Today Theresa Turns the big 5-0!!
Theresa and I met in 1987 at a church…which is a good thing…but the place…might be out of the ordinary…it was in Las Vegas, Nevada. I was on staff leading worship and student ministry at West Oakey Baptist Church, She had just moved to Vegas with a job transfer. T as I will call her, had never been to Vegas and had no idea how important her arrival would be for us. We were both 25.
What is so amazing about this story is T is from Beaumont, Texas…a town south east from Houston. I am from Baldwin Park, California, a town outside of Los Angeles. How do two people, from these two places, eventually meet and get married? T did not move to Vegas from Beaumont…she had moved from Washington DC to Vegas! So now the odds were even higher that we were not supposed to meet.
So how did T end up at a church in Las Vegas?
I’m glad you asked…She transferred to DC to clean up the ‘books’ (a fancy accounting word) at an office her company owned. But there was stuff going on with the ‘books’ (too many to mention in this post) so she asked her boss for a transfer after only 6 months. But in that small amount of time, she had began attending church again and getting involved in a singles group at a local Baptist church. When she told her singles group leaders she was moving to Vegas, they were surprised she would be leaving so soon. But mentioned to T friends they have known for years who are members of a great church in Las Vegas. T was given their names and where they went to church.
After a few day she leaves DC and arrives in Vegas. She begins looking for a place to call home. So apartment hunting began…by this time Las Vegas had become a city of a little over 600,000 residents. So finding a place to live was pretty much unlimited because building projects were going up all over Clark County. T finds a new apartment complex on a street oddly named West Oakey Blvd. She signs a lease and feels pretty confident about her move to a new city. As she is leaving out of the development, she turns left heading east and strangely passes by a church. Her first thought is “I’ll have to check out this church on Sunday.” “Pretty convenient to have a church in walking distance from where you live.” The name of the church…West Oakey Baptist Church.
Sunday comes and T makes her way to church…no doubt given its name because of the street where it is located. The first person she meets is man named Ray Cathcart…a white haired man who was outside greeting people as they walked up to enter the church. Ray shook hands with everyone and made a great ‘first impression’ to those coming to church. Ray was one of those guys that made your day…T was no exception, he quickly knew that she was a guest to West Oakey. Being from Texas and still having an accent, he knew she was not a local. T attended the service and when Pastor Michael Rochelle came up to welcome everyone to church during the service, he did something out of the ordinary. He recognized a couple from the congregation and had them stand…their names…Bob & Lois Freeman. T thought she recognized their names…but from where? So, after the service she introduces herself to them asking if they knew a couple, by chance, who live in Washington DC that leads a singles ministry there. Sure enough, this was the couple and this was the church her singles leaders had recommended. How amazing is that…the real bend to the story…remember that piece of paper with the Freeman’s names and the church name on it? Somehow that paper did not make it to Vegas; it got lost in the move!
T and I met that same day before the evening service. Shortly after, we dated for a year and a half and decided to set a wedding date…the big day was September 16, 1989. We had the ceremony at West Oakey Baptist Church…Michael Rochelle led the ceremony…the Freeman’s were there…so was Ray Cathcart he was one of my groomsmen.
To be part of a story like this is amazing to me. All that God had to orchestrate to make this happen, I’m glad to be part of the story…wow!
Today we celebrate T’s 50th birthday! Happy Birthday Theresa….Rachel, Conner and I love you!!