Recently my wife and I, along with another couple from our team who resides in the states, went out to dinner with Lorena and Antonio Mejía, our team members who reside on our Salvadoran campus. The conversation started with the two visiting couples, each married over 11 years, speaking about the sacrifices and successes of working in ministry and the challenge to maintain a healthy marriage. Our newly married co-laborers were soon in tears; they thought they had been failing because they found marriage to be a challenge. After hearing us share about our own challenges and how we have overcome through patience and prayer, they both proclaimed that they felt a great sense of peace because they learned that what they were experiencing was normal.
The Mejías story
Lorena and Antonio were both single and serving in their local church when we met them. Over the course of two years, they got engaged and felt the Lord calling them to work directly with us as cooperatives. The newlyweds joined our efforts to serve the many youth in the surrounding communities, who were hungry for the Word of God but had no one to teach them. For the last 3 years, we have built up Lorena and Antonio through biblical education and music training, and the youth have benefited from their service. Youth have been walking to campus to visit with the Mejías because they have found support and love in this couple’s devotion to God and service to their neighbor.
Supporting each other in marriage
Newlyweds with a baby, working full time ministry is challenging. Having other couples to truthfully share your challenges with is important in maintaining a healthy marriage. Verbalizing your struggles and thoughts exposes them to the light and allows others to speak words of truth into your moment, and most importantly, pray with you. The writer encourages the Thessalonian community, “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing” (1 Thess. 5:11). The writer is telling the community in context that they are responsible for keeping one another ‘awake’ and in the ‘light’ so that they are not succumb to darkness. When we can share about our struggles with one another and encourage one another we can find healing.
We found that we all were struggling with similar challenges of being married, being parents and experiencing the pressure of serving others needs above our own. Realizing our experiences were similar not only alleviated stress, but it allowed for us all to testify to God’s work in our lives. My wife and I do our best to focus on the needs of others, just like Lorena and Antonio. Struggles arise, yes, but God supplies our every need for strength and sanity so we can move forward honestly and continually find healing through forgiveness.