Ode to Andrew and Rosanna Phillips on their 20th Anniversary

Over 25 years ago our entire family was invited to dinner at a young couple in our church.  They had two young daughters and we had become friends.  Our children were much older than their daughters, but they wanted our whole family to go.  The behind the scenes plot was that the wife's (Laura)  brother was coming for a Christmas visit..  He was a senior in high school, Rosanna a junior. She wanted him to meet our daughter Rosanna!  Shyly they got to know each other.  Even though Andrew went back to California after the visit, letters, packages and phone calls continued.

Summer came and he moved to Oak Harbor.  God was at work.  Darryl and I had many conversations with her as well as with him.  Much prayer took place.  We could tell they were growing coser and closer. And Andrew was allowing God to work in his life as well.  This was our first experience of helping a child navigate emotional connections.  Darryl set some boundaries.  Andrew was not allowed in the house if we weren't home.  Many times we arrived home to find them sitting at the front door.  Andrew on the outside and Rosanna inside keeping the letter of the house rules. He proved himself to becoming a man of integrity.

He found a job, but had no car.  We allowed Rosanna to give him her bicycle.  He put so many miles on that bike by the time it was returned it was worn out.  We admired his tenacity and his willingness to do what it took to make a life in a new town.  God provided a living place for him--even farther out of town, but old blue bike and he made the extra no matter what the weather.  

Rosanna by now had entered her senior year and was seeking God's purpose and plan for her future.  Andrew knew felt the call of God on his life and after much encouragement they chose to go to Dominion College, a ministry arm of Christian Life Center pastored by Casey Treat.  This was a step of faith for all of us.  The school did not provide housing, so they each had to find jobs plus a place to live.  At this point there was no spoken committment in their relationship.  We watched God open doors of provision for both of them.  It was Andrew's first step in trusting God and His provision.  Rosanna had grown up watching us pray and prove God.

We watched the Lord continue to work.  Rosanna was a counseling major, Andrew theology.  Learning about different counseling tools, Rosanna always had Andrew try them out with her.  They learned more and more about each other.

One day she told me that she and Andrew had picked out an engagement ring.  Her father told her that she better not put it on her finger till he and Andrew had a talk.  It took him about six months to find the right timing to ask Darryl if they could talk.  Rosanna was so nervous, but not to worry, he gave them their blessing.  

August 16, 1996 we packed our van full of wedding flowers, decorations and food prep--headed two hours away to put together our first born's wedding. On August 17, the wedding took place.   It was a beautiful ceremony with only a few minor glitches (the bride's hair almost caught on fire and the reception music was left at home and the groom had the flu with 102 fever...but the committment they made today is still holding.  

They have had plenty of challenges in the past twenty years.  Job and ministry changes and challenges walked out with humble hearts brought them through each one.  We could have lost Rosanna and our first grandson at his birth, but God was good and Aaron is now 13, Abby is 11 and Harmony 8.  They are such a wonderful addtion to our family.  

We've watched their friendship grow into ministry teamwork.  I watch the Phillips family grow, mature into amazing testimony of God's grace and love.  They continue to strive toward filling God's purpose and plan for their lives.  I've watched them pray through their challenges and submit to His will when it wasn't easy.  I'm proud to be their mom and grandma.  Andrew is a man who seeks God's heart and plan, I'm proud to be his mom in law....truly he is another son.  I'm so glad his sister Laura invited us to dinner that special night.

Their marriage is working because they have chosen to make it work.  They are an example of how God takes two different people and when they submit to him, he makes them one.  Truly the world is a better place because these two first sought God's will as singles and now do it as a family.  May God bless their next twenty years with His plan, purpose and provision.  Thank you Jesus for this gift to our family.