Thursday, February 09, 2012

February 2012 Letter - LIVING WELL

We are back from Zambia! We had a great trip and have hit the ground running! 

We spoke to seven different groups in eight days. As they have each time we have taught there, the people in Ndola responded with enthusiasm and attention.
  • After preaching at Glad Tidings Church, the church gave Ed a blazer and Donna a dress made from the elaborately printed fabrics of that country.
  • We were hoping for 50 to attend the women’s seminar, over 125 showed up!
  • At the first of two couple’s seminars, they filled up the space, leaving some to sit on children’s chairs.
  • We saw half of the 160 children of Wisdom Community School packed into two classrooms.
  • The plight of many single mothers became apparent at our first single parent’s seminar. We broke new territory in bringing together these vulnerable women.
Our website has more details/pictures about the trip to Zambia and our future plans. Our desire is to return to that area of Zambia at the end of May. Besides teaching our Pastoral Family Enrichment conference, we hope to minister to the Wisdom school, so that they may continue to teach children from the adjacent slum area.
We just finished teaching a retreat for the Caddo Baptist Association. We feel honored to be able to teach this retreat for the third year in a row. This year, we taught on the Character of Marriage (topics - commitment, compassion, courage, and contentment, see our marriage blog for those teachings).
At last year’s retreat, we noticed a couple that was really struggling - she cried most of the time, he was uninvolved and indifferent. Shortly after that weekend, this couple called us for an appointment. They started coming to see us every week, driving an hour each way, and spending an hour with us. They committed to us and each other to work on their marriage. They came to their appointments faithfully and did their homework each week. The tears began to turn to smiles. Dissatisfaction turned to delight. Their friends tell us that they seem happier now than they ever have in their marriage. When talking to them after this year’s seminar, he compared the difference - “Last year, I couldn’t wait to get out of here when it was over; this year it is like you said in the last session, we are contented.” God still does miracles!
Our pastor asked us to head a team to strengthen families through focusing on marriage and parenting. Last Friday, we launched the Marriage and Family Ministry with an event to celebrate marriage - Together Forever. We had 100 couples attend. We honored long-time marriages, encouraged young marriages, and hoped to inspire all. God has given us a great team; we can hardly wait to see what God is going to do in lives as we develop a comprehensive marriage and parenting ministry.
As a step in that ministry, we are teaching a marriage class at our church beginning February 12, 5-6:30. The class is open to couples who are married, engaged, or “seriously dating.” [for more information]
Valentine’s Day is all about love.
Victor Hugo, author of Les Misérables, wrote, "Life's greatest happiness is to be convinced we are loved."
We agree but another person is not capable of convincing us, only God can. God says to us “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.” (Jeremiah 31:3) “...nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:39)
You are a valuable part of our ministry! We love and appreciate you and your support of what God is doing! He has a lot in store for us in 2012!
Our love in Christ,
Donna and Ed Edwards