“The Fight Is On”

A wedding on the mission field is always a great event. Especially if it is between missionaries. I know! Carol and I were married in Tanzania in November, 1958. (I hope I got that right! I better. She reads these blogs.)That’s 60 years ago!

First, two incidents from our own wedding – I had previously given the missionary who was to be my “best man”, letters of invitation to a number of African church leaders. The invitations were to both the wedding ceremony and the following reception.

The church ceremony was well attended. I guess I was too “giddy” to notice that those whom I had invited were not in attendance. When the reception was being held, three rightfully disgruntled African pastors “crashed” the party with comments of “white people only” and “kikoloni” (colonialism). Of course we welcomed them and I found out later that the best man had forgotten to give out the invitations which I had prepared. He found them later in his suit coat pocket!

The other incident was that a missionary from another mission, who was in attendance, decided he was going to pull a “stunt” on the bride (Carol) and groom (me). While we were dressing for our honeymoon departure, he jacked up the rear end of my Volkswagen Beetle and put cement blocks under the rear wheel torsion bar casings. When he lowered the jack and took it out, nothing could be seen – except now the rear wheels were slightly off the ground. With anticipation, he stood close by to see what would happen.

But we had the last “laugh.” I had arranged for someone else to take us to the boat (we were taking a trip by ship around Lake Victoria) and that vehicle of mine was “free and clear.” I have no idea how disappointed that prankster was but he had the job of undoing what he had done because my Volks had to be moved to await our return from our trip.

But, forget us; here are some more stories.

There usually are more single lady missionaries on the field than there are single men. Romance blossoms and, in the ‘50s, the Field Council’s approval was needed before a wedding could be planned. Besides Carol’s and mine, there were two other weddings between missionaries during that period.

One missionary man went before the Council shortly after his arrival on the field and applied for permission to get married. The lady missionary had been on the field for a while and I guess the Council was surprised by the rapidity of the romance. They asked, “Had you met her before?”; the answer was “Yes, in a missionary conference back in the U.S.A..” “Have you been in correspondence with her?” “No, we just decided to get married. I want you to know that there is no emotion involved”. With that, one senior missionary Council member exploded and said, “There better be”!

That marriage continued for many years; both “he and she” had effective ministries and raised a family that continues to serve the Lord in overseas mission work unto this day.

Another missionary man – it was “cute” to see the romance develop over a longer period of time. After Council permission was granted, the wedding date was announced and the African church invited to participate with church choir music and wedding feast preparation. It was quite an occurrence – outside activities following the church wedding included the bride and groom sitting at a table, receiving gifts, as the choir sang with their accompanying music.

And the key song they sang several times? – “The Fight is On”!!! Of course it was the Sukuma (African) translation of the English but the words conveyed the same meanings. No one thought of the implications except the tittering missionaries in attendance.

Time to leave for the honeymoon trip. The bride was sitting in the car, ready to go, but the groom was nowhere to be found. All waited for him to appear. Voices were raised. Another missionary man (married) said loudly “If you aren’t going to take her, I will.” With that said, he got into the car and started the engine.

The groom burst out of the house, took the place of that missionary man, and took off. He had been puttering around in the house, looking for his car keys, forgetting that he had already put them into the ignition so that he would not forget where they were!

(And no pictures of those weddings are included because I didn’t want to publicly identify who they were!)

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