Many were blessed by the marriage seminar conducted by Kong Hee in Surabaya, Indonesia.
|PHOTO: Rayvin Hsu
What keeps newlyweds or “oldyweds” joined in holy matrimony “till death do us part”? If marriage is one of the greatest commitments that one can make, how then do couples make it work?
Following the successful run of the series on the differences between man and woman, TroisC: City Care Community, a non-profit community organization in Indonesia, returned yet again to organize another seminar where couples were taught not just biblical but practical principles on succeeding in marriage. It did not take too long for some 300 Indonesians to sign up and pack the three-day Making Marriage Work seminar that was held from Jan. 10 to 12 at Empire Palace Surabaya, Indonesia.
Distance was no deterrent for the Indonesians as they came from 20 churches across 12 different cities namely, Surabaya, Sidoarjo, Malang, Mojokerto, Banyuwangi, Solo, Bandung, Cikarang, Jakarta, Kalimantan, Medan and Gorontalo to hear from City Harvest Church’s senior pastor Kong Hee, who preached and taught a total of nine topics centered around the Christian marriage.
The major themes of the MMW seminar included “Leaving and Cleaving,” “The Roles and Responsibilities of a Husband and Wife,” “Relationships with In-laws” and “Sex in the Christian Marriage.” Kong brought with him a team of drama artistes which included Rio Susanto, Natalie Tjien, Jourdan Kamal and Noviyansi Chan, all volunteers. They acted out the various scenarios to illustrate the points in the teaching series.
The mood was relaxed and participants, as described by Raymond Fernando, pastor of GPdI Elohim Sidoarjo, were treated to Kong’s “honest, expressive and witty sharing of 18 years of marriage
experience with his wife, Sun Ho.” He added, “More than mere words, Pastor Kong truly lives the message he preaches, to inspire us to be better husbands and wives.”
Fernando has been married to Cindy Olivia for a year and a half and the couple is expecting their first child. They were thoroughly blessed by the series as it taught them to “learn to understand our differences and set the right priorities.” While his marriage is “far from being perfect,” Fernando shared candidly that it was through his marriage with his wife that “made us grow in character, and so much in love with God and with one another.”
Other participants from the seminar were equally blessed and impacted at the conference. For engaged couple, Michael Lumintang and Astrid Olivia from Bethany Malang, the pair believed the seminar, which “was delivered via a good structure through fun, creative and practical ways,” would certainly help them “in setting a common ground on how we should build a strong marriage”; and these were the sentiments echoed by another couple, Markus Benyamin Diredja and Eko Widyastuti from Geis ECC Bandung who have been married for eight months.
For Elisha Soetopom, 27, and his wife Fedora Thamrin, 25, from GBT Alfa Omega Surabaya, hearing the message on building strong relationships with in-laws not only convicted their hearts but changed their mindsets as well. They realized that not being understanding of the needs of one’s in-laws will “affect the harmony of our married life”; hence, it was crucial that they “learned to communicate and build better relationships with our in laws.” The seminar also served to equip and remind the couple of many biblical themes of oneness in married life.
The principle of leaving and cleaving was one of the biggest challenges for Widya Harsana Sugito, 33, and his wife of three months, Arlene Johan, 31, attendees of Geis ECC Bandung. The two were torn between staying at home to care for Surgito’s 70-year-old mother and living on their own after getting married. It was through the messages from Kong and struggles portrayed by the dramatists that helped the couple to understand their situation better, allowing them to handle the delicate matter wisely.
David Hanani Miliando, 37, and Tjendanawati, 36, who both minister at Bethany Gorontalo, shared that through the MMW seminar, “our marriage has been restored physically, emotionally and spiritually.” Beyond that, they have come to appreciate the intrinsic differences between each other.
Girded with biblical truths and principles, the pair has grown wiser, and their desire to grow deeper in love in the marriage has brought positive changes in their attitudes toward each other. This in turn has significantly influenced their children’s emotional development and self esteem. Marriage counseling was also another important factor to consider as they “noticed big changes in the marriages of our members and church workers” as a result of counseling.
Lim Wee Lee, a staff member of CHC who accompanied Kong on the trip, said, “A good marriage requires a lot of effort and communication between the couple You will never know your spouse well enough; so husband and wife should always make an effort to continue courting each other, be it, one year, five years or 10 years into the marriage. Never take each other for granted.”