Sometime around October of 1971, I was in our Sunday School class preparing for the day and in walks Jackie. I took one look and thought, “There’s my wife.” Earlier, she woke up and said to God that she had to meet Him, so she walked to the nearest church, which was where our Sunday School class was.
From then on we went to Bible studies together, church and about any kind of
Christian event I could find in order to bring her. I had a car, she didn’t. Can you imagine the shock when I found out she was 15? One day we were driving somewhere and she asked, “Are you a junior?” I said, “Nope.” “Are you a senior”? “Nope.” She was afraid to ask any more questions about my age—I was 22.
What did her parents think? They mostly liked me but told us she was going to finish high school before any marriage plans should ever be considered. I understood that. No problem.
Months later, Jackie found herself in the wrong place at school and a black girl punched her. Back then, school integration was going on but it wasn’t a very smooth process. Jackie’s mom heard about the incident and said, “You are done with high school. Marry Bob.” We were both thrilled. She finished high school by going at night and I just kept on working for my dad at Robbie Tire.
Her dad told us before our marriage there was a condition: “You are going to have to buy a house before you can marry my daughter. I’m not going to have a son-in-law moving in with us.”
I’d been stashing money in my clothes drawer for months and when I counted it up, along with a small loan from my dad, I had enough for a down payment to buy a house. The cost was $18,000 and it was a beautiful old wooden house that had no record of being built. It was old.
That’s how our married lives together started. We were married November 22nd of 1972. I was 23 and she was 16. Yes, there were a few who said it would never last, but we knew something that perhaps they didn’t know: We both loved God and our love for Him drew us closer and closer to each other.
When the pastor said, “Until death do you part” at our wedding, we embraced it with all our heart. We continue to embrace it and we continue to love each other and God our Father.
Jackie was 16 when we got married, 17 when she got pregnant and 18 when our first child, Leah, was born. It was a whirlwind of a start and it has not slowed down even today.
We have served our God through church and Youth With A Mission
all our married lives and that has taken us to living in Hong Kong and Thailand for 6 years, working in the Philippines, Taiwan, Macau, China, Costa Rica, Brazil, India, Canada, and Mexico.
Our lives have been filled with tragedies that could have easily crippled us and joy that has lifted us above them all. Gods faithfulness has kept us secure in so many insecure circumstances that it baffles me, but then who can really figure God out anyway?
I could write 100s of pages about my wife and all she means to me, but I won’t. Instead, I’ll just end the writing and let you enjoy the photos. She is an amazing woman and I married so far over my head I can’t believe it. I can only say, “Thank you, Jesus, for bringing her into my life and thank you, Jackie, for putting up with me.
45 years after we were married, one heart attack, a knee replacement and other assorted aches and pains, we are still on an adventure with Youth With A Mission San Diego/Baja. Six months left here and then…?