On June 3-5, 2016, Anabaptist Teaching Ministries conducted a weekend family conference in Minsk, Poland. The conference was held under the auspices of the Anabaptist International Ministries. Lavern and Lolita Hershberger and their family direct the ministry there. The ministry consists of a church plant and an English school. Four VSers are teaching at the school along with Lavern. I was the speaker and was accompanied by my wife, Linda and daughter, Abigail.
There were about 80 people in attendance representing a broad variety of ages. Most were complete families. The conference is held annually. The facility was a large, beautiful, multistory house designed for such events. The facility is owned by a group that ministers to Jewish people in an effort to introduce them to the Gospel.
The conference theme was “A Family After God’s Heart”. Topic titles were as follows below:
1. Three Altars-Dt 6:4-9
2. Biblical Manhood-Gen 1-3
3. Five Rules for Intimacy in Marriage-I Cor 7:1-5
4. Marriage Harmony-II Sam 6:12-23
5. Loving our Children-Mt 17:5
The group was quite attentive and also very interactive. They represented a tiny slice of Polish society who have chosen to have sizable families and who found themselves at odds with prevailing cultural norms because of the values they have chosen to live. They were a refreshing group with which to fellowship. It seemed evident that for many of them the concepts presented were new. They were eager listeners. The family topics resonated well with the gathered families.
Their questions both public and private included the following questions. “How can I meet the varying interests and needs for a variety of ages for our family worship?” “What do you mean by an altar?” “What do you mean by an intense time of worship with God?” “What would have happened if Adam had not sinned and Eve would have?” “Who was a mentor for you as you grew up without a father?” “Is is sinful or carnal to have physical intimacy? What about birth control?” “What does Jesus mean when he warned those who have babies that it will be difficult (when Jerusalem was destroyed)?”
It was joy to respond to their questions as best we could and to have them even answer each other’s questions. I always enjoy hearing them discuss the issues that were presented in from their cultural perspective. The concept of a regular family worship seemed like a new thought to many of them. One couple told me that they were going to go home and build a family altar that very day. God bless them all!