Family Counseling Goes International

Pastor Rudy in the Dominican Republic was living out, “The harvest is plenty, but the workers are few,” as he shared that the IBQ church was growing, and many new couples were attending. “They are desperately seeking God’s help, as they struggle with economic stress, generational family dysfunction and pandemic-related effects of isolation. They need specific Christian guidance for their marriages. Can STCH Ministries help us?”

We began to pray. Could STCH Ministries Family Counseling staff be helpful? Every endeavor requires faith, effort and a decision. With a heart to meet the critical needs of marriages, Eron Green and Family Counseling leadership took a faith step, and plans began. Counselors, Mark Kass, from Houston and Caleb Barnet (Counseling Director in the Rio Grande Valley) volunteered and on October 6 they boarded a plane for the Dominican Republic for a three-day marriage conference. They were joined by three American couples from City Rise in Houston.

Plans included morning sessions with the American couples joined by STCH Ministries partners, Russell, his wife, Mio, Dr. Francisco and Robert Alcantara. The therapists reviewed the material and verified it was relevant to the Dominican culture. In the evening the sessions were repeated–a large group presentation, followed by small group discussions.

Coed groups of couples were a new experience in that environment. Would Dominican men talk if the wives were present? However, it was decided that a small group would allow couples to apply material personally and culturally, which was critical for the benefit of the teaching.

God’s Spirit was present in an amazing way, as the therapists shared information on God’s vision for marriage, building a friendship, conflict resolutions, forgiveness and communication strategies. More than 50 couples attended all three days. As they broke up into ten small groups and shared a small snack, the conversations began. Bonds were quickly formed. Men and women both participated, and at end of the discussion time, the couples were not ready to leave!

As they left the conference, many couples shared the impact on their marriages. Comments included, “We decided to pray together. We now have tools to resolve our conflicts. I understand what forgiveness requires. I never knew my husband and I were supposed to build a friendship. We have decided together what God’s purpose is for our marriage. We need to prioritize couple-time, communication is critical. We renewed our love for each other.”

Pastor Rudy and Patria were almost speechless with wonder and gratitude. God’s Spirit impacted every heart–newly married, older couples, marriage partners who previously refused to come to church, unbelievers, new believers and mature Christians. As the conference ended, Pastor Rudy handed out a book to each small group for them to continue meeting over the next few weeks.

“Go into all the world, and make disciples,” Jesus commanded.  Sometimes disciple-making happens through a marriage conference.


Joanna Berry
Joanna Berry
Vice President of Family and International Ministries
STCH Ministries