Togo (MNN) — Life Matters Worldwide recently traveled to Togo to support one of their pro-life partners in the region.
“The purpose or the mission of the trip was multi-focused,” says Life Matters president Tom Lothamer. It included an all-day pastors’ training, meetings held in three churches emphasizing the importance of abstinence, and work with the HIV/AIDS Ministry.
“But the biggest event, of course, was the Parenting Conference.” You might be wondering why someone needs training to be a parent or a spouse. After all, in America, there are plenty of classes. But such help in Togo is rare.
“They don’t get a lot of teaching; for example…‘The Biblical role of the husband and the wife,’ or ‘How do you discipline your children,’” Lothamer says. “People came from all over Togo to be a part of this particular conference. In fact, there were just over 2,000 people that attended.”
The participants came from 75 local Bible Churches throughout the country. Nearly 1,700 of those were parents. Four sermons, 17 workshops, and 9 lessons shared help and hope for both marriage and parenting.
Lothamer shares the stories of two couples whose marriages were at risk.
The first couple was living in the same house but separately, and was on their way to divorce. The wife, however, attended the Parenting Conference, and God began working in her heart. When she returned home, the change was noticeable.
Her husband noted later, “For our first time, we hold hands to pray and confess each other to reconciliation. The lessons that the conference taught through the Word of God changed my wife’s life.”
The other couple was in a slightly different situation. The husband was a Christian, but his wife was not. They attended the Parenting Conference together and were impacted. “The result was when they went back home, his wife was changed miraculously. And their marriages will never be the same,” Lothamer says.
While Life Matters witnessed changed relationships, they also found that they were changing, too.
“We go over there hopefully with our Togolese brothers and sisters to really encourage people,” Lothamer explains.
“But the flip side happened, too. We were greatly encouraged. We were humbled by people who have so many needs and yet are so joyful in Christ. And so, we learned probably as much as maybe they learned. We learned equally as much. [Through] the hospitality and the friendliness of the people, we felt like, in a sense, we were home.”
After such a successful year, Life Matters’ pastor Joseph Akakpo proposed the structure of a building for future conferences. They want to recruit thousands more and would like to have the building by 2020. But they can only start the process with your prayer and support.