A very unusual thing happened to my wife, Bettie, and me at a preachers' conference (it came totally unexpectedly; we are still in "shock"). We attended Pastor Lloyd Shepherd's conference in Union City, Indiana, January 20 through 22 this year. He sent out invitations some time before the meeting, and when I told him we planned to come out to the meeting, he asked me to speak a little on second marriages because of some situations he was dealing with. Furthermore, he said that Bettie's and my situation was unique a widowed Baptist pastor and a widow of a Baptist minister getting together.
I was not scheduled as one of the speakers, so Brother Shepherd said he would work me in. I got to speak for about 35 minutes after lunch on the first day of the meeting. After I gave a short overview of Bettie's and my situation, I tried to give some of the more important things I learned from my first marriage and how it helped in my second marriage.
That afternoon as I looked around, I saw at least 14 young ladies in our small group who were single from about 15 years old up. Many of them were marriage age, and had been prepared by their parents to be helpmeets and homemakers for godly men. I asked Bro Shepherd if Bettie could have some time to speak with them and their mothers who might want to attend. She would share some things she has learned over the years by working with drug addicts, young people and by mentoring young ladies in her home after her husband was killed. She had a very good meeting with the ladies. (Jeff Ethell was on the board of HSLDA, and they regularly had young people over from the office to spend the weekends with them.)
After my talk, one of the pastors, the father of two of the young ladies, came to me and told me that what I said needed more time to be developed. The Lord dealt with him to have a family conference (Info in HTML file) at his camp ground in Southern Indiana.
Bettie and I have wanted to do a book on second marriages since we have been married. When I spoke, I also mentioned about our desire to do a book, applying what we have learned and are learning for not only those facing second marriages, but also for those facing first marriages. Three men immediately requested the book! I assured them it was not even written yet, but we were getting it together.
My oldest daughter, Jessica, lives just south of Dayton in Franklin, OH. The church she and her husband attend specializes in counseling. (They will not counsel a non-church member without a letter from that person's pastor.) Bettie and I met with their pastor to see if we were too far off base. He told us that such a book is badly needed. He knows of only a few paperbacks on the subject of second marriages, and they are fluff. He mentioned one good tape series, but the teacher of the series was in his first marriage. He gave us suggestions, and encouraged us in the book and in a possible "matchmaking" service.
We have put together a "questionnaire" letter as a result of the preachers' meeting at Pastor Shepherd's and our meeting with Pastor Russ Kennedy of Clear Creek Chapel, which is distinctly Baptistic in its theology (clearcreekchapel.org).
We are requesting, with your help, that we be put in contact with Christians who are in their second marriages. Our time is short and there is a great need for the material we can make available, by God's grace. Either give us, with their permission, their names and addresses, or we will send you the material to give to them.
Do you counsel Christians either about their second marriages or who are contemplating second marriage? If so, would you please help us by filling out as many of the "help questions" as you can?
Bettie and I both readily admit that we are totally over our heads in what the Lord has laid upon our hearts, so we must depend totally upon His grace to see us through. Please keep us in your prayers as we attempt a new (for us) ministry, equipping the saints for godly families, and to glorify God in every thought and action.
By His Sovereign Grace Alone,
Please help us help others.
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