sharper focus “Winnie and the rings”

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Manhardt06

By Linda Manhardt,  Major

This semester, the cadets at The Philippines Territory training college have “Public Ministries” class. As a part of this course, each cadet prepares a different Salvation Army ceremony and demonstrates to the class how it should be properly done.

One married cadet couple with six children had never experienced a Christian wedding as they are from the indigenous Tiboli tribe in the southern part of Mindanao, which performed tribal weddings.

The cadets saw the class as an opportunity to give the love gift of a Christian wedding to their session mates, and so the planning began.

They constructed an arch of bamboo poles, with bougainvillea woven throughout. The wedding dress and “barongs” (the national formal attire for men) were borrowed from staff and cadets. They prepared the program and distributed a lovely invitation.

For days, excitement permeated the compound as preparations continued for the “wedding.”

Getting into the spirit of things, I actually authorized the expenditure to purchase a wedding cake to help mark the occasion, and a very special, formal lunch was provided.

It happens that it was “Fiesta” week and the schools were closed, which meant that all six of the children could help prepare and participate in the wedding.

During the cadets’ first year of training, a cadet from Hong Kong joined us to complete her training and Lieutenant Winnie was commissioned last year in her home command. But she missed us! She surprised us all by showing up and spending her furlough with us. It was a joyful gift to us all.

What is unexplainable is what the lieutenant brought along with her…a pair of wedding rings. She had no plan or reason to bring them, but she did. And because of this, the happy couple (who never had wedding rings), now have them, along with a wonderful memory (and photos) of their Christian wedding!

Is it a coincidence that the children had no school at the very time their parents’ wedding was written into the course syllabus?

Is it pure chance that Lieutenant Winnie decided to surprise us all with a visit and happened to bring along a set of wedding rings?

I think not.

The Lord delights in giving good things to his children.

Oh what a blessing to be one of them!

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