If you could go anywhere you wanted for a honeymoon or romantic getaway at no cost, where would you go?
Like many couples in Tijuana, Mexico, your answer may have been Hawaii. “It is just a sweet dream that one day [the couples] can walk on Waikiki beach and see beautiful rainbows,” said James and Barbarita Lee, missionaries in Tijuana with Christian Reformed World Missions.
Low wages in Tijuana make this dream nearly impossible, so the Lees worked with other ministry leaders from Tijuana church plants and did the next best thing for the church’s young married couples—bringing Hawaii to Mexico.
Dressed in their favorite Hawaiian shirts and leis, ministry leaders and young couples met at the Lees’ home and enjoyed Hawaiian-themed games, food, and music while taking part in marriage-building activities.
“We had discussions on the roles of husband and wife [and] how to manage money wisely. Spouses prayed for one another,” said the Lees, who have been excited about launching this ministry for the last few years.
After talking with some of Tijuana’s youth leaders, the Lees found out that many churches don’t have ministries for young couples. What’s more, couples are sometimes turned away from churches when leaders find out they are cohabitating before marriage.
In response, the Lees and other youth leaders from the churches they serve began this ministry for the church’s young couples last May. They see the ministry not only as a way to strengthen young marriages but to minister to couples who have left the church.
“It is encouraging when a healthy young married couple can be a role model for these teenagers,” said the Lees.
The seven young couples who participated in the Hawaii ministry shared the ongoing joke that they went to Hawaii together, greeting one another with “alohas.”