By Cheryl-Ann Mader, Member of the CFC Ministry
‘Rekindle the Gift, Fulfil your Ministry’ was God’s profound word spoken to us as we celebrate this year the 20th anniversary of the Couples for Christ (CFC) Ministry in Trinidad and Tobago.
In commemoration of this, we hosted the 19th Caribbean Conference over the period July 12–15. The planning for this mega conference started in 2017 without prior knowledge of the date set for the World Cup Finals. However, this did not hinder the participants’ attendance at the conference.
We also did not know what blessings God had in store for us, as the previously planned venue for the main conference was changed mid-way, when CFC obtained the gift of a new home at St Benet’s Hall, Mt St Benedict.
National Director couple, Mark and Wendy Poon Tip in their remarks prayed that “this conference will help us to rekindle the gift of God’s love and that the fire of His love burn within us once more, sharing it within our homes, parishes, workplaces in order that we may fulfil the Ministry to bring families in the Holy Spirit, who will renew the face of the earth”.
The CFC Ministry, referred to as a ‘womb to tomb’ Ministry, caters to the needs of all. Consequently, there were separate conferences for the CFC Handmaids of the Lord (ladies), CFC Youth for Christ, CFC Singles for Christ (young adults), CFC Kids for Christ and joint sessions with the couples.
Topics from the various sub-conferences were age appropriate and administered in fun, vibrant and edifying ways. The songs were tastefully chosen in keeping with the theme.
One of the more favoured topics was, ‘Putting up with hardships’ delivered by Joe and Monina Duran, CFC Caribbean regional coordinators.
In her presentation Monina testified to God’s faithfulness in providing for the financial needs of her family when she gave up her full-time job to be on Mission for the CFC Ministry. She encouraged us not to ask, ‘why me?’. Instead what do you want me to learn from this Lord?
For those in the CFC Ministry with 20 years of service, there can be the temptation to sit back and relax but we were reminded by Monina that “faithful servants never retire”. She also shared some pearls of wisdom: “Witnessing is sharing your life’s story. Persons who may not accept the story of the Bible would listen to a humble personal story”, “God works in ways we cannot see” and “You have not done something for anyone unless you have done something for someone who cannot pay you back”.
In addressing the couples she said, “Anyone who says that their marriage is perfect must not be living together”. This engendered a lot of chuckles. Joe’s message was simple and impactful, ‘Fulfill your Ministry!’
One of the most compelling testimonies was from the contingent from St Maarten who shared about the horror of the devastation caused by a terrible storm last year which ravaged their country.
Today, they are still rebuilding physically, but last year their CFC households gathered and they covered as much of the country as they could, bringing hope to the people.
They prayed with them, read the Bible and spoke generally of the goodness of God even in times of distress. They expressed that it was a privilege for them to have come to the conference and they were so thankful.
There was a Lord’s Day Celebration on the Saturday evening, dedicated to remembering God’s faithfulness to us. This was followed by a scrumptious dinner and entertaining evening. The Curepe Scherzando Steel Ensemble brought the house down with their musical renditions of cultural classics.
Archbishop Jason Gordon, in his letter to the CFC Ministry is quoted as saying, “Like Timothy, God has called your ministry to use your gifts and talents, to rekindle this gift, to courageously endure for the cause of the gospel. Do not become fearful and timid. And don’t be tempted to pull back from God’s call and neglect the precious gift of ministry that God had entrusted to your community.
He continued, “Like Timothy we must grow in it and nurture it, rekindle it. Be encouraged by what Paul wrote, ‘therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind’.”
The CFC Ministry holds onto these words of encouragement and all that was rekindled at the conference as we extend condolences to the family of Emerson Remy who passed away on July 30. Emerson gave selflessly of his service, time and energy to the CFC Ministry. To say that he would be missed is an understatement. Rest in peace Emerson!