Edited to add: We brought very few photos with us to Argentina. I was able to find one from our wedding in the batch. Never thought about how much I'd miss having my pictures close at hand!
Today we celebrate 30 years of marriage ☺ Hard to believe we've been married that long, but it's also difficult to remember life-before-marriage.
Our story began when we met at church that first Sunday evening of September, 1978. We were both students at Grace College in Winona Lake, Indiana, but while I lived on campus, Ivan lived at home with his parents who were on furlough at the time. We ended up attending the same little country church 14 miles from Winona Lake.
We saw a lot of each other at the college library; he was writing a paper and the books he needed were on reserve and I escaped there to study. For me it was love at first sight, for him it took a little longer. A couple of weeks at least. For a month we sat at the same table in the library, getting to know one another.
The day he finished the paper he'd been working on, he asked me out and we took a walk around Winona Lake. On that first date he showed me where the Foreign Missionary Society of the Brethren Church was formed on September 4, 1900. (It happened after a group committed to foreign missions walked out of a conference when the larger group refused to consider it, and met under a tree to establish the Society.) Missions was important to both of us, even then.
We dated two weeks before getting engaged.
I'm going to give you a moment to let that sink in ☺
Yes, two weeks. We were young and in love, what can I say? At that time the college didn't allow students to marry during the school year without permission. And who in their right mind is going to permit a couple of kids who have known each other such a short time to get married?
So we waited and were married the weekend after school let out: May 26, 1979 By the grace of God -- and despite all that blue polyester -- here we are 30 years later, still married. Hallelujah!
We were supposed to take the posed photos before the wedding but when Ivan went to get dressed, there were no pants on the hanger. Oops! He had picked them up at the tailor's that morning and, after racing back to Winona Lake, he learned that the pants had fallen off the hanger and onto the driveway when he was leaving. The tailor and her family planned to go to the lake that day, but finding the pants and having no way to get in touch with us, waited until he came back. Wasn't that nice? Whew, close call! ☺ It just meant we took the photos after instead.
This morning we listened to a message by Ravi Zacharias called "I Isaac take thee Rebecca" and I have to share one of the statements he made: "The home was instituted before the church." God places a very high importance on the family!
(I'd encourage everyone to listen to this excellent message -- you can listen on your computer or download to your iPod or other device.)
In the past 30 years we've lived in 14 houses on three continents, had two children of our own and cared for others, supported one another as we (finally!) finished college, worked together in ministry, and experienced the highs and lows common to any marriage. Unequivocally we can say we'd do it all again (maybe leaving out some of the worst bits ☺) and we just give thanks to the Lord today for all He has done to keep a couple of crazy kids together after all these years.