About 30 band students from Campion Academy, where I worked as a chaplain, distributed copies of Ellen G. White’s book Steps to Christ in a town located at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, in the U.S. state of Colorado.
After that, we returned to the local Seventh-day Adventist church, where the students earlier had performed and changed clothing for a hike in nearby Rocky Mountain National Park.
But when our bus stopped at a scenic lookout spot near the mountaintop, I immediately wanted to turn around and leave. Dozens of people dressed in long robes greeted our eyes. At first glance, I thought they belonged to some sort of pushy Eastern religion, and I didn’t want to argue with them.
But the band members pleaded for five minutes to witness to these people. I reluctantly agreed.
After a few minutes, a student came over to me and said, “This is not an Eastern religion. This is a Hawaiian wedding.”
I was surprised. “Why is a Hawaiian wedding being held in Colorado?” I asked.
It turned out that the groom was originally from Hawaii. But, the student said, the bride and groom had a problem: the minister was 45 minutes late.
“Aren’t you a minister?” the student asked.
I assured him that the minister would arrive. But the minister didn’t show up. We saw the bride crying near a car, and I approached her. The woman tearfully explained that the minister had been involved in an accident and could not come to the wedding.
The bride had won my sympathy now. “All right,” I said. “I guess I can have your wedding.”
She looked surprised. “What makes you think that you can have my wedding?” she said.
“I am a minister,” I said.
“You don’t look like a minister.”
“Lady, I wouldn’t lie to you,” I said, pulling out my wallet to show her my ministerial license.
Her eyes grew big. “You really are a minister! Can you do our wedding?” she asked.
Now I wasn’t so sure. I said to her, “I want to see your wedding license.”
I carefully examined the piece of paper. It was in order.
“I guess I’ll have your wedding,” I said. “So what are your names?”
The band members saw what was happening, and they became excited. Several band members played music for the couple before the ceremony began.
Benjie Leach is a volunteer home health chaplain in Fort Worth, Texas.