When a Bachelorette Party Shares the Gospel of Christ
We gathered at the beautiful location outside Palenque, Colombia to help our missionary friend, Aline, decorate for an event worth far more than gold. A group of young women would, within hours, descend upon the small resort venue to celebrate the upcoming wedding of their friend Zuni. Within a matter of days, Zuni would marry her love, Lindo.
Aline took the lead in planning and decorating for the party. She had an assortment of decorations to choose from; some brought by team members from the United States, some gathered from the village, others picked up in the city of Cartagena. Banners, balloons, crepe paper, ribbon, bows, tablecloths, door tinsel, and tissue pompoms. And, without official coordination, they coordinated perfectly!
She was also responsible for the flow of the party – games, swimming, lunch, and cake. Aline, being a missionary to the village, also felt this would be a great opportunity to share Christ with the attendees. She asked the Mother of the Bride to give a brief devotional which could include her personal testimony. There was no greater choice. The Mother of the Bride exuded the presence and love of Christ in the village, and people were drawn to her because she illuminated His love and peace.
A Beautiful Testimony
After a few bridal games, and before lunch was served, we gathered under a beautiful shelter with chairs arranged in a circle. All eyes were focused on the Mother of the Bride, Catalina. She briefly shared her testimony of being the oldest child of the village witchdoctor; about hardships in family, brokenness in marriage, betrayal, and shame. The she spoke of her decision to follow Jesus, and His healing power to transform ashes into beauty.
Catalina said, “I had fear. I was being shunned for being a Christian. I had no clear identity as a woman, I didn’t know my worth is in God. The first scripture God gave me as a new believer was from Isaiah.”
Do not be afraid, for you will not be put to shame;
do not be intimidated, for you will not be humiliated.
For you will forget the shame of your youth and
will remember no more the reproach of your widowhood.
Identity and Worth
She continued, “Identity and worth escapes us. God brought me hope through this scripture. He said, ‘You will forget the shame of your youth.’ I lived embarrassed with what was happening with my husband and his decision to take a second wife. I lived with shame from being dishonored. But I began to see that all our mistakes can be redeemed by God as lessons for our future.
“Desperate to find meaning, I looked for my significance from God. We don’t know what life is about when we don’t know God. We perish when we don’t know God and His Word. God wants us to live full lives, not in depravity.
“The second verse God gave me came out of desperation.”
This is what your Sovereign Lord says, your God, who defends his people;
“See, I have taken out of your hand the cup that made you stagger;
from that cup, the goblet of my wrath, you will never drink again.
I will put it into the hands of your tormentors, who said to you,
‘Fall prostate that we may walk on you.’ And you made your back like the ground,
like a street to be walked on.”
“People would step all over me because I didn’t know my value, my worth, and I didn’t know God was giving me dignity. When you do not know your value and the purpose of your life, you will do a lot of things.
Shaking Off the Dust
The Lord then gave me verses from Isaiah 52.
“Awake, awake, Zion, clothe yourself with strength!
Put on your garments of splendor, Jerusalem, the holy city.
The uncircumcised and defiled will not enter you again.
Shake off your dust; rise up, sit enthroned, Jerusalem.
Free yourself from the chains on your neck, Daughter Zion, now a captive.”
“Through these verses, I heard Him say, ‘Rise up. From now on, rise up and shake off the dust.’ My position and posture began to change. God began transforming my mind. “ And two years ago, God gave me a new name and dignity through Isaiah 62:2.”
The nations will see your vindication, and all kings your glory;
you will be called by a new name that the mouth of the Lord will bestow.
“He said ‘Daughter, you never lost your dignity before Me.’ That was very powerful. He said, ‘You will be a crown of glory in My hands.’”
The Crown of Glory | Worth it All!
“When you have a crown, you are chosen. God knew I needed to understand the value He was giving me. He is raising me up – making me a Queen. I heard Him say that I will not be a crown of glory for a man. I will be God’s crown of glory. It’s not just a crown, but a diadem. These are representations of the highest positions on earth, but in God’s hand, I am a Queen.
“Woman, you are worth so much to God. You are a crown of glory for our Father. In God’s hand, you are a Queen.”
“When I was bound, it’s because I needed God to give me another identity. No one will crush my dignity anymore. I told the Lord, ‘I believe you have the power to fulfill your Word that says, Your Creator is your husband.’ I had a hard time accepting this. How do you look at God as a husband? How is that possible? He wanted to fill those areas of my heart that my earthly husband could not fill. I was abandoned and sad, both physically and spiritually.
“When a married woman is rejected by her husband, she feels denied, rejected, without worth. Rejection produces a lot in the heart and breaks self-esteem. You think destructively, you believe you are not enough, and you believe you will never be good enough. Rejection produces these things in us. Isaiah 54 described me, and Isaiah 62 awakened me to my identity.”
Deeper and Deeper
As the Mother of the Bride shared, the conversation went deeper and deeper into the heart of God. The attendees interrupted her story with questions about life and scripture. They wanted to know how God heals wounds. They were interested in learning how to walk out the mistakes already made in life and rising above them to make better decisions.
But the main desire on the hearts of these 14 young women was to have a husband who would love God, honor them, and not dispose of them for someone else, as was the culture in their village. Isn’t faithfulness the desire of every woman’s heart? To have a mate who will indeed “have and hold her all the days of their life?” The women shared how their identity had been crushed with rejection, betrayal, and pain. They expressed how they are drawn to the peaceful woman of God, the Mother of the Bride, because she wears the crown of being God’s child and she walks in His ways. The more they talked, the deeper into the heart of God they were drawn.
Catalina closed her testimony with encouragement. She said something like this, “Women are seeking their completeness and fullness from men. Worldwide, our value and worth, our identity, is only found in Christ – He created us, and He alone can give us our identity and purpose. The more we lean into Him, the more we allow Him to take us deeper into His heart, the more we come to understand who we are, what we have to offer to others, and how to respect ourselves to attract the man God has set aside for us.”
The Truth of Scripture
So, how did a bachelorette party turn into an evangelistic session? The Bride to be would soon marry a man of God who was converted to Christianity in their village, serious about his relationship with Christ, and committed to be married to one woman in love and faithfulness. This upcoming union awakened a hungering and awareness in the hearts of the other women to desire the same kind of husband for themselves. Understanding the difference in the soon-to-be groom and the other non-Christian men in the village gave the women insight into the difference Christ makes in the life of those who trust in Him. They saw the difference and they desire to live in that different place.
How did the bachelorette party end? With prayer. Focused prayer. Prayer over the bride and prayer over the women in attendance. A sweetness and closeness of the Holy Spirit was evident as we moved into the next activities of the celebration; but the sweet spirit of Christ lingered throughout the day.
Prayers for This Village
Will you take a few moments and whisper a prayer for the village of Palenque? Ask the Lord to raise up godly men and women within the village who will honor Him and bring a change of culture to this community. A renewed culture that values God, family, and fatherhood!
And pray for HCL Ministries founded and led by John and Susie Bell. They have been on mission in Palenque since 2005, building community and family among the people. This year, the seeds of previous missionaries and their labor have produced much fruit! The harvest is plentiful. Pray for their continued work in turning this small village into a major lighthouse for Christ in the country of Colombia … and to the nations.
HCL Ministries is in the process of building a Lighthouse, Casa de Luz, in the village. This will be a place for discipleship and evangelism, prayer and deliverance, family, and community. If you would like to donate financially to their ongoing work in the village of Palenque, South America, you can learn more at www.hclministries.com.