The Couples for Christ India organised the Young Couples Conference 2018 (YCC) from 23rd February to 25th February, 2018, at the National Biblical Catechetical & Liturgical Centre (NBCLC) in Bangalore. The Conference was themed “GOD’S KNOT – A threefold cord is not quickly broken”, and revolved around the role of a husband and wife in a marriage, and the importance of God’s presence in making a marriage happy and joyful.
The event was declared open by the Country Servant A.V. Jose, who in his opening address spoke about how young couples are so vital to the community and to the society at large, how the presence of God is so vital in our lives, and the various struggles and challenges faced by young couples. With his personal life examples shared, the address was most inspiring and encouraging.
The first session of the Conference was titled “Big Daddy”, and was presented by Jimmy Xavier. He spoke about our relationship with God and our understanding of family life, and how men often fail to relate to God as a father when they begin to play their roles as fathers in their families. Through this session, the participants learnt that they are called to have a relationship of trust, submission, obedience and surrender to God as opposed to a distant, suspicious, inconsistent and demanding relationship. The session described the various lies that seem to govern couple’s thoughts about marriage and family, making it seem more of a burden and less of a gift. All the couples were encouraged to use the most powerful tool to battle against these lies – the Word of God; and how pondering on the Word enables one to truly recognize God as Father and to live out ones vocation in union with Him.
In the afternoon, the couples were audience to a talk show called “Coffee with Kim”. It revolved around some of the daily choices we tend to make for our families. The first couple, Rilson and Marina Miranda (parents of 4 children) shared about their choice to be pro-life, despite the opposition they had faced from family, friends, colleagues and health professionals. Another couple, Greg and Swapna Puthota were interviewed about the struggles they have had with finances, and how tithing and putting God first taught them how to be good stewards of their finances, and the peace of mind they now enjoy. The hot topic was about dealing with in-laws. Donald and Sharel Pinto shared their experiences of dealing with in-laws and how they tackled challenging situations, all with a dose of humour. The talk show concluded with the guests Preetam and Melissa D’Souza sharing about their willingness to serve in and through the community, while managing a family of 4 children and occasionally, in-laws. The session challenged all the couples to work towards being couples of one mind and heart and taking every step trusting in God.
In the evening all the young couples were ready to put their best foot forward for the “Dance in Worship” entertainment session, which was a competition where the delegates had to choreograph dance performances to hymns and devotional songs. The top three winners of the competition were Bangalore South, BangaloreNorth and Chennai respectively. The entertainment night was followed by a time of sharing, where couples came forward to share about how God touched their lives in different ways.
The second day of the conference focused on Love and Respect between spouses. Prajwal and Jessie Pinto presented the first session of the day “He Said She Said”, where they spoke and shared about how spouses differ from each other by virtue of being a man or woman, and how a few changes in the way we communicate can help avoid unnecessary conflict. The couples were then asked to examine situations where they may have hurt each other by their attitude, words or actions. The couples were then given time to discuss with each other and deliberate on the teaching, followed by a time of adoration and inner healing.
“P.S. I Love You” and “Love Actually” were sessions presented by Gerard and Audrey Antony. Here the couples were taught about the acronyms C.O.U.P.L.E and C.H.A.I.R.S that would help them understand how they can love and respect their spouses better. The sessions focused on the importance of sexual intimacy and having a passion plan,and the importance of couples sharing about this in their households.
The evening ended with an amazing date at “Cupids Café” where the couples were able to spend quality time with each other, besides enjoying the amazing spread of food ranging from chaat and snacks to a buffet dinner, with music for listening and dancing pleasure.
The final day began with a session on parenting, called “Honey I Blew Up the Kids”, presented by Francis and Ana Menezes, who shared about their ups and downs as they raised their three children. They also shared tried-and-tested tips on how couples can and should introduce their children to prayer and Bible reading. Finally they spoke about the responsibility of parents when it comes to correcting our children and how they can do so.
In the final session of the conference, the couples were led to understand that all that they learnt would remain only knowledge, and the only way to really apply it to their lives would be through the Holy Spirit. As they make the Holy Spirit a part of their families, they would grow and be able to look out for each other spiritually and be more available for each other.
It was truly an amazing time for all the couples, a time of not just learning, but also a time of healing.The couples being ready to continue on their journey of being families for Christ with a renewed zeal for the kingdom and passion in their hearts for each other, were encouraged to live out the Conference and through their examples to draw others to God.
With more than 90 young couples from all across the country attending the Conference, along with their kids, it was a fun filled time of growth and renewal of families, with lively hymns, action songs, exhortations, games for the couples, and inputs by various speakers. We were blessed to have the Holy Eucharist celebrated by the Spiritual Director of CFCI Bangalore- Fr. Johnson Malayil Joseph (CRS), Bishop of Gulbarga – Rev Fr. Robert Miranda, and Bishop of Dharmapuri – Rev Fr. Lawrence Pius and also be addressed by CCBI Family Commission Executive Secretary – Fr. Milton Gonsalves and Director of NBCLC – Fr. Sagaya John.
The Conference was even more effective and fruitful for all the couples, especially for those with their kids, as there was a dedicated team of youth and singles to take care of all the kids, while the couples were able to focus on the inputs of the Conference. The Kids’ Village organised for all the kids was focused on teaching the kids action songs and other small bible teachings and activities which kept the children engrossed and involved.