughout Fort Pierce, Florida, to other Spanish speakers (the Jairalas are originally from Ecuador) using tools such as The Art of Marriage®, The Art of Parenting®, and HomeBuilders®.
Although they’ve ministered to many individuals over the years, one stands out: their niece, Cristina. A few years ago, the Jairalas invited Cristina to come live with them and attend school in the US. She saw a difference in their marriage and saw the ways they were reaching and serving others with the help and hope of the gospel. Thanks to this, Cristina gave her life to Christ, too.
After graduating, Cristina won a scholarship to Germany, where she met Maximilian Hars. When they began dating, she told him that the most important person in her life was God. Cristina wanted to have the kind of relationship she had seen in her aunt and uncle. She and Max began praying together regularly.
“We’ve had many, many blessings due to that,” says Cristina. “We’ve really felt that God was with us, giving us guidance for our future.”
Cristina and Max got married on a beautiful boat in Miami. The wedding was a celebration of everything God had done—first in Paola and Javico’s lives, and now in Cristina and Max’s lives.
Regarding FamilyLife’s influence, Cristina says, “FamilyLife has helped my family through rough years, and that led me to find a way to connect with God and have a deep relationship with Him. And now, it’s helped us in our home.”
Two couples, two stories, one great God at work!