David Smith, Nucla, CO
In June of 2013, my wife, Tracy, received a text message from her best friend telling us that their marriage was over. We wept and prayed. God led us to invite this couple, Josh and Michelle, to NightVision, a Christian concert series in Olathe, CO. We knew we had to do something, so we bought them tickets and wouldn’t take no for an answer.
God, unbeknownst to us, was leading us toward a divine meeting. When we arrived and began setting up, we met the people next to us, Sean and Ila. As they began helping us, God opened a door we never saw coming. Throughout the day we got to know them, and learned that they had been through an affair, and God had led Sean to salvation and restored their marriage. Amazingly, God was using them to now counsel couples who were hurting.
Josh and Michelle showed up and we spent the day getting to know each other and listening to great Christian bands. As time went by, we began to see Josh and Michelle move a little closer to each other, and even hold hands. After that night Tracy and I continued in prayer and knew we had to do more. NIghtVision was a great start, but they were still a broken couple.
Josh and Michelle began to meet with Sean and Ila as well as met for counseling with a nearby pastor friend. Meanwhile, God led Tracy and me to create a retreat that would help them see how God intended marriage to be. We called it the Married4Life Retreat.
We invited Sean and Ila to share their testimony, invited Josh and Michelle, and added a young couple from our church, Nate and Amanda. We spent a weekend in a secluded place with no internet or cell service, and shared the teaching for their marriage. It was a remarkable time together.
Within a month of the retreat Josh and Michelle were both saved by the blood of Jesus, and I had the pleasure of baptizing them in the Colorado River. Praise God! They are now obediently working with youth at their church and desiring to do more for hurting marriages. What a great story of obedience and faithfulness. If it ended there it would be enough, but God had bigger plans.
Almost immediately after the first retreat, these couples began to ask for another retreat. As I worked to develop the teachings for the next retreat, it took me much longer than I expected. Unfortunately, during that time Nate and Amanda fell into marital problems leading to an affair. Brokenhearted, Josh and Michelle, Sean and Ila, and Tracy and I stood in the gap. Through prayer, counseling, and hard conversations Nate and Amanda’s marriage was healed and they were restored. We finally had our second retreat focusing on protecting your marriage, and experienced God move again.
Wait! God doesn’t do this in small towns, does he? Lives touched, marriages healed, relationships built? God is awesome! And if this story in smalltown southwestern Colorado ended there, it would bring great honor to God. But He wasn’t done yet.
In July of 2017, Tracy began to lay out for me a vision God had given her to start Married4Life Ministries. I thought we were finished, but God had given Tracy a vision for something greater. Even now as I type this, the emotion overtakes me and tears are filling my eyes. She told me of starting a retreat center and helping as many couples as we could through this ministry. I was amazed at the clarity she had and all I could say was yes.
After much prayer, we approached the original three couples that participated in the first two retreats and asked them to be a part of this ministry, to which they all obediently responded “Yes!” On September 2, 2017, Married4Life Ministries officially started.
But now what? Where do we meet? How do we get people there? How do we pay for it? We talked about cabins, and glamping, retreats on the Western Slope, the Eastern Slope, traveling retreats, everything we could possibly think of. But once we said yes to God, He said, “HOLD ON!!!” We have seen God move in ways that we couldn’t have anticipated, and we are doing our best to keep up!
To our amazement, God provided a donation large enough to purchase a house on 20 acres in Cahone, CO. In the last year and a half, we have hosted five retreats, and currently have a waiting list. We have invited local ministries and businesses, and our brochures have even made it to police stations where officers have asked about attending retreats. Couples who have come to a retreat have spread the word to their friends, co-workers, and churches.
When we are obedient to God, God moves in ways we can’t even imagine. This was not a ministry started out of a big church in a big city. It was not a team of people brainstorming ideas and coming up with the best one. This was the heart of a smalltown pastor’s wife that God gave a vision to and we followed it. Every person reading this can do the same thing. You think God can’t use you in a small town in Colorado. Think again. And don’t be afraid to say yes when God says go!
Married4Life Ministries is available to any couple who needs restoring, equipping, or strengthening. www.married4lifeministries.com.