Connecting Columbia Union Seventh-day Adventists

Hispanic Marriage Retreat Changes Lives

Story by Heidi Shoemaker

Recently more than 70 Hispanic couples converged in Findlay, Ohio, for a one-day “Retiro Matrimonial: Casados pero Felices” (Marriage Encounter: Married but Happy) retreat. Couples of all ages filled the venue to capacity. Peter Simpson, Hispanic Ministries coordinator, invited presenters Sergio and Yoska Monterroso, a pastoral couple from the Kentucky-Tennessee Conference, to speak on marriage.

“Couples from all over the state gathered to strengthen their relationships and learn about quality Christian marriage,” comments Simpson. As part of their workshop, couples completed a marriage inventory covering 10 areas designed to improve communication, understanding, conflict resolution, fiscal responsibility and forgiveness.

Sergio stated, “Our marriages matter to God. He cares about our children.” He went on to share biblical counsel on healthy marriages. Other topics touched on the importance of healthy intimacy and how marriage is an ongoing process. “Sola camino más rápido, acompañada puedo llegar más lejos (Alone may be faster, but accompanied I will go further),” shared Sergio.

“We received a huge blessing,” said one husband. “We want to have more of these types of programs!”

For some, one of the most memorable moment occurred at the close of the assembly. “As is the custom, every Hispanic church event is an evangelistic tool,” explains Simpson. Among the attendees were several unmarried, not Adventist couples. When Simpson made an unscheduled altar call, “seven of these unmarried couples decided to get married in order to join our church and be baptized.” 

(Photo by carolina simpson: First Cleveland Spanish members Mariano and Carmen Collazo show their love during a photoshoot at the Hispanic Marriage Encounter retreat.)

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