My first exposure to what we would call family ministries was observing my father conducting pastoral visits when I was a young boy in Venezuela. Sometimes a couple would be having marital issues, and my father would try to help resolve them. Before these home visits, my father would tell me, “Son, don’t be scared by what you see. Just watch and pray.”
My father was one of the biggest influences in my life, both as a pastor and because he was passionate about family ministries. I saw how he handled sensitive family situations during home visits, even though he was not formally trained in this area. My father’s example gave me the foundation for learning how to manage family dynamics with biblical knowledge.
As a young man later in life, my personal faith was further strengthened as a colporteur. It was stressful work and required strength and endurance. The colporteur experience taught me what it means to live by faith and that every new day is truly a leap of faith.
Learning from my father and my own early personal experiences have greatly shaped me and informed both my personal faith and my public ministry. I became interested in family relationships and integrating theological and doctrinal teaching with personal and family dynamics. We often view theology and doctrinal teaching as important, but we forget that as people we also need training in healthy relationships.
This is why I felt called to equip families with tools for happy relationships and homes. When my wife, Mary, and I moved to the United States in 1985, I earned my master’s in church ministry from Loma Linda, as well as a master’s degree in counseling and eventually a doctoral degree in ministry and family relations from Andrews.
I could not do the work I do without my wife. I often say she is the key to my ministry. She is dedicated to children’s ministry and enjoys teaching them. As parents, we are very happy to see our adult children thriving in their own respective families and ministries.
Eight years ago, the Pacific Union asked me to coordinate family ministries. We have enjoyed many family-focused activities and educational events over the years, such as family weeks of prayer, hosting NAD family and marital relationship seminars, and presenting certification programs for local church leaders. During the pandemic we presented readings of The Adventist Home on YouTube.
Most recently, in October 2022, Pacific Union Family Ministries hosted a couples retreat in Hawaii. It was well attended and gave couples the opportunity to relax away from the busyness of daily life and, most importantly, to reconnect with each other.
I am passionate about helping marriages and families thrive and be happy, and this is the primary goal of family ministries. I believe there are three keys to a happy family life: 1) humility, which is demonstrated by treating spouse and children with kindness; 2) honesty, which is shown through integrity, transparency, authenticity, and treating everyone equally; and 3) respect—above all, respect for God’s law, but also self-respect and respect for spouse and children.
There are no perfect relationships, but by the grace of God and a willingness to learn and grow, you can have happy and healthy relationships.
By Edwin Mendoza
For more information on Family Ministries in the Pacific Union, email Edwin Mendoza at