I don’t want to start this story too far ago, so just let me give some quick backstory. Wendie was born and raised in Person County, calling Roxboro her home. Outside of living out of town on a few occasions, she has lived here just about her entire life. I was born in the small mining town of Frostburg, Maryland. Frostburg is in the Western part of the state, nestled in the Allegheny mountains, and has a population very similar to Roxboro. My father served two terms in the US Navy, and when he got out, we moved to Roxboro when he was hired by CP&L (now known as Progress Energy). Fun fact: the first place my family lived was in the house that use to sit where the Homestead Florist is.
Wendie and I were in high school together for one year, but did not cross paths. In fact, we really didn’t cross paths for about ten years. I still remember that day: I had been riding dirt bikes with my friend Tim and his brother Mitch (I had this super fast CR250, that had been built to race and it was a beast). I was on my way home and decided to stop by the car wash to clean it when I stopped to talk to Wendie. I figured she was looking at my truck and my bike and not me, but she gave me her phone number so I called her. Our first date was in November of 1998, and for our first date I picked her up on my mom’s car (which I think was a disappointment) .We ate at Torerros when it was at the Dolly Madison hotel, and for entertainment I drove her down a dirt road and we took turns shooting up an old refrigerator with my Glock 19. I figured if a second date happened, then she was a keeper! We were engaged in the following year and we joined together as a covenant partnership on February 14, 2000.
This is how God works in our life: when we started dating, I was not a Christian and had never thought about giving my life to Jesus. I had been to church a handful of times in my life, but had never heard a clear presentation of the Gospel. The closest thing to a Gospel presentation was a coworker who would give me tracts.
After Wendie and I had been on several dates, she invited me to church, and I gave a real;y honest answer-“ you know, church isn’t my thing”. But Wendie wasn’t deterred, she cared about my eternal soul too much. She gave me a book by Chuck Swindoll that explained the Gospel. I read this book very objectively and very critically. If Swindoll was going to change my mind, he wasn’t going to do it with emotional appeal, but sound reason and logic (which I doubted would happen). However, I was wrong, dead (yes, that is a pun) wrong. The book made me aware of some things I believe I already knew were true. Yes, God does exist, there is simply no way that this universe, you or I would exist if He did not. Since God exists, I am responsible to HIm. My life was a mess, I lived totally as I saw fit, I never honored God and my past was a landfill. I felt horrible, I knew that I must be judged. However, the good news of the Gospel made it clear that God did some ingenious legal maneuvering at the cross; God perfectly punished evil and made a way for the guilty to be set free.
In 1999, I turned my entire life over to Jesus as best I knew how. I was saved, God lifted a massive burden. But that is the beginning of the story. Wendie and I were married and started life together. I felt sure God had something for me, more than I had plans for myself. Wendie and I went on a mission trip to Honduras. We had a chance to meet, preach and share with people in some of the poorest conditions on earth. We both knew that God had something more. I quit my job and started college. And here is where God used Wendie again. God caused Wendie to go to nursing school, a career that would allow her to find work just about anywhere we lived and to put me through school with the help of my parents. We paid for a full bachelors degree without any loans, grants or scholarships.
Wendie and I have served in four different churches, from being Sunday School teachers to me serving as youth pastor and into 2 pastorates. We have been on several mission trips, overseas and in this country. We have served together in many different ministries and in many different ways. God has blessed us with three beautiful young children whom I simply adore.
God knows exactly what He is doing. He has never made a mistake, and never had need for a plan B. God has used Wendie to support me in school, ministry, and child raising. She has been a sounding board and a source of excellent counsel. God knew what He was doing, when He gave me a nurse. With the biggest challenge ahead of us, I can see how God’s plan has been meticulously playing out before me, while I was living with eyes wide shut.
Our marriage is a testimony to three things:
1- The power of God
2- The providence of God
3- The grace of God
Thank you God, for being who you are and doing what you do.