In 1997, when I graduated from high school, I had to go on a wilderness expedition for a scholarship I received to attend college. It was three full weeks of hiking with a heavy backpack, no bath, sleeping out doors, using the bathroom outdoors, rattlesnakes, high mountains, etc. However, it was one of the best experiences of my life. I learned that I could be pushed beyond any mental limit and overcome fears to achieve anything.
As a part of this adventure, I had to sit alone for 3 days by myself, which you know was hard for me. It was myself, God, and nature. In that time, I remember writing some very compelling things in a journal that I still own today. I wrote prayers and plans. I prayed to God that He would use me to be a role model and example for the youth of my family and the place where I was from. I even received the vision for the ministry I pastor today. I prayed for one little cousin in particular: Dartez Wright. I prayed that God would bless him to make good choices, be great in whatever he did, and that I would be an example for him. God has been doing just that. He's a young adult now, an ambitious actor, and a soon-to-be family man. I am humbly proud of Him and to see that God is answering my prayers for Him and my other little cousins.
Years later, in 2003, Dartez played a special part in a big day in my life: the day Francemise and I got married. He was a jovial, little Jr. Groomsmen. He and my other little cousins had a good time meeting famous people in the lobby of the hotel where we stayed and Dartez, as usual, brought everyone joy. It as a good time!
Today, Dartez is getting married to a beautiful young lady named Philreca Martin. My wife and I have had the honor of being their friends and counselors through their journey of becoming one. I can't help but cry thinking that God answered my prayers over 18 years ago. I am thrilled to be one of the officiants for their wedding today and know that the blessing of God is on their lives and marriage already! So, we celebrate marriage and Dartez and Philreca's union and thank God for answering prayer and being the foundation of great marriages. Make it last forever!