From This Day Forward Marriage Conference
From This Day Forward Marriage Seminar Attracts Sixty Arizona Couples
"I feel like they've been there - done that," said one participant who was admittedly hesitant at first to attend the one-day marriage and family seminar. "But the Olivers and Martins seem to have covered all the ground themselves, just like us. I didn't feel intimidated at all - and I left feeling like I could create a better marriage situation at home!"
Sixty couples attended From This Day Forward brought to Phoenix, Arizona by the Family Ministries of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America and was co-sponsored by the Pacific Union Conference and the Arizona Conference.
North American Family Ministries Director, Willie Oliver, and his wife, Elaine, are directors of the From This Day Forward marriage conferences and regular contributors to Message Magazine.
The Olivers were free to share from their own treasury of personal experiences. They have a son and a daughter who bring them great joy, which they were eager to express. But they also experience some of the "growing pains" associated with a typical family. The listeners felt quite at home with the Olivers as they verbally opened their home and shared intimate family dynamics.
With unusual candor and openness, Willie Oliver told of his personal struggle balancing work for the church and the personal needs of a loving relationship with his wife. With humor and good taste, Willie and Elaine recounted many stories of trial and triumph in their marriage. More than a clinical accounting, their life-sketch was warm, genuine and real!
Fairly new to the Family Ministries speaking circuit are Alan and Deirdre Martin of Celebration, Florida. Alan, a pastor, and Deirdre, a nurse, brought their daughter with them to the seminar. They, too, shared from personal experiences - even stories that had taken place since their arrival in Phoenix for the seminar. Generously illustrating the daily struggles all married couples face, they shared how a loving, Christ-centered relationship could bring peace and happiness out of conflict.
Quoting an unknown author, "Getting married is easy. Staying married is more difficult. Staying happily married for a lifetime would be considered among the fine arts!" The seminar covered topics like the joy of oneness, communication, problem solving, sexuality and forgiveness.
Tony Anobile, Executive Secretary and Family Ministries Director for the Arizona Conference attended with his wife, Lisa, and was excited about the excellent turnout from married couples throughout Arizona.
Anobile commented, "I strongly believe that from the beginning the devil has attacked the family and it is our desire to build strong families in Arizona to further God's kingdom. The effect of this seminar will be felt throughout the conference as sixty couples go home to implement what they have learned with their own churches and families."
He continued, "The reality is that with our busy schedules and quick lifestyle we need tools to help us strengthen the family unit. It was so good to see couples attending who have marriages ranging from just one month up to forty years - eager to learn new and refreshing skills for this important institution called marriage."
The Olivers and Martins challenged their audience to incorporate these four special goals into the seminar - and into their marriages. 1.Give it your all! 2.Work as a team. 3.Practice. 4.Pray daily for your relationship.
The Arizona Conference is excited about bringing such quality programs to their constituents and look forward to next year's event. For information, contact the Family Ministries Department at 480-991-6777 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Written by: Phil Draper, Communication Director, Arizona Conference of Seventh-day Adventists