By Jayna Richardson
“Can you please pray for me? I can’t think of anything positive to write to my husband.” This is what one woman in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) said when couples at a Weekend to Remember® were given the task of writing a love letter to their spouses. Application projects throughout the event are often an integral part of producing life change in the attendees. But the projects can be tough, especially for those in a difficult marriage.
FamilyLife international representatives Jim and Judy Burrows were conducting the Weekend to Remember in November 2018 as part of the launch of FamilyLife in the UAE. Judy agreed to pray with the woman right then and there. At the end of the conference, the woman wrote on her evaluation sheet that the highlight of the event was when Judy prayed for her. She added, “Before then I could not think of anything good to say to my husband; after praying, I could not stop finding things to say.”
The weekend was filled with positive responses. Of the 130 that attended, two people indicated that they had started a new relationship with Christ, 48 recommitted their marriages to Christ, and 63 indicated that they wanted to join a HomeBuilders® small-group study. This was not just a one-time event, but part of a strategy to help launch a family ministry in cooperation with a strategic fellowship that reaches out to 90 different nationalities.
The UAE has a population of 9.5 million, and approximately 76% of the population is Muslim. Launching a FamilyLife ministry here is challenging, but the momentum that’s building now is encouraging. Back in May of 2018, Jim and Judy met with church leaders from Dubai and Abu Dhabi and showed them FamilyLife resources that could help them to launch a family ministry movement. When they returned to conduct the Weekend to Remember in November, they found that these church leaders have implemented Art of Marriage small groups as part of their year-round ministry efforts.
In addition to the Weekend to Remember, Jim and Judy also held a speaker training and a training on how to lead a HomeBuilders group. We look forward to seeing how God takes these seeds of family ministry and brings growth throughout the UAE.