So often people get to the end of a Time for Marriage weekend and say “That was so good, we could do with this at home” and we hardly ever hear anything more. Not so when Dennis and Jane DeVries who live in Munich came on the weekend at Stanton House, Oxfordshire in April 2015. They went home and immediately started planning for a TfM weekend for their friends from some of the, mainly English speaking, churches in Munich. It came to fruition at the start of October 2016 with the first, but hopefully not the last TfM Austria weekend
Well Dennis and Jane approached Peter and Alison Neurauter a couple who attend the same church as they do and own and run the Hotel Club Edelweiss just across the border at Itter in Austria. Itter is a beautiful Tyrolean village in the centre of the ski region. Peter and Alison run a hotel that is focussed on skiing in the winter, but is opened for groups such as Dennis and Jane arranged during the off season.
And what a venue it turned out to be. With views of the Alps from every window, with the gentle sound of cow bells as a constant companion and great lungs-full of fresh sweet alpine air. Delicious food and a very warm and generous welcome. Peter and Alison really understood the heart of Time for Marriage and saw what God could do.
11 couples attended the weekend, which was led by veteran TfM facilitators Rob and Heather Williams and Sue and John Roseblade. All of the couples live in Munich but come originally from 9 different countries and three different continents. Not only did their national backgrounds vary, but also the length of time that they had been married from just a few months to many years. It was a privilege to be among such a lovely group of people who drank in the teaching and really entered into the activities with enthusiasm.
What was God doing?
He was opening lines of communication and bringing light into the lives of the couples. He was breaking down barriers that had been built over time and he was showing clarity in difficult situations. The feedback was very positive and all couples rated the weekend as excellent, and you can’t asked better than that.
It was wonderful to see what has been experienced in other parts of the world, that God’s plan for redemption can be found working its way out in marriages regardless of the nationality. Redeemed marriage is a timeless and boundless reality. What did the team learn? Well that just because the translation is excellent, the jokes don’t always cross cultures, and … you can mention the war just once and get away with it.