We arrived in Medan at around 8.00am on November 7, 2012, and were warmly met by Pastors Ezra and Daniel. After being treated to a sumptuous breakfast, we set forth on a two-hour drive up to Berastagi. A total of 15 couples attended the Marriage Encounter held at Mikie Holiday Hotel.
The sessions began with Pastor Marilyn Yee sharing her testimony on her marriage with Pastor Simon Yee. She mentioned that 3 aspects – communication, commitment and compromise is crucial for a marriage to work. Pastor Simon followed with animated teachings and sharings on the topic "Marriage – God's Divine Plan". The gist of it was that God's Divine Plan is for marriage to be for companionship, completion of each other and a covenant before God. Before closing, he wanted the couples to practice 5 things:
- Hugs and kisses,
- Writing a love letter,
- Buying a gift within the next seven days,
- Praying a blessing over each other, and lastly
- For the husband to make tea for his wife
After dinner, the sessions resumed with Pastor Simon sharing on the role of husband and wife. "The role of a husband is to be a leader, lover and listener to his wife, while the role of a wife is to be submissive, supportive and sexy (beautiful) towards her husband," said Pastor Simon. Following that, we had testimony-sharings by our team members, Yew Lee and Ivy, on how God restored leadership in the family, which in turn blessed the entire family. The couples were dismissed early to practice the 'assignments' they were allocated.
Day 2 started with team members, Keng Lim and Lai Cheng, sharing on five things that helped them communicate in their marriage. Next, Pastor Janice educated the couples on the five levels of communications, five love languages and the principles of sowing and reaping. The session closed with a time of ministry as the couples identified each other's love languages and opened up to each other.
After a short ice-breaker, Pastor Janice continued by teaching on resolving conflicts. She touched on differences between couples, sources of conflicts and even had a live demonstration of what happens when couples 'carry grudges'. This led the couples to reveal and discuss their unmet expectations.
We had lunch, and continued with the afternoon session where Pastor Janice shared on the topic of healing and forgiveness. The couples watched a short clip from the movie "The Passion of the Christ" and were told to identify the hurts they have faced in their marriage and forgive each other. "We are able to forgive because of what Jesus has done on the cross for us," preached Pastor Janice. While the couples were washing the feet of each other, Pastor Simon noticed a wife crying whilst washing her husband's feet and was particularly touched.
Pastor Simon followed by sharing on breaking curses, as well as the subject of "Romance and Sexuality". The couples, despite their conservative nature, were enlightened by the biblical teachings.
That night, the couples each came dressed to impress in their formal wear for the fancy dinner. Our entertainment for the night, team members, Keng Lim and Lai Cheng, performed a 'cha cha' dance item and even taught the couples to dance to the old-school music of "Those Magic Changes" from the movie "Grease", transporting them back to their courtship days.
The final day of the Marriage Encounter – the first teaching session of the day was on the topic of "Raising Godly Children", and our team members, Yew Lee and Ivy, once again shared the struggles they faced raising their daughter. Followed by a session where Pastor Marilyn took the lead to share how agreement and unity in their marriage helped Pastor Simon make his decision to enter full-time ministry in FCBC. Pastor Simon then finished with a call to all the couples to not be passive, and actively respond to God's calling to serve together as a couple/family under the G12 Vision.
Before the Marriage Encounter came to a close, the couples, dressed in their traditional attires or gowns, renewed their marriage vows by exchanging rings or gifts, and partaked in the Lord's Supper.
The Marriage Encounter may be over, but the FCBC team was not yet finished with their work in Berastagi. After a morning of fun at an amusement park, the team headed over to a church to minister to the students and attend the youth service. There, our team member, Keng Lim, ministered to the students and youths, on the topics of "Who is Jesus?" and "Living Lives – For Ourselves or God?" respectively.
On the morning of Day 5, Pastor Simon was asked to preach at one of the local churches, where he preached on the passage of Zacchaeus. Many were moved by his message and came forward for the altar call.
After service, Pastor Simon met with the leaders of the church to encourage and share some of the milestones FCBC has accomplished in recent years. They include:
- 24/7 Prayer Tower
- 3Ds – Disciple, Disciple-Maker, Discipling the Nations
- Finding your 12
- Building and transforming your character in Christ
At noon, we visited Sun Plaza for a spot of shopping before heading to the airport, for our flight back to Singapore. It was indeed a blessed and eventful trip.