Willow Creek Farm held their first Open House on June 11th this summer, where Kendall Robinson and her family were in attendance. Little did they know, that they would be leaving the farm that day with a free wedding for Kendall and her fiancé Drew. After sitting down for their first meeting to start planning the wedding, I was lucky enough to hear the story of Kendall and Drew, and all of the special moments that will be incorporated into their wedding day.
Love at First Sight
Kendall first laid eyes on Drew during camp meeting at Union Grove Campground. He was up singing in the choir, and Kendall looked to her mom saying, "Look at that boy, you need to find out who that is!" They delved into their detective work and sent over her pastor's kids to ask this young man who he was. One little girl found out this guy was named Drew, and he was six years older than Kendall. She was wary of his age, but told God that if she ever saw him again, then she would know that he was meant to be a part of her life. Months down the road, Kendall was sitting at church and in walked none other than Drew himself. Her heart dropped at the sight of him, since Kendall thought she would never see Drew again. Through church and a youth retreat in Pigeon Forge, Kendall and Drew's relationship quickly grew and the two became a couple. They have been dating for over a year, and now they'll be married on September 16th, 2017.
The Family Story
Kendall shares a close bond with her mother Kim, and Kim shared how this wedding is turning the loss of loved ones in their family, into a day of happiness and celebration.
Kendall's family carries a genetic heart disease that has taken the life of more than one woman in their family. Kendall's Aunt is one of those women, passing away three years ago from the disease on September 16th.
Kim with her sister, Kendall's Aunt.
Wanting to turn this date from a day of mourning into a day of celebration, Kendall took a look at the calendar to see what day of the week September 16th fell on this year. Finding out it was on a Saturday led Kendall and Drew to an easy decision. They knew this was a sign from God to move forward with the wedding, and Drew proposed. Kendall had been wanting to make this day into something that would bring her family happiness, and now she finally could. From the loss of Kendall's Aunt, and their family losing several others in a span of six months just a few years ago, this wedding will be all about happiness. However, with saving and raising money for a mission trip later in the year, Kendall and her family knew it wouldn't be possible to have a big wedding.
The Open House
Kendall, Drew, and their family had been praying and fasting, knowing God had a plan for this couple and their wedding. Not long after the proposal, Kendall and Drew found themselves at Willow Creek's Open House. If it was meant to be for the two to win the wedding, then it would happen. They showed up that Sunday, put their names into the drawing, and left the rest in God's hands.
Also in attendance at the Open House was a long time friend, Stephanie Abernathy. Stephanie had also known loss, as her grandson was killed in a tragic accident in January of this year. However, it was what Stephanie had with her at the Open House that told Kendall and Drew they were meant to be there, sunflowers. Stephanie had been growing sunflowers as therapy to help with the loss of her grandson, but it was also a symbol for Kendall and Kim. Kim and Kendall had used sunflowers for everything with their sister and Aunt, and this sign had allowed the two separate families to help with healing after such loss. This wasn't a simple coincidence, but a sign from God. Right before 5:00 PM that Sunday, Kendall and Drew heard their names called out in the announcement of the free wedding.
The Mission Trip
Kendall and Drew will be going on a mission trip to Zimbabwe during the week of Thanksgiving this year, and it all started at the same camp meeting where Kendall first saw Drew. Kendall's mom, Kim, first met Pastor Shumba at that camp meeting and heard about his vision for foster homes in his home country. The pastor had fostered 22 children himself, but wanted to do more by pairing foster homes with the churches he had planted in Zimbabwe. Kim knew it had been placed on her heart to help, but had to be patient for the opportunity to do a mission trip.
A past mission trip to Haiti.
The timing for a mission trip was never right at their church, Bethesda Fellowship Church, until one Sunday when Kim was talking with their Pastor's niece. She expressed how she wanted to do a mission trip this year, and Kim told her she had been, "waiting to hear those words for three years!" The timing for this conversation couldn't have been better, because Pastor Shumba was in the U.S. and now they could start their journey to Zimbabwe.
Their team will be gone for 12 days to help set up a foster home, go into the community, and witness and visit villages. Their work will provide housing for single moms and their children, but also help bring in the most critical kids, those starving to death or who are stricken with disease such as polio. Their church is racing against time to raise as much money as possible to finish their goal. They are purchasing a home and completing renovations on it, along with buying a van the foster home will be able to use. Kendall, Drew, and those going from their church are also going without accommodations to keep costs down and put more money into the new foster home.
If you would like to donate to Kendall and Drew's mission trip, follow here, and you will be able to see the work they will do.
Kendall and her family said when you go through tragedies, you have to have faith to keep you going, and that's what they did. Kendall will be incorporating flowers from her Aunt's garden into her bouquet, and the Bible used during the ceremony will come from Kendall's father's grandmother, who has also passed away. Kendall is most excited about how happy, and fun the wedding will be, but more importantly, turning the focus to Christ instead of herself and Drew. In the end, it is amazing to see the Lord's faithfulness through it all.
Engagement Photos: Shelby Norris Photography