Barbara and I had been married only a few years when we led our first group using FamilyLife’s HomeBuilders Couples Series®. We had each gone through a painful divorce and were determined to protect our new marriage. We promised one another that we’d do something every year to strengthen our relationship, and HomeBuilders seemed to be that perfect “something.”
We had no idea that God would use an unlikely couple like us to launch a legacy of spiritual multiplication through HomeBuilders. In 2002 Skid and Sherri Logan challenged Barbara and me with the vision of one couple reaching others for Christ. Five years later, we estimate that nearly 200 couples have gone through the marriage and parenting studies since we began. It has completely transformed the lives and marriages of so many who have learned with us!
HomeBuilders has transformed our own marriage by helping us communicate in areas we would likely have never discussed. It’s taught us how to seek oneness by correctly and quickly resolving conflict—a key to avoiding walls of isolation. And we’ve learned about the unique way God created each of us. I’m certain that He created Barbara for me as His special gift of love!
God has used HomeBuilders to make “beauty from ashes” and to form us into “trophies of His grace.” Today, we don’t just talk about our children and exchange facts about our day. We actually discuss our dreams, fears, frustrations and desires. HomeBuilders has deepened our friendship and strengthened our relationship.
The kids love that we are involved in HomeBuilders, and they pray for the couples in our group. They really like it when their friends’ parents are in our study. They feel it’s their way of ministering to their friends.
Barbara and I continue leading HomeBuilders groups because they work. One of the couples we invited to join us in leading HomeBuilders groups is Reggie and Belinda Jackson. Reggie works as a cement truck driver and Belinda attends school and home schools some of their children. They are also foster parents.
We had so many people respond to one of our HomeBuilders orientations that we didn’t have enough facilitators. So Reggie and Belinda agreed to step out and lead a study. They began in their home, ministering to several couples in their area.
Shortly after they started their first HomeBuilders group, the Jacksons worked as volunteers with Barbara and me at the Weekend to Remember in Orlando. We met another couple there, Lee and Andrea Ogletree, who were excited by what they heard at the conference. They wanted to begin a HomeBuilders group, so I challenged Reggie and Belinda to help them get their group going. The Jacksons accepted the challenge while continuing their own group. In the last year, Reggie and Belinda have helped the Ogletrees begin three other HomeBuilders groups.
Our original group of nine couples has expanded to nine groups today that are active in our church. One of these groups is getting ready to birth two more. We’ve also helped several other churches get HomeBuilders started and have provided trainings about starting and leading HomeBuilders studies. Barbara and I have personally gone through the studies with over 35 different couples and have matured 11 different HomeBuilders leaders out of those groups—including my own parents.
Mom and Dad have a couple in their group who have been married only two weeks, and another couple who have been married for 64 years. This year, my parents celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary, and they are more in love now than when they first got married.
I have seen God raise the dead, heal the wounded, strengthen the weak, encourage the fainthearted and strengthen the strong, all in the setting of our HomeBuilders groups. Husbands and wives have rediscovered each other and uncovered the beautiful treasures tragically buried in years of neglect. God has used these studies to reveal Himself to several and has allowed us the privilege of praying with some to invite Jesus into their lives and marriages. Talk about an extreme home makeover! God is an incredible architect and contractor.
Reprinted with permission from The Family Room. You can receive the free e-zine by e-mail every month.
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Walt and Ann Bealke have been married for a long time, just not to each other. They are now 5 years into their marriage (the third for each of them), and are seeing God redeem their pasts and build a Gospel-centered marriage.
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