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Greater benefits for many in their daily battle of life.
  
SIXTY  YEARS                                                                       Phil Guerena Sr.

Sixty years of marriage is what we celebrated on July 14, 2017.  Amy and I have been married that long and it took a lot of work and a lot of forgiving.  But I must confess it was Amy who provided most of the teaching.  I praise God that He gave me a very excellent Christian lady for a wife, mother, and grandmother of our children.  Of course she had a very good Christian home, parents and grandparents.  I was the recipient of a godly heritage that came from her.  
When our children were in her womb she was already reading and singing to them, as well as, praying for them.  I must say that I came from a broken home where anger and resentment was normal.  We hardly practiced forgiveness and I do not remember anyone in my family telling anyone, forgive me.  We easily held a grudge against each other and others in our extended family.  I remember one time visiting an uncle who I hadn’t seen in years.  I sat down and told him that I missed him and I was glad to see him.   He opened his heart which was full of bitterness and an unforgiving spirit against my grandparents and all of our family.  I listened for almost one hour.  I never went back there again.  However, we did try to remain in contact with some of his children, my cousins, but they were easily offended and we have not seen them since. 
Needless to say, Amy married a very dysfunctional person.  Did she ever have a lot of work to do to make her marriage work.  As soon as our children were born she started reading to them, especially Bible stories.  She told me, “Phil, if you do not read to your children they will think that reading is only for women.”  Right away I understood the wisdom of her request.  So I started having family devotions.  We read the Bible, prayed, and sang.  We played table games with the children.  We hardly had any table games when I was growing up.  All this was new to me but normal for our family.
She loves to read and always had a library for our children.  Magazines and newspapers became part of our family reading.  She had amassed, at one point, about 500 books for our family; most of them bought at second hand stores.  I became a reader.  Being together as a family for meals and special occasions became normal.  Also we played sports with our boys, neighbors, and church youth.   She is from Montana and we visited her mother and former home, many times.  Yellowstone Park was a high point in our lives, especially Mt. Rushmore. 
Two of our children were born when I was a student at Grace Seminary.  She really helped to get me through college and seminary.  She would type many of my term papers that I had to hand in.  In fact, most the seminary wives did this and they earned their honorary PHT’s, “putting hubby through.”  Now we have grandchildren which she helped raise.  Anyone she touched became a better person.  So our children and grandchildren are all readers, musicians and loving, forgiving Christians just like her. 
When I was a pastor in Mexico, our best disciples were the ones who came to live with us for one reason or another.  Of course, it was because of Amy’s influence in their lives.  It seems like she constantly had good books to recommend to them.  Our church quickly caught on that
some of the best people in our congregation were the ones who lived with us.  Finally, they told me, “Pastor, we can’t all come and live with you, but we do want to be better Christians.”
You can’t all come and live with us, but I have had the privilege of living with Amy for 60 years. At the same time I know that the Lord Almighty has been with us and kept us faithful one to another.  Someone asked Billy Graham a question when he was celebrating 50 years of marriage, “how do you do it?”  He answered: “a good marriage is the union of two great forgivers.”   In my case, it was the benefit of having one great forgiver; she taught me how to forgive.  But at the same time, to God be the glory for His sustaining grace.    “For you have delivered my soul from death, My eyes from tears, and my feet from falling.”   Psalm 16:8
  
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