each devotional message by Jeff Anderson, Philippine Director of ACTION, Raffy Sison, ACTION Missionary and Paul Ellis, also ACTION Missionary, not only challenged the delegates but also spiced up and complemented the main messages by Dr. Rod Pence.

Dr. Rod and Mrs. Barbara Pence, former missionary couple in Korea , more than 50 years in ministry together and Biblical counselors, were the main guest speakers of this two-day conference/retreat for couples.

In his sessions, Dr. Pence spoke of the Lord Jesus as the creator of all things; everything was created through him and for him. Through Him, real love was shown and demonstrated – sacrificial, not looking for own interest but for others. Quoting from Philippians 2:5-11, Dr. Pence emphasized the attitude of love as exemplified by the Lord Jesus. He then urged and encouraged the delegates to practice this kind of love in their relationship. In between, he shared his personal experience as a husband and minister of the gospel. The delegates were challenged not only by the messages he shared, but most of all by his life – a personal testimony of a good partnership in the ministry.

There were also separate sessions for the husbands, led by Dr. Pence and for the wives, led by Barbara. Topics such as guilt, resentment and jealousy, doubt and failure, jealousy and anger were discussed. Scriptures were used to remind everyone that God has answers and can deal with each of these specific problems.

Rev. Clem Guillermo, Director of Back to the Bible Philippines, in his plenary session, shared the signs of drifting away marriage. After citing specific signs of deteriorating marriage relationship, he then shared on specific steps or first aids to cure a sick marriage. Concluding that “Marriage is like alkaline battery because it can be recharged,” he encouraged the couples to continue nurturing their relationship.

On the first night, the BBSI Choir entertained and refreshed the couples with their songs. Singing acapella, the choir did a rendition of some Christian songs. And to the delight of the audience, capped their performance by singing a beautiful love song.

The last night was a night to remember. The husbands served meal to their wives. After dinner, they sang a love song entitled “Ikaw”. It is a beautiful Filipino love song that says “Ikaw ang bigay ng Maykapal (You are God’s gift to me), Tugon sa aking dasal (The answer to my prayer) Upang sa lahat ng panahon (So that in all time) Bawat pagkakataon (In every moment) Ang ibigin ay ikaw (I will love you).

After the song, the husbands gave their wives a rose and a kiss. But the most beautiful part of the program was the recommitment vow led by Pastor Mike. Some couples were also recognized for their length of marriage.

Long after the program, some couples could still be seen outside, as if on their first date. With the cool breeze, the beautiful backdrop of Metro Manila city light and clear skies, it is indeed a night to remember.

On the closing ceremonies, Dr. Rod and Barbara Pence were given a certificate of recognition with the picture of them and the group picture of the participants, and signed by the couple-delegates.

The couples received their pictures and free CLAIM set of books, Written in Stone by Philip Graham Ryken, Rediscovering the Lost Treasure of Family Worship by Jerry Marcellino, Praying by the Spirit by Robert Rakestraw and Embraced by the Cross by LE Maxwell.

As one of the participant in this couple conference/retreat, I was reminded of my commitment to my wife and also reminded me that she is a God’s chosen partner for me. It was a wonderful experience to spend time together, learning from God’s Word. The program helped the couples not only to reminisce the time they first fell in love, but “recharge” their marriage as well. Dr. Rod and Mrs. Barbara Pence were a good example of partners in ministry as they have been more than 50 years in ministry together.

On the way out, almost all couples wanted a repeat in the near future. “Another couple retreat” Serafin & Lolit Simpao. “We’re blest. Continue to conduct this kind of ministry.” Roli Leis. “Messages uplift our spiritual life.” Napoleon & Joselita Buenaventura. “Please have more to come.” Bishop Pat Alfred & Dolly Hermosilla.