I suppose this is when I say thank you to a bunch of people for getting me here today. I promise I won’t take to long, but you may want to get comfortable. I kind of feel like I am at the Oscars, I would like to thank the academy.
I give my gratitude to those who have traveled to support me today. Most of you have known me for a long time, some of you have known me for a good amount of time, a few of you have known me for only a short time, and a couple of you are probably wondering who I am. I thank all of you for the impact you have made on my life.
I want to thank all of my friends, my Johnson friends and Cincinnati friends. Especially, Andrew, Monica, and Ricky. The three of you have taught me much about God, relationships, and friendship. I have only ever given the power of accountability to Andrew and Ricky. Something, my sister Laura often wished she had.
I am humbled by the endorsement and commissioning of my elders. I do not take this ordination lightly. I have always looked up to all of you, especially Jon Weatherly, my half-sixth cousin, Tom Flishel and Bruce Maxwell. Your good characters and wisdom has always presented a positive model for God’s people.
Thank you Nathan Hinkle. I am grateful God sent you to us. I know I would not be entering Christian ministry if it weren’t for you. You gave me a chance when the previous youth minister did not. I will never forget all the times we spent together in worship planning meetings and trips. I owe so much to you.
Howard and David Empson, my grandfather and uncle, provided me a model of what it means to live as a Godly man. Grandpa is the wisest man I have ever known, and Uncle David is not far behind. David has mentored me and shared with me his heart. He has taken me on three mission trips, one of which changed my life forever. Without these two wonderful men in my life, I would not be standing before you today. I say to the two of you, thank you.
My family has obviously played a major role in my development. My sister Erin was like a second mother, helping to raise me in my earlier years when Mom and Dad were working long hours to provide for us. If Erin were like a mother, then Laura would be like the disciplining father. She ripped into me more times then I can count with an iron fist, and sharp nails. Thank you Erin and Laura. To mom and dad I owe the most, but will never be able to repay. Mom drove me to succeed by reminding me of her five ‘C’s in her entire academic career and not letting me slack off. It is because of my mother that Dad has developed into the Christian leader he is today. She is an ethical and moral woman that instilled in me those same values. Thank you mom. Dad has shared with me so much about life, and I will never forget our time together in the Boy Scouts. He taught me compassion through his work with First Student.
My last thanks goes to someone who has not helped in my development in the past but who will greatly affect my future. I thought long and hard about what I was going to say this morning, I’m probably going to embarrass you a bit, but here is what I have to say.
To Erica whom I love,
So far, today has been about the development of my past, but with you I look to the future, my future as a minister or teacher, and our future together as a couple. You have taught me how to share a bond of love. A little over a year ago, I discovered your feelings for me, and luckily I felt the same way. I knew you were a keeper when you agreed to a first date consisting of Sonic for dinner and then seeing The Dark Knight. I remember diving into the typical discussions a couple would have after a month of dating, but I thought what the heck. Luckily you agreed to a second date, and here we are today; 11 months, 13 days and 18 hours, but who is counting? Every day, I have thanked the Lord for blessing me with you. I look to the next year with great anticipation.
A friend of mine uses the last part of Proverbs as guidance in her life to be a Godly woman. This, however, was really intended for men to discern the right woman. I remember the advice the author gave. She is to be worth more then jewels, the heart of her husband ought to trust in her. She is to take care of her children, have her house in order, and clothed in strength and dignity. Most importantly she is to Fear the lord, and worthy of praise. I have found all of these in you, other then the children part.
At the beginning of my search for a wife, I explored and examined God’s word to reveal the biblical definition of love. Of course, I found 1 Corinthians 13. Love is patient, love is kind, it does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud, it is not rude. It is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it does not keep records of wrong. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres. Love never fails.
-I went to her in the audience-
Over the last 23 years, I have been educated, and accumulated knowledge. I gained several possessions. I have many friends, family, mentors, and leaders. I have traveled, and seen a few parts of the world. I have lacked, however, a partner; someone to love and to love me intimately. I love you Erica, and only you have my heart.
Erica Guyer, will you love me for the rest of your life, will you be my partner in everything I do. Erica, will you marry me?