Impact Story: Ivan & Paola, A Family Saved

CMI Impact Story: Ivan & Paola

Ivan and Paola met at a party in 2005. The romantic spark was instant. But the relationship that followed brought a decade of turmoil and pain.

A month after their initial encounter, Paola discovered she was pregnant. When she told Ivan, he panicked. He longed to be a good father, but couldn’t imagine letting go of his weekends and string of women.

Fast forward nine months. Ivan and Paola became the proud parents of Juan José. They decided not to get married but tried moving in together to raise their son.

Their attempt at family failed. No matter how bad Ivan wanted to be a great father, he couldn’t control his desire for other women. This left Paola angry, jealous, and filled with self-doubt. They soon separated.

Trying to raise their son together kept them connected. Months past. Things would get better, then worse, then back to better again. Ivan and Paola decided to give it another try. They moved in together once more but the patterns continued. Along the way, they added their second child Doménica but separated again soon after.

Even after marrying, they still couldn’t get it right. Ivan pursued other women while also trying to be a good father. Paola became bitter and resentful. Faking family was exhausting and painful.

Ready to give up, Ivan and Paola agreed to give it one final chance. They were desperate—so desperate they accepted an invitation to attend a marriage retreat put on by Puembo—a church planted with CMI’s help in 2010. That’s when everything changed.

At the retreat, Jesus saved Ivan and Paola. His love and grace flooded their broken lives. And the Puembo Church became the family they longed for.

Since the retreat, Ivan and Paola have received help and found deep healing. Ivan finally received soul care for the years of sexual abuse he suffered as a young boy. This ended Ivan’s painful pattern of seeking acceptance in the arms of multiple women. Paola, once filled with anger over the 30+ year infidelity she witnessed in her own father, now sees God as her Heavenly Father who will never fail her.

Today, Ivan and Paola help other couples who come to Puembo Church in need of hope. They openly share their story of how Jesus saved them, their marriage, and their family so other families may know the saving hope of Jesus.

This story appeared in the CMI Encounter Newsletter, Issue 1: Fall 2018. Download the Newsletter.