I met Nathan and Adrianne Penner this week in Beira. They told me their wedding story. They met two years ago at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, where they are both doing graduate work.
Last year around Thanksgiving, Adrianne had been diagnosed with a brain tumor which needed to be operated on within ten days. They decided to move their marriage up to five days before the operation. Nathan thought it was the only right thing to do, Adrianne thought Nathan was crazy. They told their church and school communities the situation and asked for help (they go to the Pasadena Mennonite Church). They said they were scared out of their minds and that they wanted to have a small wedding in their backyard if possible. Adrianne couldn't do much of the planning because she needed to avoid stress before the operation.
Immediately, everyone in their community jumped at the chance to bless them. The community planned the wedding and donated everything. The huge chapel, the flowers and decorations, the tables and chairs, the potluck reception, even the honeymoon in a beach house in Malibu were donated. Strangers gave up days of their time simply because they couldn't get the story out of their heads. The result was their wedding was bigger and more beautiful than they could have ever expected or afforded alone. People said that it wasn't so much a wedding as it was a chance to thank and praise God. Everyone present wept for joy.
Five days later, Adrianne underwent brain surgery. A year later, I met them in Mozambique.
I'm really not doing justice to this story. You can find their actual story here.