November 26, 2018 4 min to read

“Now we have love, love, love.”

Category : Testimony

Madelle Payne, Advancement Facilitator

In our home there hangs a batik art piece that describes the essence of family, applicable around the world. Surrounding a picture of parents and children, the border reads: “The family is where character is formed, values are learned. Family unity is the basis upon which the world’s civilization advances. In a family one can find comfort in grief, joy in being together and encouragement in daily life. In a family one learns of happiness, sadness, laughter, tears, kindness, courtesy and unity. Children, parents and grandparents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins—the family is the basic foundation of the world.”

Those are wonderful, inspiring words. In this view, families are built on love. But what if one’s family brings pain instead of joy and comfort? Certainly many heartrending situations can be found around the world. Maybe it has always been so, but perhaps the degree of family dysfunction is increasing in our time.

We are familiar with the factors that produce pain instead of pleasure in families: self-absorbed lifestyles, drug or alcohol abuse, parents who lacked parenting themselves, divorce, selfishness, crushing poverty and a worldview that devalues or oppresses people—especially women. In many places these attitudes and situations are deeply enculturated. How ever does one go about making a change for the better?

Medical Ambassadors is built on the premise that people can change. Our vision statement says,

MAI envisions a world of thriving communities where people [we could say “families”] experience reconciliation of broken relationships, restoration of hope and health, and dignity through following Jesus.”

Bit by bit, in many countries, we have seen this dream come true. We cannot claim the process is easy. Change always comes hard. But when God’s truths are heard and embraced, people begin to long for a better way than their parents or their culture gave them. Let me tell you a few stories.

In Ethiopia when MAI’s curriculum called “A Woman’s Cycle of Life” was first presented, women learned about the value of each person in God’s sight. They learned about women’s health issues—from child-bearing to menopause to personal hygiene. Relational issues such as kindness, forgiveness and gossip were addressed, using the lives of women in the Bible. Lessons tackled gender inequality from the perspective that we are all created by God with great value. This was astonishingly good news!

One woman reported, “The lessons on personal hygiene changed my life and my family’s. We thought soap was only for washing clothes. Now, even when water is scarce, we wash our hands and bodies. We’re amazed at how much less sickness we experience!”

A husband commented, “I’ve seen such a huge change in my wife since we had the training from MAI. Our relationship and our home has changed too. I have such respect for her now, and that is not something you see in our culture. She teaches other women about God’s view of them from the Bible—that God sees them as having great worth. She’s a model for our town and to the other women.”

In many parts of the world, our marriage seminars offer biblical teaching about the need for love, nurture and good communication in relationships. They teach parents to lovingly instruct and correct their children, instead of screaming insults when they misbehave. Christian men in Ethiopia wept when they were shown the Bible’s instructions on how to love their wives—as their own bodies. Several commented, “We said we love Jesus and want to obey His word, but we’ve never known about these teachings. In our families we’ve just followed what our culture taught us…and we’ve been wrong!” Several knelt before their wives in public, asking forgiveness for harsh words and actions, bitterness or unresolved anger. Months later their relationships continued to show great improvement.

In the Philippines the Community Health Evangelists offer “Mom’s Clubs” and “Dad’s Clubs” as a safe place to learn new things about God’s plan for families and to talk about the realities of bringing about change. One woman told us, “We’ve seen many changes since Community Health Evangelism came to our village, but the biggest change has been in my family. My hard-drinking husband gave his life to Jesus and was healed from his alcoholism after he joined the Dad’s Club. There he learned about God’s plan for a man to be the leader and helper for his family. We used to have pain in our family all the time because of his actions…”

…and as her fingertips closed and she touched them together several times, she finished,

“but now we have love, love, love!”

 


If you are interested in continuing these changes happening with husbands, wives, and their families, would you please consider giving a gift today? Donate Now

 

Read next article: It Should Come from Within Us

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