During the second weekend in August Koinonia hosted a Marriage & Parenting Seminar. Here are the testimonies of some of the attendees:

By George and Christine Jegadesh
We were pleased to be able to attend the Marriage and Family Conference hosted by Koinonia in August.  Brother Ashok and Sister Shiela, the conference leaders who oversee a ministry called Three Strands, were a great blessing to us and other attendees, sharing wisdom from the Word, but applying it to our marriages and families in an extremely practical way.  We were particularly inspired by their personal stories and their own testimonies, overcoming significant challenges throughout their lives and how God has guided them to be used for His glory over the years.  Ashok and Shiela have held small group workshops in Rochester over the last few years, but this is the first time hosting it at Koinonia with a larger audience. 

Brother Ashok used the acronym, F-A-M-I-L-Y as a guide for the conference, describing six aspects in drawing close to God in our marriages and families.

F, for the “firm foundation” needed in a home.
A, for “advances with availability” describing how we need to make ourselves available to be used of God and putting Him first.
M, for “motivated by missions,” finding practical ways for individuals and families to serve together to impact our communities for the Lord.
I, for “improves with intersession,” highlighting the importance of praying with your spouse and as a family.
L, for “led by love,” reminding us of what love encompasses love in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.
Y for “yoked by yearning,” reminding us of God’s presence and blessing that always surrounds us.

The theme verse for the ministry is Ecclesiastes 4:12, “A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”  A verse commonly used in marriage ceremonies, this verse should be the constant reminder for any Christian marriage.  Without Christ woven throughout our marriages, how can we survive the constant battery of the world in which we live?

The conference was a great blessing and an inspiration to our family and many others. For us, it was particularly special, as it was our marriage anniversary weekend, and a time to reflect on our last 13 years of marriage and look towards the future.  What adjustments can we make to our lives to strengthen our family?  What legacy are we building?  We were encouraged and challenged, and so appreciative of Ashok and Shiela for sharing their lives with us.  We look forward to having them back in Rochester again with us soon!

By Pamela and Jack Janson
What a joy to be able to look into the scripture and receive God’s instruction about family life.  Most of us already know what the Word says, however it is a special opportunity when we can sit with our partner and focus on how our creator would have us live with one another in the bond of His love. To be reminded of how He would have us to teach our children (Deuteronomy 6:7), that we might have Godly offspring. Our relationship has grown thru praying with one another. We are grateful to Ashok and Shiela for their practical Biblical presentation for the building up of marriages and families. The goal of Three Strands Ministry is “One Family touched – Generations touched” We were touched.

By Rich and Marcelle’ Slocum
Set-Backs or Stepping-Stones
The “Three Strands” marital and parenting seminar opened with a discussion about Joseph (Genesis 37-50), and all that he went through as a result of God’s calling on his life. At first, it seemed like he was a victim because of all the hard times he had to go through at the hands of his brothers, Potiphar’s wife, and the forgetful cup-bearer, yet he took it all patiently somehow! And in the end, he became second in command to Pharaoh, and with great humility, extended forgiveness to his brothers when they were reunited. In Genesis 50:20-21, Joseph declared to his brothers: “But as for you, you thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them.”

We all face great set-backs in life, like Joseph did. But God can use them as stepping-stones instead.

When Rich and I first met, we were both abandoned spouses with young children. We attended separate prayer groups where we prayed for each others’ marriages. My youngest son, Silas (5), and Rich’s son, Zak (4) became instant best friends in Sunday School. Their begging for playtime together was the beginning of a new family, though we didn’t know it at the time. God used for good all of the hardships we experienced as heart-broken, single parents. He built a family that is still growing to glorify His Name!

The next part of the seminar examined holiness. We split into small groups and considered the questions: What is Holiness?, Why should I be Holy?, How can I be Holy?, and Examples of Holy People in our lives. We then presented our answers to the larger group. One quote that especially spoke to me is: “What if God designed marriage to make us Holy more than to make us happy?”
In summary, we determined some of what Holiness is:
–To be like Jesus
–To walk with Jesus
–Spending time with Jesus
–Reading the Word and Praying
–Staying in fellowship with other believers (being accountable to others)

Tithing of Time
Though brief, I think this part of the seminar impacted me the most. It made me consider just how much time each day I spend with or give to God. One-tenth of a day is about two-and-a-half hours. It may sound like a lot, but when Rich and I considered the times we spend each day reading the Word, praying alone and together, and listening to Christian radio, it didn’t seem quite as overwhelming! We have since made a few additions to our time seeking the Lord, and it feels like just a beginning of an exciting journey!

There are so many details of the seminar that I haven’t covered, but I just wanted to give a taste of what you may experience the next time it comes around! We hesitated at first because we didn’t see where our lives were in need of adjustment, but we are very glad that we attended, and would recommend this seminar to anyone seeking a deeper commitment to Jesus in their marriage and family.