Category Archives: Ministry

An Impromptu Wedding

On Tuesday of this week, our assistant took a phone call from a young man who was looking for a place and a pastor to marry him and his fiancé . . . that day if possible. She told him our policies/procedures and also told him that we were in the middle of Vacation Bible School this week, so our facility looked more like a tropical island than a church.

He said that he didn’t mind, he just wanted to get married as soon as possible because his fiancé was expecting a baby and they wanted to get married in a church rather than the courthouse. He explained that he had all the paperwork and was ready to go. She told him that she would check with the pastor and get back to him. Since my husband’s schedule was already full for the week, I offered to do the wedding, but wanted to make sure they were OK with a woman doing the ceremony.

She called him back and he said it would be an honor and it would be different and he would love it. I called him on Wednesday. As we chatted, I could tell he had some type of accent, which sounded Middle Eastern. We talked over a couple details and set the time for 1pm the next day, which gave us about 45 minutes between when VBS was over and when the wedding would start.

I hung up wondering what I had gotten myself into and went to work preparing a brief and simple wedding ceremony. As I was preparing, I got the idea to go get a little “wedding cake” so we could celebrate with them after the ceremony. I texted our assistant to let her know the details and invite her to the wedding and before I knew it, she was helping by getting flowers and sparkling cider to make the celebration complete.

cake and flowers

As VBS was ending, I changed into my dress and began to prepare for the wedding. Some of the VBS volunteers were wondering why I was dressed up. Imagine their surprise when I told them we were doing a wedding after VBS was over. They could not believe it! As word got around, people jumped in to help. Soon the Auditorium was serving a dual purpose – VBS on one side, Wedding on the other.

half vbs half wedding

cake table

A few people even wanted to stay for the wedding which was wonderful because we knew they didn’t have any guests who would be attending.

Shortly before 1:00, the happy couple arrived. We introduced ourselves to them and learned that he was from Uganda and she was from Saudi Arabia. She was a stunningly beautiful young woman. When she saw me in my dress and the pretty table with flowers and cake, she said she wished she would have dressed up more. Mark offered to give them a ride home for her to change. She came back with her hair done up and a long, flowing dress.

The ceremony was short but sweet as they repeated vows and pledged their life and faithfulness to each other. There were a couple of times I had to choke back the tears. Weddings are such a precious time of hope!

ceremony

me and the happy couple

After the ceremony, we took pictures and then gathered around the table. Mark then walked them through a few American traditions. The one the groom liked the best was kissing the bride when anyone clinked on the wine glasses. He said he would institute that tradition in his home from now on into the future. They also shared with us wedding traditions from each of their respective countries. Ugandan traditions consisted of goats and feasting and a game where the bride goes to look for her groom among the guests. Saudi Arabian tradition was much more formal, where the guests are separated between male and female.

cake eating

Sparkling Cider

We ended the reception by signing the paper work and getting their email addresses so that we could send them the pictures we took. Both bride and groom said they couldn’t wait to send their moms pictures. They were truly touched by our kindness and said they didn’t expect us to make the day so special. In fact, they kept thanking us over and over and over again. By the time they left, they were no longer strangers, but friends.

While we were cleaning up from this impromptu little soirée, we realized that we were the ones who were blessed that day. Of all the churches in Cheney, God blessed us by leading this little couple to our doors. He trusted us to show His love to a young couple who were far away from their homelands and families. We got to be stand-in family and friends as they committed their life to each other and began their life as a married couple. AND it only cost us a little bit of our time and $25 to make a (potentially eternal) difference in their lives.

Only heaven knows how many future generations will be positively affected starting August 6, 2015. (Oh, and by the way, we are already planning a baby shower for their baby who will be born sometime around the first of the year *smile*).

God works in amazing and often mysterious ways. What a privilege to be included in his plans!

Your Friend in Ministry,

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Lessons Learned the Past 10 Years, Part 1

Last week, I shared the story of our journey to Cheney 10 years ago. In some ways, it seems just like yesterday. In other ways, it seems like a lifetime ago. Time passes both like a flash of lightning and at a snail’s pace simultaneously.

There have been many ministry lessons that I have learned these past 10 years. Although what I’ve learned is in the context of serving at a church, I believe these lessons can be translated into other parts of life as well. In the next few blog posts, I will be sharing several lessons learned. I will start with the number one thing:

#1) How to Keep Family before Ministry

God’s ordained order of priority in life is #1 God, #2 family, #3 work. When you are “work”ing in ministry, sometimes the lines get blurred between God and work and then family is what suffers. My relationship with God is separate from working in the church. It is obeying Him, spending time with Him, honoring Him in my thoughts and actions.

As I keep God first, my next priority is to my family, the very people He placed in my home. I need to spend adequate time with them in order to build strong relationships with each of them – hubby and each child. I am foolish when I expect my schedule or others to make boundaries for me . . . that’s just not going to happen. If I am going to have proper boundaries, I am going to need to be the one to set them.

It can be difficult to have both mom and dad working in ministry. Yet, I am grateful that I have been able to set my schedule so that my family comes before work. This past year has been sobering for me as I realized I have 5 years left before my youngest graduates from high school and leaves home. Only 2 years for my daughter. I don’t want to have regrets that I didn’t spend as much time with them as I could because I was too busy “doing the Lord’s work”. For the past 16 years, the “Lord’s work” has been raising my kids as much as it’s been teaching His Word or discipling women or praying for others.

I have been so blessed that as I have set my boundaries for what is healthy for our family, our church leadership and congregation has gotten on board and not had unrealistic expectations of what I can do in the church. They have been a gift of God’s grace to me and I believe both our family and our church have been blessed because we are following God’s order of priorities.

How about you? Are you following God’s order? Is He first? Does He get your time? How much of your heart does he have right now? Is there anything you are placing as more important than Him?

Now what about your family? Do they have a higher priority of your time and attention than your work, or even your “ministry”? If someone asked them, would they say that you make them a priority? Do they feel loved and cared for?

Finally, your work. Whatever God has called you to do; He will give you the ability and strength to do. Rely upon Him and His strength. If you are in a busy season of life, use wisdom in how you spend your time. There is only so much you can get done in a day. There is always tomorrow. I promise you, if you keep God first and then your family next after that, God will help you with your work, whatever that may be! Take it one day at a time. Say “No” when you have to. Rely upon Him and His strength.

You can do it. I believe in you.

Your Friend in Ministry,

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10 Years in Cheney!

Ten years ago this week, my husband backed a big moving truck into our driveway and my then six year old daughter and three year old son climbed up into it before our friends began filling it up with boxes that contained our life over the past six years.

Moving truck 2005

Although we were assured of God’s plan to move to a new place to pastor a hurting little church, we were very sad to leave the people God had called us to serve.

KCC 2005

In looking at this picture, I teased my husband that he looked so young, but that I looked about the same (*smile*)!

Here is a recent family picture, and as you can see, we have ALL matured and don’t look as young as we did 10 years ago!

Easter 2015

On April 13th 2005, that big moving truck pulled into our new driveway and people we didn’t know began unloading and unpacking the same boxes that the dear people we loved and trusted had packed just a couple days before. Could we ever grow to accept, love and trust these new people like we loved those we just said goodbye to? The jury was still out, but we were willing to give it a try.

As the boxes got unpacked and we began to get settled, it became clear to us that God was indeed calling us to love the handful of families that had just walked through several months of difficulties.

In fact, on our first Sunday as my husband was closing the service, he said these words, “Always remember that Jesus loves you very much. So do Kate and I. Have a great week. We’ll see you next Sunday.” Little did we know that phrase would stick and he has been saying it now each Sunday for 10 years in a row.

I am happy to report that YES! God has grown a deep love in our heart both for the people of our church and the people of our town. My husband and I have learned and grown as leaders and over the next few blog posts, I will be sharing some of the things I have learned these past 10 years.

At times, it has been a wild ride . . . so, just for fun, let me leave you with this fun link of a couple little girls who took a wild ride themselves and lived to tell about it!

Your Friend in Ministry,1Signature