Photo by Tony Cece

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Men’s Conference

Thursday 08-01-2013

We had our morning devotionals after breakfast.  The passage from I Corinthians 3 was shared which discussed the necessity to nurture with milk before meat.  The message to us was that we were sharing some very advanced material during these conferences and perhaps it is too much to ‘digest’ for some.  After a time of prayer that the hearts of the men would be open to change and that we would be sensitive to them,  we walked to the chapel to await the men.

The weather was the coldest we have experienced this trip.  It was very misty as well.  By 9:30 ish, about 18 were gathered so we started our lively time of worship and praise.  Dr. Reese led the first session on Justice.  It was a very moving presentation emphasizing the concept of Shalom, sharing to the poor and making and keeping good relationships.  Two verses that illustrated his talk were from Micah 6:6-8: “With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before thy high God?  Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old?  Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, ten thousand rivers of oil?  Shall I give my firstborn form by transgressions, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?  He has shown you, oh man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you, but to do justly, to love mercy, and walk humbly with thy God?” The other verse that concluded his talk was from Isaiah 58:10:  “If you extend your soul to the hungry and satisfy the afflicted soul then your light shall dawn in the darkness, and your darkness shall be as the noon day.”  Dr. Reese pointed out that the staff at Into Abba’s Arms personifies this verse.  They extend their souls to the hungry little ones and satisfy their afflicted souls.  Their light shines into the darkness.

At the end of Dr. Reese’s presentation we had 35 attendees.  Dr. Keyes decided to break into two large groups with Dr. Reese leading one and Dr. Keyes the other.  We had lively discussions about the concept of equality in the home and the changing role of the husband and the father.  Several of the men were very open to this change while others were more cautions to adopt the new ideas.  One man shared that the schools were teaching the importance of more openness in the family.  Again, some fathers are happy about receiving this new information while others are resistant to the children having such influence over the family.  It is traditional for the father in the family to have full authority over the children, the wife and the running of the household.  They are learning see how sharing power and control with their wives will lead to a happier home and a more fulfilling relationship.
We then broke for tea.  After tea we had a short time of prayer and worship.  Dr. Harris and Dr. Keyes lead a presentation on Domestic Violence and then two students presented on Logical Consequences vs. Punishment to tie in with the domestic violence.

After supervision we had lunch of rice, beans and cabbage and then another time of worship.  We then broke into our three groups.  The 12 men in Dr. Keyes group were all interested in sharing their reactions to the concept of Diffusing Anger.  The details of this technique had to be clarified in terms of the couple understanding the procedure so that the wife would know why the husband was stepping out for an hour.  It seemed that everyone thought that this technique was a good one and that they should be more transparent in the area of finances so that their wives would understand what was possible financially and what was not.  Many expressed the desire for us to return to give a couple’s workshop next time we come.  Walking back to the chapel, our interpreter, Stanley told us how excited he was about what he had learned and that he intends to hold a couple’s workshop at his church.

The last session was on Drugs and Alcohol. When the presentation ended, we held a debriefing with all of the interpreters. The pastors each shared how thankful they were that we came and for the information and resources they were given. They looked forward to being able to share this information with their churches and their communities and said they had many ideas for new sermons. After many hugs, thank yous, tears, and a group picture we departed ways and began the work of packing our bags to head home. Please pray for safe travel as we head out tomorrow and for rest and refreshment during our time in Dubai.

- Cathy, Jen and Kristina

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