Sunday, March 15, 2009

Namibian Nuptials

My friend met her other half, half-way around the world. I witnessed their wedding this weekend—with wonder.

This was a gal as skittish about real-life romance as anyone I’ve ever known. Oh, she loved mushy movies—much more than most people, I’d say. But to talk about—even in her earshot—anything too personal and Jessica squirmed, blushed, sometimes even left the room!

Yet there she stood, dressed to un-do any doubters in a gorgeous, gauzy gown, gazing radiantly at her equally gorgeous groom, and the whole congregation basked in the glow of their mutual adoration.

Jess went to Namibia, in southwest Africa, 2 years ago, for a 2-week stint to help take care of AIDS orphans—infants and children whose parents who had died from the disease or whose health had deteriorated to the point that they could no longer care for their family. Jess fell head-over-heels for the kids right away, and she promptly made plans to move there for good. Little did she know that the Love of her Life—her now-husband Elton—also awaited her return.

They had been introduced on her initial trip, but she had not thought much of the meeting. He was one of a few dozen staffers at the orphanage. When she went back, she delved into life at the Village and became an integral part of the staff herself.

Jess liked Elton—in fact, felt especially attracted to him. But she denied the significance and mutuality of the pull until our other friend Tina took a 3-month sabbatical to join Jess as a volunteer at the orphanage. Tina was there for just 1 week before she felt compelled to say something about the chemistry between ‘this man and this woman.’ Like a beaker on the brink of boiling, Jess spilled over in nervous excitement as she began to express her true feelings about the tall, handsome, intelligent, kind-hearted, gentle-spirited Elton.

A Namibian romance bloomed rapidly, culminating in the American-African marriage celebration I took part in yesterday.

“Gracious, Loving and Generous God,” the minister invoked.

Generous indeed. My heart is full.

There are three things that are too amazing for me,
four that I do not understand:
the way of an eagle in the sky,
the way of a snake on a rock,
the way of a ship on the high seas,
and the way of a man with a maiden.

—Proverbs 30: 18-19


SeekingPlumb said...

This was beautiful! I can't even imagine how much more the experience was in person.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful...I agree! More! More! What Namibian traditions did they use in the ceremony? Was his family able to attend?

Thank you for that bit of "romance" to brighten my day.

Anonymous said...

i am the MOB... Marsha you nailed this story ... You really know my daughter. God really did so much more than we could have ever imagined at this union . I already know of 2 people that were so touched they are going to make some life changes they feel empowered to make after witnessing this love . I am so amazed how perfectly everything came together. the reception could be your next chapter hint hint!!! thanks

MGBR said...

Your wish is my command, MOB. ;-) See new post, "Namibian Nuptials - Part 2."

Anonymous said...

You were so right about Jessica and her finding her other half. I am so happy for her and still cannot believe she is married, but so thrilled she is and to Elton, a wonderful man. It was so great to be there on Saturday to be a witness. You nailed it. :)

Anonymous said...

How I wish I had been able to attend! First of all because I love Jess so much, 2nd of all because Pinnacle is where I met the love of my life and I have so many happy memories of that place and 3rd of all because so many of my Roberts friends were also there and I would have LOVED seeing them again. Marsha you have such a way with words. God has gifted you, truly. Thanks for letting us see things thru your eyes because your eyes see things so completely and your words let us see it that same special way. Nancy Farnum

Linda Adams said...


THANK YOU! I had so wanted to be there. I saw the pics tonight, and now your artful, romantic, and spiritual reflections on this surprising turn of events in Jessica's life. Yea, God! Yea, Marsha!