Sunday, October 14, 2012

Fun with our M.E Family!

 A few weeks ago, we received an invitation to celebrate a Friday evening Happy Hour at Managaha with our M.E. family. We happily accepted and joined the festivities.  Father Ryan had missed the last outing so he promised us to attend this one. Thanks to Jun and Linda for transporting us to Managaha on their boat.
 Our little group of 9 (Father Ryan, Jun & Linda, JJ & Juanette, Charles & Cathy, Russ & me) had the beach to ourselves. And, it was sunny!
 What made this Happy Hour memorable was not only the special people, drinks and food, but the idea that sprung from our not-so-sober-minds about attending the M.E. Weekend in Guam to all be re-encountered together.
 Father Ryan also did his share to feed the little fish since we had enough food for 50.
 We waded in the water for hours, watching the sunset cruise boats and the natural beauty from Managaha. We realized just how great Saipan is, when we want to focus on the positives. Despite all the negativity that surrounds our daily lives, our island is spectacular.
 That Happy Hour was a month ago and last weekend, we made good on our word to attend the Marriage Encounter Weekend in Guam. The Weekend's venue was at the Guam Marriott. The Atalig's, Cepeda's, Pangelinan's and Tagabuel's all joined together.
 On Friday night, the Marriott's big event was M.E. but next door was the MMA fight (Preba Hao). Of course, the M.E. Community was louder than the cheers heard from the ringside stands.
 Marriage Encounter is a worldwide, non-profit organization, started 40 years ago in the states.  Guam and Saipan each have their own communities and we're proud to be active in ours.  M.E. brings couples together to share in the joy of relationships. We all know that marriage isn't easy and all couples go through their ups and downs. With M.E. and its strong emphasis on communication, we can tackle life's hurdles together. M.E. is the best thing we've done and we wish that all couples would take the chance to not only experience it, but to practice it in their daily lives.  It makes a huge difference when we communicate with each other. The M.E. community knows that we're here to support each other. And those who are strangers to M.E. have no idea how great it is . It's like they've able to buy the winning lottery ticket but afraid to go to the store to purchase them.  The biggest misconception is that they think it's only for those who are struggling in their marriages.  Believe me, we all struggle sometime. M.E. is really for those who risk to share their thoughts and feelings with their spouse and don't care what others think.

M.E. is far better than winning any lottery, but sadly, many couples fear that attending an M.E. Weekend signals that their marriage is in trouble. It's a huge misconception. Of the 5000+ couples who've been encountered in Saipan, we know that it supports marriage and families. In the US, the M.E. statistics show a 2% divorce rate for couples who've been encountered. Compare that to the 50%+ divorce rate among the average population.

M.E. is also great because it allows people to help others. We received a touching love letter from our Angel Couple, the Stettenbenz's, who we only met that Friday evening.
We've spent a lot of time together lately as we're planning the next M.E. Weekend in Saipan (19~21 October 2012) to welcome 20+new couples to our community. It's a labor of love as we're all volunteering our time and energy to ensure that the new couples experience a weekend of a lifetime.
 Father Jeff San Nicholas was the presiding priest during the weekend. He not only is the only Guam M.E. priest but also the principal of the Father Duenas Memorial School. He was missing the school's homecoming football game while he was there with us on Friday evening. Father Jeff has a huge heart and is devoted to the church and M.E.

After being encountered, we were showered with gifts, candles and hugs. The M.E. weekend brings couples together because it gives us precious time to talk to each other without any distractions. The talks are directed by three presenting couples and a presenting priest and it's a completely structured, organized program that provides all couples with profound insight about each other.  For anyone in Saipan interested in joining the M.E. Weekend at the Kanoa Resort next weekend, call me at 285-1168. It will be the best decision you've made!

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