My friend Aylín and I have been friends for quite some time. We went to the same school, we attended the same church, we served in the same ministries. When she went to Cedarville University in Ohio, we would chat and email every now and then to catch up. Our friendship grew throughout the years and she became a very sweet friend for me.
In July 2009, Aylín visited an orphanage in China. And a few days after she arrived there, we chatted online. The conversation went somewhat like this:
Aylín: Guess what!
Aylín: my friend Ethan just asked me if I was willing to consider being more than friends
Me: WHAT???? are you kidding me??
At the time, she wasn’t very excited about the idea. They had been good friends for a long time since they met at school.
In September 2009, Ethan came to visit her. She emailed all of her friends and family proclaiming how in love they were with one another.
In December of that same year, Aylín went to visit Ethan to Ohio. We received an email with one huge photo of her wearing an engagement ring. They were planning their wedding celebration for September 4th, 2010.
To make the story short-they just got married on Saturday, September 4th. And yes, she was VERY IN LOVE and EXCITED to become Mrs. Ethan Merck. After the ceremony, they left to the States.
I can’t begin to describe you the joy experienced in that celebration. It was the most gospel centered wedding I have ever seen, attended or even heard of. To tell you a little bit about it, they planned it around the reality of the gospel truths- we are sinners (they confessed specific sins in front of the audience), but Christ died for those sins (they nailed the list of sins on a wooden thing) and now enables us to live for His glory. This has never been done in our church, so you may imagine the “shock” it was for some people that might be naive in thinking that “Aylín deserved to marry this good man because she waited in God”, or that “they’re preachers’s kids so this is what’s supposed to happen”, etc. We sang “The Power of the Cross” as a congregation. Her dad preached a sermon on how their relationship should mirror that one of Christ and His church. They read their beautiful vows. When Ethan was asked for a token to show that he was going to care for her financial needs, he started taking money out of his pockets…and more…and a credit card…he made it so funny! Then they kissed and were off to go as husband and wife! This is the whole ceremony in a nutshell- of course there were some more details, but you had to be there!
I really miss her now. Aylín is leaving her family, her church, her friends, and everything she loves back here in the Dominican to go continue serving Jesus with her now husband. When I went to say hi-goodbye to her after the wedding ceremony (the reception was right there at the church), something weird happened to me. We hugged and for a moment I felt like I was back at Logos’s bathroom crying and grieving on her shoulder a few months ago about some hard trial. This feeling felt as intense and so weird at the same time…so that’s when tears wanted to come out of my eyes. Then we took a picture together…and I cried. Aylín is so precious to me. God knows how much good He has done in my life through her love, friendship and faithful honest example. Right there it hurt me to see her leave…and to know that she won’t be around for me to talk to or give me her hugs of assurance. As I type this, I cry. YET, God knows how to turn “bad” things in good things. I am so thankful for the time I was given her and so thankful to see God’s work in her life. Aylín isn’t perfect- but what I really love from her is her surrendered disposition to love God and believe the Gospel.
I know that even though this momentary separation is hard, someone reminded me that “my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”
I praise God for the work He’s done in her life and for how the Lord has given her a godly husband in Ethan who absolutely adores her.
It’s grace upon grace!
If you want to know more about their story and how God brought them together, you can watch the video we put up at their wedding. It amazes me how in love they are.