This is a love story wrapped within a love story. Grab your hankies, Ladies!
Love story, Part 1: There’s a man in my church named Jeff. He met a Philippina named Frecy (pronounced Fray-see) online, went over to the Philippines to meet her in person, and proposed to her. He brought her with him to the United States, and as soon as they landed, they were married by a Justice of the Peace. This was in January of this year. She became pregnant.
Love story, Part 2: Frecy has become a part of the women’s Bible study group at my church. One morning in Bible study, she mentioned to the others that she had always wanted a church wedding. Well, say something like that in a group of mostly older women from my church and your wish is their command. They jumped on the idea and said, “We can make that happen!” One woman named Kris brought out a wedding dress she had bought thirty years ago and never liked, and Frecy said, “Oh, I love it!” She tried it on and, lo and behold, in spite of her baby bump, it fit her perfectly. Kris said, “You know, I think I bought this thirty years ago for you!” Turns out, one of Kris’s past careers was as a wedding planner. She helped with the flowers, made the cake, and cooked a dish from the Philippines. The other women also chipped in, making salads, decorating the church, etc. Pastor Nancy let it be known that if anyone wanted to contribute to a cash gift for the strapped bride and groom, they could put money in an envelope for them.
Nancy has been preaching a series about the names of God. Today she selected passages where God described Himself as a husband to Israel and she explained how that applies to the church, to married women, to single women, and to men. During children’s time, she talked with the kids about what it means to be married.
After church, there was a fifteen minute intermission and then we all settled in for a wedding.
So now about the guy I mentioned earlier…
Quakers have a time of open worship during the service. This is traditionally a time of silence when anyone can speak if they feel moved by the Spirit. In our church, it generally ends up being a time for prayer requests, but this morning, Steve, who had never been to our church before, spoke a word from the Lord. It was a word I particularly needed to hear because I’ve been having some existential angst in the last couple weeks. He said that God has a purpose for us here. It was like God was speaking to me because in my prayers I’ve been asking, “Lord, why did You create me? What is it You want me to do? Why do You need someone here with my particular strengths and weaknesses?”
I was so appreciative of what Steve said that after the wedding I asked him what his spiritual background is. He told me that he had grown up in a Christian family in Ellison Bay. I said, “Oh, really? My husband and I just moved to Ellison Bay.”
“Where in Ellison Bay?” he asked.
“On Ranch Lane,” I said.
He asked me, “Did you buy Jean Brandt’s house?”
“Yes,” I said.
He said, “She’s my grandmother!”
I told him that I had met his grandmother a couple weeks after we moved in. She had left some things that I thought she might want so I invited her over to get them. At the time, she had said that on the built-in bookshelf in the living room, she had dedicated a shelf to each of her grandchildren. I told him to let her know that believers are in her house and that we had the house dedicated soon after moving in.
What a small world!
As soon as I returned home, my friend Kat from Seaquist, came over and I took her to the tea room I work in. She was delighted with it and in the tea shop she found a brand of tea she likes but never knew where to buy it from. After we left, she took me to a gallery that’s right here in Ellison Bay, about a block from where I live. The gallery is Asian. We met the young couple that are working there now. The man is from China and his wife is American but has been living with him in China until now. They were very interesting to talk with, and the gallery was interesting to see. There are things they sell there that are 600-800 years old, as well as things made by people today. Kat found and bought a beautiful Chinese inscription in silver that means, “God is love”… another love story that she needed to hear today!