Latosha and Eugene's Wedding
Latosha and Eugene approached Pastor Craig and Hope a few weeks ago and stated that they would like to "make it right before God" and get married. They asked Pastor Craig if he would perform the ceremony. They met with Pastor Craig and Hope a few times and then the date was set for today.
Very few people in the congregation knew there was going to be a wedding. We did normal praise and worship, Pastor Craig preached about Jesus' first miracle of turning water into wine at a wedding and told the congregation they were in for a real treat..
..The bride and attendants dressed in a room off the lobby. The groom snuck in the side entrance in his Tuxedo...Luther Vandros' "Here and Now" started playing over the church sound system and suddenly we were all at a wedding complete with Brides maids, grooms men and a flower girl.
The bride, Latosha, had first heard of Healing Place Church one night when she was coming out of a convince store next to Benny's Bar on Gus Young Drive. The Midnight outreach team was at Benny's handing out roses to the ladies and when they walked out of Benny's and were headed back to the Shuttle, one of them handed Latosha a rose. She said she knew right then that she had to check out this crazy church that handed out roses to ladies in bars, on the streets and in strip clubs.
That was three years ago.
She started bringing her kids to different church functions at the Dream Center, the family received some toys for their kids at Christmas and her oldest son got a part in the Christmas play the next year. Over time her, Eugene and the entire family started attending church regularly at the Dream Center. Eugene and Latosha always occupying the front row during church service. They also started serving on outreaches. For the last several months Latosha has served in the BRDC Cafe almost every day it's open (this despite a few chronic health problems) While Eugene studied to renew his CDL license in the library.
Life has been hard for both Eugene and Latosha. He recently lost his job and they have been without a refrigerator for over 6 months. (someone donated one to them today) and even before that, some hard living and extreme poverty had caused many hardships for them and their children. But their faith in God and relationship with him has been growing deeper and stronger over the last few years and you could see changes in both of them. They had peace and joy in the midst of very hard circumstances.
And now they were taking another step of faith, taking another step closer to His perfect will for their lives, they were getting married. Last week Barbara Conti took them to get their marriage license and everything started coming together for this joyous occasion. The Cinderella Project donated the wedding dress and by chance, Guana and Breanna, the brides maids, had gone to a thrift store to get dresses, without Latosha and without knowing what Latosha's dress looked like, and they had bought dresses that matched with her's perfectly! Then someone donated a Tux for Eugene to wear, dress shirts for the boys, a dress was lent to Latosha's daughter that fit her perfectly, a cake was made by some wonderful Cooking for Christ ladies and the jeweler on the corner even donated wedding rings!
AND to top off this wedding cake, the BRDC has professional decorators on staff!! Jilian Cook and Esther Robert have just started a decorating business for special events so they turned the cafe area into a beautiful wedding white wonderland!
At the end of the ceremony pastor Craig had us all extend out hands toward Latosha and Eugene and pray a blessing over them. It was a powerful moment, this church body coming together to thank God for and to pray a blessing over this couple, their kids and their life together.
Earlier Latosha had told me that she was completely overwhelmed with gratitude for this day. She said she never in a million years expected something so wonderful, when she asked Pastor Craig to marry them. They thought it would just be a ceremony of words, them in their church clothes and nothing more, but what she got was a wedding. Her new family, the BRDC, pulled out all the stops and gave them a really wonderful wedding.
God always likes to surprise us with His goodness. I loved watching Him show His goodness to Eugene and Latosha today. I'm so grateful that I got to be a part of this day of goodness.