LOVE AT FIRST SITE!
I had just graduated from Christ for the Nations in Dallas, Texas and went to West Virginia to stay with my parents. They were living on a farm way out in the country. I was really enjoying the farming life of feeding the cattle and growing a huge vegetable garden on this 200 acre farm.
We were attending the church our family had attended since its history began and singing with my sister and my mother. We were called "Love Joy Peace" or the Schell sisters(when it was just my sis and I).
The Phone Call
One day I got this phone call from some nice sounding guy (John)on the other end requesting if we could sing for their church reunion. Well, I always had to ask the others if we could and they weren't home so John was going to have to call back to get the answer. We talked for a long time, I guess we just enjoyed each other right away. His side is that, he needed someone to sing for his reunion and he was not having much luck lining people up.
Prior to his call he had gone to the local christian bookstore when the owner approached him and said "You look like a nice guy." . He turned around looking to see who she was talking to. She said "I'm talking to you.". He said "Well what makes you thinkI'm a nice guy?". She then said "Well, your in here aren't you?". "And it's raining pretty hard outside." ,he said. "I've got a girl I'd like you to meet.",she said. He told her "No thank you, I'm already in a rocky relationship.". He went back on another day and asked her if she had any lists of musicians from the local area that would possibly perform for their reunion. She said, smiling real big "You want to meet that girl!". She gave him a list and put my name at the top. He says he called from the bottom up, he was not real interested since he was practically engaged. Well, he ended up having to call me after all, as you read in the beginning. There were little complications with trying to make arrangements with us to sing so he had to call several times which meant of course that we talked and talked alot. I gave words of encouragement for him to "be sure, and no doubts" about marrying this girl. He did end the realtionship with the "other" girl.It ended up that we couldn't sing for the reunion due to some problem with their piano but he called more anyway.
Arranging to Meet
We talked for 3 months on the phone until finally he got my mom on the phone and they arranged for him to meet us. She told him "Look, come out here dressed for deer hunting and check us out and if you don't like what you see, just forget us.". We had alot of hunters on the property all the time. He was amused by that but instead made a date to come out and visit.
As he pulls in front of the house with his pickup, Dad was slinging cow manure out all over the garden and I am peering out the window waiting anxiously to meet this tall bearded man whom no one would describe to me. After meeting Dad, I went out to meet him and drew him in by the fireplace. I was so forward! We all chatted for awhile and then I asked if he wanted to go for a walk and see the farm. We had a nice walk and he told me what the plants(weeds) were and what they were good for. He was very knowledgeful of the things God created. That really drew my attention.
The Next Three Months
We really felt comfortable with each, no awkwardness at all. We went on exactly 4 dates in the next three months. He was a coal miner and I was a caretaker, called a homemaker, for United Way family services program. We passed each other on the road everday, him on his way home from work(night shift) and me on the way to work.He started attending my church and felt led to be baptised in water. In his previous church he had only been sprinkled but he read and came to understand that he needed to be immersed as Jesus example had shown us. He was really deep into his relationship with the Lord and growing in wisdom and knowledge with leaps and bounds. This really impressed me, having just come from Bible College.
The night of his baptism, he seemed extremely nervous. I asked him about it and he said "No it's not that." We took his mom home after the service and we were driving back , things got a little serious. John tells me now he felt like things were getting very serious with us and that he was fearful of another relationship going bad. He was going to let me down gently and started telling me how nice I was and saw that it wasn't coming out the way he thought when he looked at me and saw a little smile and spark in my eyes and I said "Get on with it.". So he said "I feel God has it for us to be married.". I then said "Uh huh!". He pulled in my driveway and made it official. He was so sweet! We were concerned about how to tell my parents but I told him God would show us the way. He walked in our house and started playing "Here Comes the Bride" on the piano. Everyone in the house was surprised and Mom said "Does that mean what I think it does?". I just said "Uh huh!". Thats all I could do that night, was smile and say "Uh huh!".
He Knew We'd Be Together From The Start!
We had a beautiful wedding! We started the trend in the church for other weddings of having congregational singing during the ceremony. My family is very musical so,,,I sang to John, "He Has Chosen Me For You",not a dry eye, my two sisters sang a beautiful song(can't remember the name of it) and Mother sang "Ruths Song" from Fiddler on the Roof. I truly believe since God knows us and forms us from the very beginning that He had it all planned out how we were going to finally be united. God is so Good!
John was 24 when we met, my real dad, Ernest, died at 24. John held the same job and route as Ernest,even had been told of his tragic death and the widow left with three girls(I was 2 months old when he was killed). John was Sunday School superintendent of his church, Ernest was too. John was a coal miner by the time we met. A friend had told me I was going to marry a coal miner but I told them I wanted to marry a preacher. I married a coal miner who later became a lay minister, after attending Christ for the Nations. Very interesting how God works these things out.
We met on the phone August of '78 met in person November, got engaged end of January and married June 27, 1979.
My friend from the UK made this for us. This is from our 25th anniversary trip to O'ahu, Hawaii.
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Our Love Story
Tabitha, Our Sweetheart
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