INSIDE STORY: Count your many blessings — name them two by two
I know I’m going to leave out many who belong on the following list, so please forgive me!
But I decided to go ahead and name 10 couples who have blessed me recently.
My hope is that my list will inspire you to make one of your own:
• Dan and Katherine Cooper: Dan is minister of the Pitman church in Sewell, N.J., which is featured in the Chronicle’s latest Churches That Work feature. When a snowstorm interrupted my reporting trip, Dan and Katherine invited me into their home rather than risk me getting snowed in at my hotel. Just an incredible, loving couple with an exceptional ministry.
• Walter and Shirley Straker: I stayed with Walter and Shirley while reporting in Ontario. One night, they introduced me to Swiss Chalet, a popular Canadian rotisserie and grill. Another night, we played cards (Walter and Shirley know some games I had never heard of. I must stress that no money changed hands!). They are the kind of couple that you meet and chat with for just a few minutes, and you feel like you’ve known them your entire life.
• Aaron and Jennifer Wilmoth: Aaron and Jenn were involved in a tragic motorcycle accident nearly a year ago. Both lost their lower left legs in the accident, which killed Michigan church elder Dan Tarjeft and his wife, also named Jennifer. I met the Wilmoths last fall and have kept up with their faith journey. The incredible way they have handled this nightmare has inspired me. Our story about them is here.
• Barry and Tonda Stafford: Tonda is one of our beloved staff members at the Chronicle. Unfortunately, Barry and Tonda found out earlier this year that their teenage daughter Rebecca has cancer. We have missed Tonda at work but keep the entire family in our prayers. We pray that God will restore Rebecca to full health.
• Terry and Suzy Brown: I got to know Terry and Suzy when I stayed with them while working on a story about Suzy’s divorce recovery ministry. Terry is Catholic but joins Suzy at the Overland Park, Kan., Church of Christ each Sunday. He made breakfast and even ironed for me during my brief stay and endeared himself to me with his terrific sense of humor.
• W.L. and Marilyn Fletcher: W.L. is on the Chronicle’s national board of trustees and a big supporter of our mission. He and Marilyn graciously opened their home to me during my recent reporting trip to San Diego. They were gone at one point when a couple showed up at their door for a Bible study. It’s so obvious that this phenomenal couple spend so much time in the Word.
• Evan and Rachel Burkett: Evan left a comfortable insurance business to become campus minister at our home church. Talk about a leap of faith. It has been a treat to watch Evan and Rachel grow into this ministry and see them in action, as we did on a recent mission trip.
• David and Barbara Duncan: This couple barely made the list, mainly because of David. But Barbara is such an exceptional wife and mother that I included them. It’s hard to believe that it’s been 10 years since David, Don Vinzant and I traveled to Brazil on a mission trip together, and David and I bonded while sharing a room and munching on Cheese Nips. David preaches for the Memorial church in Houston (and he’s a close friend, despite my love for picking on him).
• Kirk and Jenny Garrison: Kirk and Jenny came to work with the Carrollton Avenue church New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. They are doing such remarkable (and I know I am using such adjectives a lot!) ministry and really have a heart for reaching the lost in a city that desperately needs Jesus. It’s been a while since I visited with Kirk and Jenny in person, but they continue to bless me.
• Jason and Laura Dean: Jason and Laura are a few years younger than my wife and me. We first spent time with them at a couples retreat a few years ago and have enjoyed getting to know them better. Jason is one of the regular song leaders at our church. He and Laura have young children and always have smiles on their faces.
There you go. That’s my list. Now, it’s your turn: Who has blessed you?