India Update #3

2016 01 13 1

Something happened on day two of our conference. I've seen it before. But never quite this profoundly.

Our ministry couples all chose to engage with the material on a much more personal level than on day one. It's not that they were unresponsive the day before; they just weren't all in.

"The Most" is subtitled "The Five Conversations Most Couples Most Need to Have." It's definitely tilted much more toward process than content, though each session includes plenty of Scripture. The teaching time is designed to set each couple up for an honest discussion as they answer a specific question about their marriage.

I knew there would be some resistance to this level of openness in South Asia. A few comments and a lot of nonverbal cues said, "This is not our way, Pastor Phil. You Americans speak freely about your marriages, but we do not." They weren't rebellious about it—more just politely going through the motions because I'm in a position of authority, and they respect and trust me.

During couple time, few husbands and wives touched each other. And some of the guys actually started talking to each other rather than their wives! Sathyabal firmly teased them about this and they awkwardly laughed like school kids whose teacher had caught them passing notes.

But all that changed on day two. Couples chose to honor each other by giving each other their full focus. The women especially seemed to blossom as their husbands opened up on a whole new level and created a safe environment for their wives to do the same.

There's not much emphasis on family-work balance in this part of the world. And even in ministry, many wives end up getting their husband's emotional leftovers.

So what caused this breakthrough?

  • A good night's sleep after several days of grueling travel?
  • Well designed material that started with a couple easy topics on day one to break down walls?
  • High transparency from Ellen and me as we openly shared positive and negative experiences from our 36 years of marriage?

Maybe a little of all three. But the dramatic change we witnessed can't be explained even by the combined impact of all those factors.

What we witnessed was supernatural. God opened their hearts...to His Word and to each other.

And that kind of change only happens as the result of prayer. Lots of prayer. Your prayers for us from wherever you are in the world. Before our 25 South Asian leadership couples responded, God responded. And I saw the unmistakeable transformation with my own eyes and heard it with my own ears.

So thank you. Ellen and I are enjoying the holy privilege of helping couples give birth to fresh commitments, rekindled passion, and clearer priorities. We may be the ones here to witness the delivery, but it is your prayers that set the labor in motion.

So rest well tonight, and whatever you do, don't stop praying now because the best is yet to come!


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Cindy C 13.01.2017 16:55  
Praise the LORD Yes No   Such exciting news --thank you for being vulnerable with the people of India and for sharing this miracle!  
 
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