God is working through World Challenge’s partners in Central Asia to help spouses learn how to have healthier relationships with one another.
In the gospel of Luke, Jesus is approached by a woman while he’s dining at a Pharisee’s house. She begins to weep and wash his feet, perhaps trusting in his highly unusual and even-handed treatment of women for that time and culture. As if to punctuate Jesus’ equitable posture, “When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, ‘If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.’” (Luke 7:39, ESV).
Culture and its value system for people often finds itself at odds with Jesus. The most dedicated believers will still catch themselves responding to ‘lesser’ individuals by the framework of their culture rather than scripture.
As you read this story, please remember that you too struggle to see all people — even, perhaps especially, those closest to you — as Christ sees them.
A Revelation to a Husband
Central Asian culture has a conflicted relationship with women. Unlike many Middle Eastern countries, young women tend to have many more freedoms being allowed to travel and go to school with boys. On the other hand, “bride kidnappings” are still a tradition in some areas, and one woman told a reporter, “Men never milk animals. Or wash clothes. Or cook meals. If women were not here, nobody could live a single day.”
World Challenge’s partners often have to navigate this cultural phenomenon as they teach about the four fundamental relationships: with God, with self, with others and with creation. One of the advantages of this approach is that it helps relate biblical truths to all spheres of our life. One of our partners noted, “When we go through the training, God touches people in a very unique way and helps them to grow.”
Such a moment came with one particular participant named Soran*. He and his wife, Dila*, had arrived at the trainings to learn together. As the team was talking about God’s perfect plan versus the reality that we have, they brought up how we relate to other people. They were teaching this, and God spoke to this man about his wife.
Soran started to see his brokenness in the way he related to his own wife, a woman he loved and a mother of his children. He still treated Dila as his servant who must cook, clean, give birth and satisfy him whenever he wanted. Whenever Dila tried to express her feelings and talk to her husband, he would only get angry. This is a very traditional cultural view, especially in more rural areas. He realized that he had been living his whole life in the old way of thinking, even though he’d come to Christ almost 10 years ago.
In this culture, men very rarely talk about their feelings and marriage relationships. Even more rarely will they repent in the presence of others about such issues. However, Soran felt deeply convicted and moved by the Spirit.
As he was sharing about what he learned over the training, he spoke about his willingness to change his attitudes and to love Dila the way she deserved. He said that Jesus had showed him how he should love his wife. Dlia was sitting right next to him as he confessed this, and she began to cry because she was moved by these words.
Please join us in prayer for this couple and marriage so it would bring light to many other people around this family!
*Not real name. For our ministry partners’ security, we don’t release names or locations in highly sensitive areas.