On Saturday night Gordon Goh, who I worked with at the hospital for over 20 years, called and said he had a big favor to ask of me. Gordon attends the Chinese Church at Beulah Baptist Church. It seems that there was a couple, who also attend the Chinese Church, and they wanted to get married on Tuesday, three days away.
I agreed to officiate the wedding. I had no questions about the couples status, preparedness for marriage, or faith. I know Dr. and Mrs. Wu, who pastor and teach the Chinese Church. I also know that Dr. Wu was giving the bride in marriage and that he would never do that if they were not well prepared. It helps to know those in leadership and their standards. The bride's name was Suzanne and the groom was Frank.
On Sunday I got a call from the couple and was told that they were planning a rehearsal on Monday evening. They asked if I would be able to attend. Since I wasn't sure how you could have a rehearsal otherwise, I figured that I had better show up. I seems that the bride's name was HaiYing Sun and groom's name was ChangJiang Zhu. I needed to do some pronunciation practicing. Their selection of the day for the wedding was the anniversary of the day they met two years ago.
When Joanne and I got there on Monday, we found that they had decorated the sanctuary with a boat load of flowers. The entire isle that the bride would walk down was lined with flower rope. The platform had a flower draped arch and potted flower on the railing in front of the choir loft. All the decorations were impressive, since they had already told us that besides the Bride and Groom, and Joanne and me, they were expecting seven guests. They wanted a small wedding, but not an underdone wedding.
On Tuesday evening, the groom asked if we could start a bit late. I told him it was his wedding and we'd start when he was ready. Apparently, he had left something at home and had to run and get it. So we began at 7:30 rather than 7:00, not a big deal. Now, we had made a few planned modifications in the service. First was that they both had something they wanted to read to each other. Second was that when they lit the unity candle in place of music I would read a scripture. I also printed out their names and placed them on each page of the service, just so I could get them correct.
When the time came for them to read what they had prepared, it went great. They probably could have written their own service. When HaiYing was reading hers, she read 1 Corinthians 13, the Love chapter. That was the scripture that I had planned to read during their lighting of the unity candle. Fortunately I had prepared another scripture. So, I slipped one into the back of the book and the other into it's place.
The service went very well. Especially since we had emailed the parts that they would be saying to them the night before so they could practice the English pronunciations. I was told later that I did a good job on the names, I do hope so.
After the service ChangJiang and HaiYing, Mr. and Mrs. Zhu, told us that they had made dinner reservations at Golden Corral for everyone. Golden Corral is a buffet type restaurant, which was good since we could all get what we wanted. But, by the time we arrived at the restaurant it was 8:30 and they were scheduled to close at 9:00. The manager said not to worry, everything would remain available until we were finished. The man cooking the steaks stayed until we were done and the waiter was continually checking on us. I do not know very many restaurants that would have been so gracious. Kudos to Golden Corral on Wards Road in Lynchburg. If you get a chance to eat there, please, tell them thank you for what they did for the newlyweds.
ChangJiang and HaiYing Zhu, may your life together be richly blessed.