On Monday, Nancy and I got up early to go to a "Prepare and Enrich" training seminar. Prepare and Enrich is a pre-marital (prepare) and marital (enrich) counseling program and the seminar qualifies me to administer the assessment tools that form the basis for the program. The seminars are offered at various times and places around the country. I noticed that Dr. william E. Johnson offered the seminar almost daily throughout the summer, so I registered for the course and asked if Nancy could join me.
The morning of the seminar I re-googled the address and noticed that it looked like a residential area. Thinking that I may have had the wrong address I called Dr. Johnson, and yes, the seminar was held in his home! So, with a spirit of adventure we headed out!
We had some second thoughts when the GPS took us through some questionable areas of Atlanta (we should have followed Google Maps), But we arrived on time at Dr. Johnson's home. Dr. Johnson, a kind, 60 year old African-American gentleman with multiple degrees (PhD, Rev, etc...) greeted us at the door. He welcomed us into his living room where we sat down to begin the seminar: two students and one professor - good ratio!
We discovered that Dr. Johnson works for the school board as a guidance counselor and therefore has time during the summer to offer the seminar on as "as needed" basis (or perhaps better - "on-demand"). So, after the initial uncertainty faded, we sat on the couch, workbook on lap, as Dr. Johnson led us through the material via PowerPoint and DVD.
The material is excellent. I can see immediate application in ministry, both for martial enrichment and pre-marital counseling. I can't wait to use the material with Michael and Lindsey as my first "Guinea Pigs"!
Nancy and I drove to a nearby "brass and fern" restaurant for lunch where we could discuss what we had been learning thus far. After we were seated I commented to Pamela, our waitress, about her beautiful smile and Nancy and I both privately sensed a spiritual connection with her. I asked, as is my habit, if there was anyway we could pray for her as we gave thanks for our meal. She immediately asked us to pray for her marriage. We did, and in ensuing conversation she shared that she wished her husband would seek counseling with her, but he refused. We had a chance to talk further, sharing some of the morning's material with her. We gave her the web-site and Dr. Johnson's contact info and assured her of our further prayers for her and her husband. Hopefully we left her with hope and a knowledge that she wasn't alone and that God was at work.
On the way home after the seminar Nancy and I had a chance to debrief, pray more for Pamela, and thank the Lord for ministry opportunities in unexpected places! How kind of God to lead us to a marriage seminar and then to an opportunity to minister to someone's marriage while strengthening our own!
Sometimes I feel a bit anxious after encounters like that. I wrongly think that the responsibility is now on me to somehow fix and rescue. But the Lord helped me to remember that just as he brought Nancy and I into this young lady's life, so he will resource her needs along the way. For a Calvinist, you'd think I would trust His sovereignty more! Oh well, we are all in process.