Ministry Update: December 2020
Dear FamilyLife partners and friends,
At the beginning of each year, we ask the Lord to give us a word or a scripture verse, that He would like us to focus on for the year. The verse that he gave us this year was Nehemiah 8:10 “And do not be worried, for the joy of the Lord is your strength and your stronghold” Little did I know that we would have to hold on to it for dear life. I am sure you must be (like us) tired of hearing about Covid-19, but I must admit, it rocked my world and left both Russel and I paralyzed for a while. With our daughter Marielle and myself in the “at risk” category, the enormous task of constant sanitization, monitoring the ins and outs of my young adult son and supervising online classes with my 10 year old, got the better of us. For a while we just struggled through, doing as best we could, not really talking about it. But deep down inside, anxiety began to step in and manifested in chest pains, dizziness and shortness of breath (all of which are symptoms of Covid-19 by the way). We quickly realized however, that we needed to regroup and begin to focus on the faith that we profess. One of the things that really helped was a video series on RightNowmedia.com entitled “Fearless over Covid19”, It was so good at pointing us back to our true north, that I would like to summarize the key points.
I am Fearless over Covid-19:
Because of who I know - God is sovereign, there’s nothing outside of his control
Because of what I know - God never allows pain in my life without intending to use it for my good. God allows what He hates in order to accomplish what He loves
Because of who I am becoming - I am becoming aware of what’s precious & lasting over what is comfortable & fleeting
Because of what I am learning - I am learning that my emotions can fluctuate, but God’s word stays the same
It’s not by my strength, but by God’s goodness!
Ministry During Covid-19
Digital Strategies: Despite the dread of Covid19, there are many positives for our ministry. While we were already in the process of becoming more digital, we had no choice but to bring forward the timelines. Thank God for Cru Digital strategies Ministry, which hit the ground running, providing many tools for us to continue leading people to Christ, especially during this time, when many are in search of answers. We were also able to train persons in using the tools to share the gospel with friends and family.
Marriage Mentorship: Marriage mentoring engages couples who love Jesus and love families. They use their marriage stories to journey alongside other couples. Both couples grow as they spend dedicated time discussing common issues in their marriages. One of the results of the pandemic, is that couples are now on lockdown with each other. This close proximity that many were not used to, brought some relationship issues to the surface, as a result, the demand for mentorship increased. We were able to meet with several couples one on one, (ensuring proper safety protocols of course) and we continue to share our lives with them regularly.
Mentorship Training: We recently partnered with FamilyLife Canada and Dare to be Different organizations, to obtain Marriage Mentorship training programmes so that we can train more couples to become marriage mentors. We are excited about this partnership and look forward to engaging many more couples to invest their time in helping other couples.
The New Normal for FamilyLife
Covid-19 has caused us to have to pause and to reflect on a different way forward. Coming from a high activity environment, always co-ordinating another event, we had to grapple with feelings of not accomplishing objectives and being unproductive. We had to come to the realization that nothing is under our control except our own response. Thank God for us being a global organization we were able to lean on our North American branches who because of greater access to technical and human resources, were quickly able to convert to the online platform and launch digital resources, which we were able to “piggyback” on and offer to our local community. Two such platforms were:
• Home is not cancelled - https://www.familylife.com/notcanceled/marriage/
• Help & Hope @ Home - https://www.familylifecanada.com/live/
Here are some other events we participated in this year:
Summit on Step Family Ministry - October 01 - 02 - Attended by the FamilyLife Core team, this summit provided us with training on how to develop a ministry to Step families in our country. Step families make up a large portion of our communities and they have very unique challenges, as such this information was every relevant and timely and we look forward to implementing more strategies to minister to these types of families.
Marriage Night - October 3rd, 9th & 10th - In partnership with The Gathering Place and RightNow media we hosted this 3 part series. We encourage couples to make a date and invest some time in their marriage. We had between 60-90 couples in attendance for each session and the feedback indicated that it was life changing for many.
FamilyLife Latin America & Caribbean (LAC) Conference on Families - October 16-18. Three staff or volunteer couples from each country in the Latin America an Caribbean region were selected to attend a 3 day conference on families specific to this region. It was a wonderful time of fellowship and learning best practices to greater impact families. We were reminded of the importance of ensuring that the gospel message is incorporated in all our events so as to reach families with the love of Jesus.
On the Horizon - 2021
Weekend to Remember 2021 - We will be working on a virtual presentation of this event
Virtual Home Builders Groups - As a follow up to the Marriage Night, we will be launching virtual Home Builders Groups using FamilyLife and RightNow media content
Blended & Blessed 2021 - A virtual marriage seminar for step-families
Art of Parenting - Virtual small group sessions for parents
How can we Pray for you?
Is there something in your life you’d like us to pray for? We would be honored to lift your burdens in prayer to our High Priest who intercedes for us. No matter how deeply rooted or seemingly shallow your request may feel, it is not a bother to our Lord. In fact, He invites us to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). We commit to diligently pray for any requests emailed to us. Just send us a quick reply letting us know how we can pray for you. We serve a great God who sympathizes with us and hears us when we call upon Him. Click here: firstname.lastname@example.org
We love and appreciate you and your continued support and prayers for us and our Ministry.
Yours in Christ,
Russel & Joelle Aching
Team Leaders - FamilyLife-TT