Healing Marriages, Combatting AIDS
In Yercaud, a tiny taluk (sub-district) in southern India, marriages once at risk are becoming stronger. Yercaud is populated by various tribal groups, and at least 28 villages have yet to be reached with the Gospel.
It is this area where Pastor Luka has been working for 17 years. Here, marriages face the same crises that play out in many parts of India: infidelity, breakdowns of communication, extended family conflicts, abuse and neglect of wives, and the spread of HIV and AIDS – a problem that is occurring too often in marriage and committed relationships.
World Relief’s ground-breaking Families for Life* program was born out of 45 pastors’ vision to reach their communities in Tamil Nadu and respond to the issues of marriages in crisis and HIV/AIDS. With this vision, World Relief developed an innovative story-based serialized curriculum called Sangeetham, providing these churches with practical tools they need to transform their communities.
Along with 28 other local pastors and their wives, Pastor Luka and his wife attended a World Relief Families for Life* training. “These lessons are very important, many families need them, and this [curriculum is] a good tool to serve them,” he says.
It is through this curriculum that leaders bring the Gospel, speaking Truth into broken families, bringing healing between husbands and wives, and protecting couples and future generations from the risk of HIV/AIDS.
To date this year, World Relief trained 318 church leaders and their spouses with this couples-focused curriculum. The curriculum explores the core components of a successful marriage and allows couples to work through miscommunications, conflict, unfaithfulness, and other threats to marriage.
Due to these leaders’ positions of influence, it is estimated that nearly 7,000 community members have benefitted from messaging that emphasizes faithfulness and partnership in marriage. This is especially pertinent in the Indian context, where women are often left vulnerable and lack decision-making authority in the home.
World Relief is expanding its work into another district and 4 new taluks and building new partnerships with more churches and interdenominational ministries. Program manager Philipose Vaidyar is excited about what God is doing through the trainings: “The participants are witnesses that the Families for Life lessons have begun to make changes in their approaches and relationships within the family.”
In the coming year, World Relief hopes to reach 600 more individuals with the training and engage more than 250 additional churches in reaching out to couples, thereby breaking down walls in their marriages and providing ways for successful and healthy relationships.
Joanna Mayhew, Asia HIV/AIDS Coordinator, says, “Our goals are ambitious but so worthwhile. We continue to strive towards the vision of churches effectively equipped to support, encourage, and protect families in their communities.”
Pastor Luka and the 28 pastors in Yercaud have taken on this vision as well. They are eager to bring the Sangeetham curriculum to the 28 villages that have yet to hear about the God who heals brokenness and enables men and women to be partners together in marriage.
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*Click here to read more about World Relief’s Families for Life curriculum in India.