Marriage Conference – April 4-6, 2008

Eagle Mountain Inn, Jackson, NH

What do an oasis and a mountaintop experience have in common?
Ask any of the 200 attendees of our recent marriage conference and you may hear responses that include “both are refreshing,” “both are life-giving,” “both are sought after and enjoyed once found.”

From the pen of one couple…
All I can say is WOW!!!! What a wonderful weekend. We were a little unsure of what to expect with this being our first marriage conference, and let me say that we are all ready for next year!! I can't even put into words what an impact it had on us. Thank you!!!!!

I’ll be honest…even I can’t capture with words how impacting the weekend was for us personally, and from what we’ve heard, for many others. Sold out weeks in advance and having a waiting list that never cleared, the level of interest and enthusiasm for the weekend was high. “High” actually also describes the levels of energy, responsiveness, eagerness, and expectation.

Danny and Rayna Oertli ( flew in from Colorado to lead worship and to serve as resident musicians for the conference, and once again “knocked it out of the park.” Their music is powerful and their gift for leading worship is uncommonly unifying and glorifying. They delighted all by performing a $200.00 per person concert Saturday night, supported by concessions of popcorn and slushies, and decorated by glo-bands. Fortunately we had 204 tickets donated to HIM, which were handed out to all conferees.

Another conference attender wrote:
Thanks so much for such a wonderful weekend. My wife and I enjoyed it very much. Informative workshops, great sessions, wonderful music and worship, good accommodations, terrific food. The whole nine yards, very well done and much appreciated . . .

Six relevant and well-attended workshops were offered twice during the weekend. Some couples found oasis and others had mountaintop experiences as they were encouraged to develop an exceptional marriage by Ryan and Kelly Plosker; to grow their marital spirituality by John and Marilyn Nugent; to let God meet them during times of difficulty by Danny and Rayna Oertli; to intentionally have fun by Doug and Julie Macrae; to work towards more positive relationships with in-laws by Seth and Melanie Bilazarian, and to celebrate their differences in a temperament session lead by Paul and me. It was very affirming of the work of the Holy Spirit as many couples commented that their chosen workshops were exactly what they needed.

I just wanted to thank you guys so much for a wonderful weekend! I feel like we learned so much. We've been spending a lot of our efforts on parenting our kids (8, 10, and 12 years old) for a long time—this weekend's talks and workshops served as great reminders that we need to be making an effort to keep growing in our marital knowledge and love as well.

The oasis theme was carried out convincingly, as Doug and Julie Macrae adorned wall space and table tops with colorful palm trees and palm tree balloons. Leis and goodie bags were given to each guest upon their arrival by registrars Guy and Barbara Steele, Richard and Kit Hendricks, and Steve and Janet Hathaway—and all the H.I.M. Board Members wore custom-designed Hawaiian shirts (with turtlenecks underneath)! John Nugent and Paul emceed the weekend, stirring the crowd with interactive questions and rewarding them with gift cards and candy.

Ted and Lauren Hall tended the book table, which did a brisk business as couples bought resources to supplement their growth.

Paul and I spoke at the four main sessions and truly were inspired by the “oasis” theme. It was especially fun to develop the contrast between a “mirage” and a true oasis, challenging the couples to not settle for a counterfeit but to keep pressing towards the real En Gedi.

The quaint, sweet Eagle Mountain House provided a wonderful “oasis” for couples thirsty for time away from the oft times dehydrating demands of life. Great food, comfortable rooms, and welcoming ambience combined to make it a nurturing and renewing getaway.

God blessed us with a gorgeous day on Saturday, and many couples took advantage of the free afternoon with spring-like weather to hike, shop, or enjoy the view from one of the many rocking chairs perched on the expansive deck of the historic Eagle Mountain House. H.I.M. marriage conferences are intentionally scheduled with equal amounts of free and structured time in order to provide for recreation and reconnection as well as instruction and encouragement.

One couple summed it up well:
What a blessing and privilege it was to attend your marriage retreat this weekend. What a treat it was for the two of us to spend some time re-evaluating where we are in our marriage and to just be together—just us. Our desire is that our lives as individuals and as a couple honor the Lord Jesus Christ, and though we fall short far too often, it was important to seek Him on how we could improve our walk. And it was wonderful to be with others who desire the same. Thank you for once again putting together a wonderful weekend, in which I could enjoy my husband’s company, gather with good friends and meet new people.