I’ve been trying for two weeks to write about the recent Couple’s Getaway, but I could only get so far. It’s been overtaken by newer write-ups, and has been stuck in my drafts. Just the other day, I realized that I have been going at it all wrong.
Instead of relaying what happened and how the theme U.N.I.T.Y. (understand, nurture, identify, treasure, yearn) was imparted and taught to us, I would like to use this post to honor the people behind the whole thing – Ptr Chico and Maryanne Peña. They have made a difference in many people’s and many couples’ lives because of their personal, intimate approach to imparting what they have learned as husband and wife in the past 20 + years.
Let me just tell you that before October, I had been really looking forward to the Couple’s Getaway because it was going to be our first time to spend the night alone without the kids since Danae was born. Our original plans fell through and we had to bring the girls with us. Thus our couple’s getaway became a family getaway haha. I was disappointed at first, but then I was still grateful that we were still going. And it turned out to be just as enjoyable, maybe even more! Not only were we able to participate in all the activities and attend all the sessions, we also did not have to stress and worry about the kids since they were just in our hotel room with our trusted helper. We were even a blessing to those few who brought their kids too, since they played with our kids in our room.
I’m so grateful for Ptr Chico and Maryanne. First of all, they are dear friends of ours. They’re so supportive of us, always encouraging us. But what stood out for me during the Couple’s Getaway was the Nurture part, where we were tasked to go on a 500-peso amazing lunch date after the first session. We had to feed our kids then, and since we were staff too, I wondered if we would be able to go on the date. We all walked to a restaurant with Ptr Chico, Maryanne, their 2 sons, and the volunteers. As we sat down, Maryanne quickly told us TO GO ON OUR DATE AND THAT SHE WILL TAKE CHARGE OF DANAE & NOELLE. I was floored!!!!! I couldn’t believe she was saying this to me, but of course we took up her offer. It just really showed me their genuine desire to help us spend time together alone. They know that we don’t get to do so as often as we’d like, since our kids are young and Noelle had just learned to stop breast feeding. Like I said, though we date almost regularly now, we haven’t spent a whole night alone for 5 YEARS. It was just such a generous thing for them to do, totally unexpected and totally heartwarming. Not everybody would be willing to do it for us. NOT EVERYBODY WOULD BE WILLING TO DO IT, PERIOD. We’re grateful to the volunteers who helped us out as well.
I believe Ptr Chico and Maryanne are the right couple to take care of and disciple the married and soon-to-be married couples, via Marriage Boosters and I Do. The best teachers are the most humble and down-to-earth ones, those who are perpetual students and especially those who talk the talk AND walk the walk. That’s Chico and Maryanne, not to mention relatable and funny too. They never claim to be experts and they don’t just give us a formula that we can follow to make our marriages work. They share with us what they have personally experienced and learned in their walk with God as individuals and as husband and wife, and they let us couples talk it out privately, since each couple is different, with different issues and different needs. They help us be better husbands and wives by giving us Biblical principles and practical things to think about, talk about, and do for each other. They are also open to any of us who need counsel. One of the most amazing testimonies given during the getaway was by this young couple who went through something so terrible that the wife was already ready to leave her husband. But because of Chico and Maryanne’s help, the time, advice, and prayer they sowed into this young couple, they are still together and their marriage is going in the right direction. That is the kind of work God is doing in the lives of our couples in church through Ptr Chico and Maryanne today.
It’s clear as well that their plan is not short-sighted. They do not want the Marriage Boosters or the Couple’s Getaway to be just a seminar, which we attend, possibly learn from and possibly apply to our lives. They want us to apply what we learn and teach it to other couples, so they can teach other couples, who will teach other couples and so on. They even entrusted to King and me, one session of teaching the engaged couples of I Do two weeks ago, which was really an honor for us to be part of. We’re so blessed to learn from and co-labor with such an exemplary pair.
SO, PTR CHICO AND MARYANNE, WE THANK YOU AND WE HONOR YOU. May the Lord bless the work of your hands, cause increase in every aspect of your married life, your family life, and your ministry. May you reap a hundred fold what you have sown and are sowing into countless people, individuals and couples alike. May you leave a lasting legacy of loving and honoring God to your children, your children’s children and the generations after them. We love you. 🙂