Monday, February 2, 2009

What We Did this Weekend

DH and I have a huge barbecue that his brother had made several years ago. It became ours when they moved away.

This weekend we used the barbecue to cook beef for a friend's daughter's wedding. And what a wedding!

The story of the bride and groom: the bride was born here, went to school here, and attended our church since birth. As a teenager, she got the call to missions. She did some training with YWAM, "Youth With a Mission," and spent a few weeks in Africa, in Gambia.

She was hooked. She knew two things-one she had to serve the Lord in missions, and two she was being called back to Africa. She entered intensive training with YWAM, which has a major training camp here in Montana.

Kente cloth.

The groom: he was born in Central Africa Republic, the second of six children. While still very young, he lost both his parents to AIDS. The kids were on the streets. One day, he met a group of kids playing soccer, and since he was very good at it, he joined in. The group turned out to be a Christian group. He was taken in by a Christian family, found Jesus, and was raised and mentored by this family. Fast forward through the next few years-he was able to get a job and buy a house to care for his younger siblings, but he too was feeling the call to be a helper to his people, to get rid of poverty and find homes for orphans. His mentor and foster father was in YWAM, so through that program he came to the US for training. He had a choice between Hawaii and Montana. He was advised to go to Hawaii simply because it's COLD in Montana! He gave it to God and felt the leading to come to Montana.

At training, he met a gentle, genuine, caring young lady. Yep, our gal from home. They were both advanced in Bible, so to keep busy and to help the young man with English, they started studying together. They fell in love.

Saturday they got married. The church was packed, with family, friends, fellow missionaries, and a few of the groom's people from C.A.R. In our tiny, mostly Caucasian church in a tiny town in Montana, people from all over the world converged to celebrate a wedding of two people who share a rare love. They come together with eyes open to what is in store for their lives. They celebrated that the orphan gained a huge extended family. He now has someone he can call "Mom and Dad." After more training in England they will move permanently to C.A.R to work setting up foster homes for orphans.

The ceremony was American with tuxes and the gorgeous white dress, but after the wedding they changed into traditional African wedding clothes for the reception. Mom and Dad did too. The toast was in French, translated by a lady from our little church. (Who knew?) The music was a mix of American praise songs and African music. We had a lovely dinner with African flat bread, American beef, and the requisite cake. Both the American and C.A.R. flags were displayed.

Just for a bit, an afternoon and evening, the world came to our little town. We all came together to celebrate a rare and genuine love, and rejoice in the power of God's hand guiding two people to a service of Him. We had African, French, Asian, Dutch, all of one mind and heart. All for now "getting it."

150 people will be different forever. Now we know, now we understand.

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