Family Life Couples Fellowship (FLCF) Retreat is an annual event hosted by the Navigators Nigeria in August. With preparations in motion from January, to its overall halt in March and the stay home order to the difficulties experienced as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic made the Annual event to be shifted from August to December due to the lockdown enforce across the country. To the Glory of God, the event held in 10th – 13th December 2020, fourteen couples out of the initial thirty couples who indicated interest to attend were in attendance.
FLCF 2020 Retreat was Tagged “HOME – A PLATFORM FOR TRANSFORMATION”.
The Guest Speakers were Barr. and Barr. (Mrs) Dominic Ichaba (The Chairman, Board of Trustees Navigator Nigeria).
Under the Theme, are the following topics treated during the Retreat;
- Developing Personal Intimacy with God – A prerequisite for an intimate relationship with Spouse.
- Romance in Marriage – Sustaining Marital Intimacy through All Stages of Marital Life.
- How to Raise Homes That Will Serve as Models for Others.
In addition to the above, some couples were asked to make a 10 minutes presentation on “Starting A Small Business to Support the Family”, as they are to share from their personal experiences using the following as a guide.
- What is the business?
- How old is the business?
- Why did you choose this out other possible business options?
- What is your purpose of doing this business?
- What have you benefitted from this business?
- How have you helped others or God’s kingdom using the business?
- What are some of the challenges faced in this business?
- Any future for this business?
Some couples were able to make their presentations; one opted for a virtual presentation. The four business presentations shared, with relevant experiences are:-
- Rabbit production
- Fashion Designing
- Producing Oils from different plants as remedies for various ailments.
- Doing a POS (Point of Sale) business.
The presentations were quite educative and instructive; adequate enough for any serious-minded person to embark on any of the four businesses discussed.
Participants were asked to write and openly display their Retreat expectations on a Sticky note so they and the speaker can review each day. These notes were displayed for everyone including the Guest Speakers. Here are a few expectations from participants:
- “That my flaws in making a godly home be shown through God’s word so that, I can be better and also learn how to make my relationship with my spouse be more intimate to God’s glory”.
- “Have the opportunity to reflect more on difficult areas of my marital relationship, start working on those areas right here and leave the Retreat venue motivated to further deepening my relationship.
The responses gotten from the Evaluation form distributed to participants at the end of the Retreat showed 90% expectations were met during the Retreat. Hallelujah.
Furthermore, it was established by the guest speaker the need for deep intimacy with God and he gave all that was needed in developing such a healthy relationship. He went on and clearly spelt out how a God relationship can influence the relationship with others and how essential in a family setting. Also, he hinted the significance of raising homes that would serve as models for others.
One illustration that he used and was much talked about was the orange illustration. He said “No matter how nice an orange may look; you will never know its quality until you cut and squeeze/suck it. An orange may look nice with no juice or may have juice but not sweet. Each of us is like an orange and God uses different events of life to squeeze the juice out of us. The quantity and quality of juice we produce would be largely dependent on our intimacy with God. How do we respond under an unpleasant situation depends on who and what God means to us”
One of the participants has this to say “This is one of the best Couples Retreat, I have attended in recent times. I appreciate how the Speaker blended the issue of having a deep intimacy with God and intimacy with my Spouse. The fact that one cannot have true deep intimacy with God and not be intimate with his/her spouse made a great sense to me and I am trusting God to help me as I work on deepening my intimacy with Him, so that my home may serve as a platform for life transformation”
A healthy talk time of 2 hours was availed to each couple to evaluate their marriage relationship within the past 3 months using an Evaluation form. This opportunity helped the couple have a One on One about topics raised during the Retreat and even before. For some, this was the best time of the Retreat. We also had the opportunity at one of such interactive sessions to raise and address issues that came up during the talks by the Guest Speaker. Participants were thrilled to answers and opinions from such deliberations, as such aided their perception about such issues.
The success of the Retreat was profound as clearly spoken of and written by participants in their Evaluation forms. 7 couples of the 14 who attended the Retreat are first-time attendees and were so blessed that they promised to return in 2021, they also offered to invite their friends. 3 of the 7 made financial commitments to support the Ministry and hoped it becomes a blessing to more couples.
God answered every prayer concerning the Retreat, He provided all that we needed for it and all participants back safely.
FLCF 2021 Retreat will be held 26th – 29th August, We pray COVID 19 would have been a thing of the past. Amen.
- Thank God for the success of the Retreat, despite all the odds and challenges.
- Thank God for the provision of all resources (human and material) to meet all needs.
- Pray that each of the Attendees will make use of what God taught them and also work on all aspects of their relationship that need attention as they promised to.
- Pray for an Overhead Projector for the ministry; pray that God will use one of His children to provide before our next Retreat.
- We (Mary and I) planned to visit all the Couples that came for the Retreat as a way of following them up and as part of our mentoring activities before the August Retreat, pray that God will provide the means for us to achieve this.
- Pray that, God will provide for all those who made the commitments to give financial support to the work so that, they can fulfil their vows.
- Ask God to guide the Coordinators who are responsible for planning the Retreat as they begin to work on the 2021 Retreat.
Written by Bayo Adeniji