Three decades of marriage ministry
Alan and Mildred Hunt joined people from around the world last month at the biannual Marriage Week International Conference in Austria.
The couple, who introduced International Marriage Week to Bermuda in 2012, were invited by Richard and Maria Kane, the founders of Marriage Week International, to join them in Vienna for the two-day event, which ran from May 13 to May 15.
“When we initially received the invitation, sometime in late March, we didn’t think it would be possible to attend, especially on such short notice and with Covid still hanging around,” Mrs Hunt said.
“But we realised how important this opportunity was for us and our ministry, and God made it possible for us to attend.”
Mr and Mrs Hunt have supported couples in Bermuda through their faith-based agency, Heart to Heart Ministries, for more than 30 years.
The Marriage Week International Conference is a regular gathering of leaders, coordinators and people interested in the Marriage Week project, and also for anyone with a heart for healthy marriage and families in their nations.
In Vienna, the Hunts joined International Marriage Week representatives from more than 20 countries.
“One of the best parts of the conference was being able to share part of the work we have been doing locally with the delegates. I hadn’t prepared anything to share, so instead we shared our International Marriage Week Bermuda 2022 digital presentation, which we created for marriage week this year,” Mrs Hunt said.
“It was so well received and numerous people requested copies of our presentation to share and adapt for their own ministry.”
The Hunts were also excited to meet the other delegates, all of whom are active in supporting and building healthy marriages and host International Marriage Week in their respective communities.
“Bermuda is so small, but being exposed to others with the same passion for supporting marriage was wonderful. We met some amazing people,” Mrs Hunt added.
“Overall, the conference was designed to pull together people from all the participating countries and it definitely served that purpose. It highlighted the people working in marriage ministry. What was evident from the conference was that marriage is still valued and there are people who are still working in the community to help build healthy marriages.”
She continued: “One couple we met had just recently returned from Ukraine. They drove from Poland with a car full of food and supplies to help those in need. We were so moved by their experience.”
Heart to Heart ministries held their last in-person conference in March of 2020, right before the pandemic caused the island to shut down. The guest speaker at that event was Gary Chapman, the world-renowned author and speaker.
In 2021 a virtual proclamation was made by David Burt, the Premier, acknowledging International Marriage Week from February 7 to 14. This year a digital presentation was shared to encourage husbands and wives to continue to celebrate and nurture their marriage.
The marriage mentors insist that faith has played a huge part in the success of their own marriage. They have been married for over 50 years and have experienced their share of “ups and downs” but a common faith in God and commitment to each other have helped them to not only stay together but grow together as well.
“We believe in honouring God first and foremost in our marriage and honouring each other directly after,” Mrs Hunt said. “And this is how we mentor others, based on that same principle.”
Having spent such a great part of their lives in marriage ministry, the Hunts confessed that they have started to think about an “exit strategy”.
“We’ve been on the forefront of encouraging marriage and working with churches to develop strong marriage ministries for over 30 years,” Mr Hunt said. “When I consider all the years we have been in this ministry and what we have done, it has been a truly amazing experience. We have hosted off-island retreats for couples, workshops and seminars, and have brought several speakers to Bermuda.
“The pandemic forced us to slow down and take some time to focus on other priorities and we started to consider our exit strategy. But for now, we are waiting on the Lord for direction.”
• For more information on Heart to Heart Ministries contact Alan and Mildred Hunt: 293-2903; email@example.com