Marriage – is a wedding Biblical?
As I was sitting with a married couple one day, helping them resolve some long standing conflicts, I asked the man, “How long from the time you saw this woman and thought that she was the girl you wanted for your wife, until the time you got married?” He looked at me blankly.
It must be the language, I thought. “How long does a man get to know a girl before they decide to marry?… How many months?” Again the look of confusion. Then suddenly, “Ah, yes! A man can find his woman and bring her home to stay with him that same day!”
After a few gulps I prod further, “So you find a woman and take her to your home – and then are you married?” With pleasure beaming, he nodded heartily, looking happily at his proud wife.
So I ask you, is this sin? If a culture is fully convinced of this method is it sin for them to live according to it? What should we teach and counsel to our converts? What scriptures support our idea of a Western traditional marriage ceremony?
This has come home to us forcefully this last week.
One of our young Jesus followers found a woman he was intending to marry. He talked to her parents, his parents, fixed a bride price of so many cows, and they began making plans. One day, walking home from work together, the rains started coming so they quickly went into the man’s house. It just kept raining and night was coming and the girl’s home was another hour’s walk. They lingered. He persuaded her to stay the night and you can guess what happened.
Nothing is a secret in the village. Mother called the next morning and told the girl she cannot come home. She is now married. If he tries to send her home it will bring disgrace on the whole family, and especially on the girl – showing she was just a one night stand, and he was never serious about marriage.
That day the boy came and confessed to Mike and then to me. He had sinned and now the die was cast. He had no option but to continue living with her. His head was hung in defeat and shame. He wanted to live in a new way and show his community the way of self-control and righteousness. Now it was all ruined.
I asked him, “If you go back tonight and live with her as a married couple would you feel that you are sinning?” His immediate response, “Yes, definitely. That is sin.”
I’m amazed! How did this young man, brought up in this culture, come up with this conviction? The only thing that separates him from the others around him is a better education (12th grade) and he is born of the Spirit and in touch with the Law written on his heart. Could it be that if this whole people were born from God that this part of their culture would automatically transform?
So we hatched a plan to keep them separate, yet discreetly – she living at his house near his parents, and he living on our base with his accountability man.
One problem. Culture again! In this culture, wedding decisions are for the parents to make. They have the responsibility to make whatever decision they think best for their child. So we met with both sets of parents and, sitting on stools under a village tree, step by slow step we laid out our case:
We respect parents. We respect this tribe’s traditions. We respect the wishes of these two young ones. But most of all we respect Jesus and His Words found in the Bible of how we should live. He says fornication is sin. And He says sex within marriage union is good. Somewhere between those two statements there is a line of demarcation. On one side of that line sex is bad; and the other side it is good. What is that Important Thing that makes all the difference in the world? Though the Bible is not explicit, we believe it is a vow given by man and woman, a promise to love, a promise of faithful allegiance till death separates. A vow in the presence of God and their community of faith and family. A marriage ceremony.
A wedding is a sacrament – a miraculous impartation from God, making two one. It is the moment that “God joins together” what no human tradition can do.
Today these two are walking in righteousness with their heads held high. Their parents agreed. Sunday at church the young man got up in front of the congregation, without any prodding on our part, and confessed what he had done and asked for their forgiveness. We all gathered around him and imparted the blessing of forgiveness on him.
On Valentines Day we will have a victorious wedding! I’m not sure if there has ever been a wedding out in the villages before.
It may be the first. Mark up another Victory for the Kingdom in these villages
Hab 2:14 – “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.”
- VILLAGE LIGHT – our prayer to bring electric power to our village base is gradually coming to pass. A friend was led to offer to Match Funds up to $5,000, and we are almost there! Please keep praying and investing if God leads you. This would be a tremendous jump forward in our ministry. If you feel led to be another Matching Donor for the next $5,000 that would be great too. Our need is $30,000 total. Someone offered a possibility of coming to do the wiring for us – reducing costs. We are seeking a reduction on this side too.
- It’s so amazing to have a KITCHEN! Two great donations, two very professional Zambian contractors, and two wonderful families from Oregon doing the finishing touches – all over a period of three years have finally given us a decent kitchen. PRAISE JESUS AND HIS BODY!
- OWEN LISULO – We are so blessed that God brought Owen to us in Jan. He’s been a good friend for years, very gifted and experienced with running orphan ministries. But best of all is his heart. God has bonded us all into a Oneness that can only be from Heaven. His task is to make us efficient in all we are doing. We are also gifted by God with three tremendous interns – Karen Wiersma, Tiana Powell, and Brandon Amerine. Karen is dedicated to admin for a year – WHAT WE HAVE BEEN PRAYING ABOUT FOR YEARS! Brandon is focusing on empowering villagers with business and training. He is now working with one desperate family to start a carpentry business.
- NORTHERN BASE – God is at work in Luanshya in a powerful way too! Some mighty donations have built the Twashuka ( = “there is hope”) Community Center which we will travel up for the Grand Opening in a few weeks. Also Aaron, the dynamic leader, has gone thru a CPX course – giving him inspired vision and enthusiasm for church planting; at the same time his team of workers is fired with new zeal.
- GROWING PAINS – It’s hard to keep a trusting spirit knowing that Love’s Door is the Oak Tree that provides shelter for 48 people plus their family members – counting all our orphan kids, our staff, full time volunteer and paid workers. We are humbled that God is working thru us to touch so many lives in different ways. God has been faithful to lead us and provide our every need. We are asking Him to inspire more long term financial partners. After 5 years here, our weak points are showing – 2 of our structures just totally fell over in the last month, and another almost did, and a 4th one – we wish it would! Building in the village fashion looks cool, but it is only temporary! New brick and metal structures are in order. Pray with us for finances and wisdom to know how to build well.
- OUR BOARD is going thru some growth pains as well. Larry Reimer, pastoral leader and a successful businessman from Landmark Manitoba, is joining us. Randy Catlett, pastoral leader at All Nations, Kansas City, is also joining us on the board. Kevin and Marcy Smith, leaders from one of our major partner churches, are being released to pursue their new mission of adoption! Pray for our wonderful team that God would give us clear strategies for the growth God is pouring upon us.