Thursday, June 29, 2006

Marriage and Family Teaching

Zambians are a peaceful people, our host explained. They do not fight each other or with outside nationalities; but death has a pervasive presence. Many families have four to ten children; often one or two have died, sometimes in an accident, often from disease. Many young women are widowed, children are orphaned. Grief is a constant companion.

One battlefront raging within that country, killing large segments of their inhabitants, is HIV/AIDS. Misinformation abounds about the ubiquitous enemy. Why is AIDS so prevalent in Africa? They asked us.

Without answers to that haunting question, we sought to arm them with information and inspiration to save their lives and their marriages. Their thankfulness humbled us. Their celebration of the Lord showered us with joy. Their great hunger for His Truth captivates our hearts.

We passed out cards near the beginning for them to submit anonymous questions about marriage. The variety of questions included many questions about HIV/AIDS and sex. Others: What can you advise a couple who found his partner in adultery? Why do pastors divorce their wives? How can the marriages be acquitted of traditions that are barriers? Why do men fail to say “sorry and please forgive me,” especially to their spouses? What can I do to make my marriage to be strong? … They have unique challenges due to traditions, low incomes, and the scourge of AIDS, but they also have the same kind of problems we do.

We should never presume that they cannot understand or absorb our message because of the difference in education, income, or exposure to modern ways. We have found that the African people are very intelligent, highly teachable, and have a thirst for knowing more of God’s Word and how to live it out.