The Shumaker Family's Blog

God is changing our couples

When I first arrived in Africa I realized that the African family was much different than the American family.  I am not saying that all of their customs are bad or that the American way is totally right.  In fact, all over the world the family structure has become weak.  The devil has greatly attacked the home.  Whether in America, Africa or anywhere else families have many problems.

When I first walked into an African church the men were seated on the benches on one side, the women in the middle and the youth on the other side.  Men and woman didn’t sit together nor with their children.  I was told that this was their custom and it wasn’t worth my time trying to change it.  If you didn’t visit their house, it was hard sometimes to know who was husband and wife.

The African young people didn’t have a good model of a father and mother that loved each other.  Many older men have multiple wives (3 or 4).  Each wife lives in their own one room house.  The husband lives in his own room.  For the most part there is no love.  The wife is basically a servant of the husband.  She is to feed him and take care of his needs, but if he doesn’t want to be with her, that’s his perrogative as well.

In the relationship between the husband and wife there would be no affection.  He doesn’t hold hands with his wife.  He doesn’t put his arm around her.  A couple could be married for 50 years with giving one kiss.


When I came to Burkina Faso I was determined that we would have change the mentality of the couples of our church.  I didn’t want to make Americans out of them but Christians (a family where the husband and wife love each and have a good relationship with each other).

It took many years of fighting and trying to give a good example.  Honestly, I almost gave up.  I asked Pastor Austin Gardner to come and preach on the husband and wife relationship.  God began to work.  Actually I think He was working the whole time, but this was the first time it was evident.  A miracle happened (doesn’t sound big for most but it was huge), four different couples came to altar to pray together.  Not saying it hasn’t happened before in Africa but it was the first time I have seen it happen here.  It was beautiful.

When I got back from furlough I found out that our newly married couples were struggling.  One of our preachers was on the brink of separation.  I knew that something had to be done.  God directed us to start a Tuesday night couple’s class.  We have been doing this for 7 weeks.  It is amazing what God is doing in their lives.   Each meeting started with a game to help each couple work together. We have had a blast doing this.  One week we did a three legged race.  They had to put their arms around each other, hold a spoon and a little ball in the spoon, run down touch the wall and give the spoon to their mate and run back.  At the finish line they had to kiss to finish it.

Below is a picture of another game that we played.  The man had to pick up candy with his mouth from off a bench.  Then run to his wife and give it to her without using his hands.  Then she had to run and drop the candy on the bench.  Man did we ever laugh at this one!

After the game time, we had biblical and practical teaching.  The teaching has even helped me in a great way.  I realized that I still have a lot of room to grow as a husband and a father.  Sometimes, I lack patience and do not appreciate my wife like I should.

We have seen couples begin to sit together at church, which have never or rarely ever done it before.  We have seen couples pray together at the altar.  We have seen men wash the dishes or cook for the first time.  We have seen them begin to pray together and read the Bible together at home.  We have seen them start to communicate with one another.

As for the couple that was struggling, God has done a miracle in their marriage.  They are learning to communicate and make important decisions together instead of each one doing their own thing.

3 Responses to “God is changing our couples”

  1. David Gates Says:

    Praise the LORD!The couples seem to be the same here at the Egyptian church. I praise the Lord for what He is doing in Burkina and pray God will work here down the road to see similar changes here, as well.

  2. Christian Heiss Says:

    That is just fantastic! Only God is able to change lives like that!

  3. farida Says:

    i LOVE THIS!!

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    Rome Baptist Temple
    P.O. Box 1023
    Rome, GA 30162
    Pastor: Dr. Billy Goolesby
    Phone: (706)232-8969

    06 BP 9460 Ouagadougou 06
    Burkina Faso
    Phone: (706)534-8965

    Macedonia World Baptist Missions Inc.
    P. O. Box 519
    Braselton, GA 30517

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