Our first Rwandan marriage seminar was in Ruhanga (West of the Kigali capital) led by Archbishop Emmanuel & Freida #Kolini. The turnout by enthusiastic couples was most encouraging. Those teaching on marriage, men, and family included Rev Christopher Caudle of New Covenant Church in Florida, the Kolinis, Janice P Hird, and myself. The Hirds taught on marriage (based on our new book For Better, For Worse).
Rev Dr Canon Tim Smith of Christ Church in Mobile Alabama had given a Men’s Workshop there the day before. Tim+ leads the “Men in the Mirror” ministry, which strengthens men in their call to be godly loving husbands and fathers.
We had previously in May 2018 taught a marriage seminar in Ruhanga, organized by the Archdeacon, Canon Mugenzi Marcel. As the previous Anglican church building had been closed a month ago pending required upgrades, we met alternatively in a neighbouring Mugera Anglican Church building that we were driven to along a hilly bumpy road. Janice and I taught yesterday from Ephesians 4:17-19 on “Transforming our Hardened Hearts in Marriage”. Spouses can easily get hearts of stone through unforgiveness to their spouses’ insensitivity to their marital needs. We taught how radical forgiveness of our often clueless spouses can revolutionize a marriage, making our marriage into a powerful witness of Christ’s transforming love to our neighbours. Janice is such an engaging story-teller, similar to her 95-year old pastor father, Rev David Cline. Janice shared about forgiving her parents, particularly for their not being there through workaholism in their busy church work. In many cultures, women feel rejected and unloved because of their gender. Generational forgiveness of one’s parents helps remove the bitterness and resentment (hard heart) that often cripples current marriage relationships. I have a generational propensity towards unforgiveness, hard hearts, bitterness, and resulting emotional cutoff from family of origin and spouse. I have not always handled conflict well, sometimes being a conflict avoider, sometimes too defensive, sometimes not gentle enough. Perhaps you and your family have similar challenges.
Do you need to forgive your parents for favouring your brother? Are you willing to forgive your spouse for the many ways that he/she has disappointed you, often unintentionally. As Rev Chris Caudle reminded us, you can only forgive in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Click to view some photos of the marriage seminar, and yet more photos.
Click to hear the beautiful singing by the Ruhangan marriage delegates