Enriching Christian marriage and family life

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Christian Marriage and Family Life training is supported by SIM Malawi project #MW96654 HOPE for AIDS Prevention Programme

Help in living a godly life, advice on how faithfulness can assist in defeating HIV/AIDS, advice on how to bring children up in a loving and faithful family are just some of the areas covered in the Christian Marriage and Family Life training course which is having a significantly positive impact on the Africa Evangelical Church

Once the romance starts to fade and the excitement of the wedding day is but a distant memory, married life and raising a family become hard work. So often, couples are left to flounder on their own and this, regrettably, can lead to marriages breaking down. Couples in the Africa Evangelical Church (AEC), however, are  benefiting from a training programme which is being rolled out across its Area Councils.

“The Christian Marriage and Family Life programme is there to help church members, especially couples, to get a better understanding of the foundation of marriage. The aim is to make sure they lead a godly life within the family, and to cover the issue of HIV and AIDS. The hope is that, at the end of the day, the Church will become stronger, with people who are living a godly life within their families and, at the same time, making sure we cut the incidence of HIV and AIDS,” said Revd Wadi Chamambala, AEC Pastor and one of the main facilitators of the course.

Working together: A group session at the Enriching Marriage and Family Life workshop

The course, which falls under SIM Malawi’s HOPE for AIDS ‘Prevention’ work, was originally designed to help combat the spread of the HIV/AIDS epidemic that was sweeping across Malawi. One of its core teachings is how couples should live in a faithful relationship within marriage.

“The programme was designed mainly looking at the problems of HIV we have in Malawi and at how many families have been affected through the loss of parents, leaving many children as orphans,” said Revd Chamambala.

Prayer Points

Please pray for:

The participants, that the take the training seriously and put it into practice, and for wisdom on how they share the information and the skills that they have learned

The facilitators, that they continue to do the great work they have started. Pray for strength for them and wisdom to cope with the nature of the training. We have Pastor Milanzi taking some sessions, the       Khanyanga family, Revd Chamambala and sometimes we use other people as well

The AEC, that they keep on encouraging the counsellors to do their work and, hopefully, we will have a Church that is strong, becausethis occurs when families are strong and marriages are strong

“This programme has come in to bring awareness to the families of HIV and AIDS and to see how best they can protect themselves from contracting the virus. This programme also aims at making sure that when the family gets an understanding of how God intended a marriage to be, that means that they will be faithful to each other and, in the course of being faithful to each other, they will protect each other from contracting the HIV and AIDS.”

The course has been rolled out in the Northern Region of the country as well as with Area Councils in Lilongwe, Blantyre, Bangula and Nsanje. Local churches nominate couples who are seen in the congregations as ‘exemplars’ in terms of Christian marriage. They are then invited to join the week-long training within their Area Council.

The training is more than just giving these couples more information about how to live a godly life. A significant element of the programme is to train them how to be counsellors who can be used back in their home congregations.

“Over the week, we look at a number of topics, such as the foundation of marriage as God intended. So, we take the participants through how God started marriage in the beginning and how He intended it to be,” said Revd Chamambala.

The team: Delegates and leaders who took part in the week-long training

“We look also at the role of the husband and that of the wife, and how they relate to each other. Looking at the husband as the head just as Christ is the Head of the Church, so not looking down on the wife but making sure they are taking their roles as the Bible is teaching us.

“Besides that, we also have some areas where we look at counselling; we expect these couples to be counsellors in their respective churches. They get to understand how to help new couples start their married life, so pre-marriage counselling is also part of that. We also look at areas of sexuality, making sure they don’t starve each other in their home, leading some into the temptation of looking at other men or women. So, there are a number of issues we tackle during these sessions relating to the marriage.”

The training is carried out by four main facilitators, Revd Chamambala, Revd Boniface Milanzi, AEC’s Children’s Co-ordinator, and Lloyd and Rhoda Khanyanga from Family Life and AIDS Education in Malawi – FLAEM. Once the last few Area Council trainings have been completed, follow-up training will be carried out with those who went through the original programme. These will be both to see how the original participants have been able to make use of the training, and what benefit it has had on their local congregation and community.

“We do not train people for them to just sit down and relax. This is for them to help their communities understand the crisis that we have in HIV and AIDS and to bring hope to them through these trainings. We would really love to see these couples doing something in their communities,” said Revd Chamambala.

“We also hope and pray that the AEC will encourage the counsellors to do their work so we will have a Church that is strong, because when families are strong, marriages are strong, and we have a strong Church.”

 

Women’s voices: Women’s voices were heard from both facilitators and delegates