Couples’ retreat and marriage enrichment seminar rekindle love among couples

By Ranel Hijapon

To strengthen the marriage relationship of husbands and wives, the Canduman SDA Church (CSDAC), a small church located at Mandaue City, initiated a couples’ retreat and a marriage enrichment seminar last February 16-18, 2018 at Hagnaya Beach Resort, San Remigio, Cebu City, with the theme, “Love that Binds”.


There were about 13 couples who joined the said activity along with single parents, CSDAC youth, and kids. District Pastor Elias Cuyos of North Western Cebu District was also present together with his family and siblings.


The program was graced by the invited speaker, Pastor Wendell M. Serrano, former president of the South Philippine Union Conference, with his beloved wife, Mrs. Estrella Serrano. On Friday evening, Pastor Serrano spoke on the realities of marriage. On Sabbath morning, he discussed the characteristics and behavior of husbands, and during the hour of worship, he talked primarily on spirituality, parenting, and taking care of old parents. He ended the  morning session with a commitment prayer. In the afternoon, he discussed the characteristics and behavior of wives, and during sundown worship, testimonies were shared by the couples.


The following day, each couple marched down the aisle for the renewing of vows, officiated by Pastor Wendell Serrano. Solemnity filled the hall; each couple laughed, cried, and renewed their vows to each other.


Mrs. White said, “It is only in Christ that a marriage alliance can be safely formed. Human love should draw its closest bonds from divine love. Only where Christ reigns can there be deep, true, unselfish affection. Marriage, a union for life, is a symbol of the union between Christ and His church. The spirit that Christ manifests toward His church is the spirit that the husband and wife are to manifest toward each other. If they love God supremely, they will love each other in the Lord, ever treating each other courteously, drawing in even cords. In their mutual self-denial and self-sacrifice they will be a blessing to each other. . . . {AH 95.1}


The following were some of the testimonies of the couples:
“My wife and I have been married for 41 years already, but during this seminar, I still learned many things and I know that this will make our marriage more colorful. I am truly blessed. Thank you so much,” shared by a retired Coast Guard chief Bernard Louis.


“Attending this kind of seminar is really a blessing to us. Even though we are financially hard up, God has provided so that we could attend this memorable event. Our commitment towards each other as husband and wife has been renewed, and it feels like we are newly-
married couple,” expressed by Rofel and Angel Hijapon, 14 years married.


“I really thank God for this opportunity that He has given us to attend this kind of seminar. It’s our first time to attend since my husband is a seaman, the reason why he is not with us all the time. We have lots of challenges in our married life since we are far from each other, but I fervently pray that we will apply what we have heard that we will be transformed by God’s grace. May God be with us always,” according to Erenie Yap, 7 years married to Jerson Yap.


“Thank you so much, Pastor Serrano, for the wonderful topics that you have shared with us. I’m happy that even though my husband is not an Adventist, we both attended and have been truly blessed,” said Jennifer Diaz, 11 years married to Dennis Diaz.


“It’s a one of a kind seminar… Thank you so much, Pastor Serrano, for the lessons you have shared,” spoken by Rezin Hijapon, husband of Marichu Hijapon.


“We praise God for this successful seminar… I am grateful to God for giving me a good and responsible husband. He gave me a better half who understands me fully. Because of this seminar, I learned a lot especially about the things that a wife should do in the home,” according to Jean Jomuad, 20 years married with Renato Jumuad.


“We consider ourselves as newly-wed couple, and we are delighted to be part of this memorable event because we are still on our adjustment period. The messages we heard were so timely for we can’t deny the fact that couples really have fights and misunderstandings, and it’s nice to be reminded. Now, we already know and understand our individual differences as husband and wife,” shared by Mr. Richard Hijapon, 1 year married to Deborah Hijapon.


This three-day seminar was realized through the efforts of Canduman SDA church members under the leadership of the head elder, Ranel G. Hijapon and his constituents. It was ended on Sunday afternoon with praises and thanksgiving to God for the success of the program. They are looking forward to the next couples’ retreat!


About the writer:
Ranel Hijapon is the head elder
of Canduman SDA Church, Canduman, Cebu City.

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