Some nine years ago, when I was still a Lutheran pastor, a family who lived just down from that church began coming. George and Maria, with daughters Elena and Anna, and George's mother, Glenda came under my care. They were separated from the Orthodox church years before, had attended Baptist churches, and their daughters were enrolled in Lutheran Schools.
I remember catechizing them on Saturday mornings, all five -- and there were some interesting discussions, to be sure! At that time, remember, Orthodoxy was still "out there" for me. (But I must admit, some of the things that George shared piqued my interest!)
Over the years, our families did grow closer. I "designed" and participated in two "Lutheran" Quincieras -- a Mexican tradition for young ladies as they came to age 15. We had many discussions -- at one point, Glenda and I, who had some differences, had a rough spot (she had not become Lutheran).
So, the four were under my spiritual care as a Lutheran pastor.
But over the last several years, as my journey east narrowed, George and I had many discussions -- and in the last three years of my pastorate, my teaching very much followed Orthodox truth. And in those years, when George looked to return to the Church, I could find no reason to council him otherwise.
Pascha of 2005, George was received once again into Holy Orthodoxy. Maria and Elena and Anna were still under my care. In February of 2005, my coming home was no longer an "if," but a "when." In September of 2005, with George, Elena and Maria, I met Fr Dumitru at GreekFest at Sts Constantine and Helen GOC -- and he and I "clicked." In fact, after that meeting I emailed him, telling him that I felt stronger ties to him after that brief meeting than I did to most of my Lutheran colleagues.
On more than one occasion in 2005, George said, "You are Orthodox. How can you continue serving at a Lutheran altar!" Then, in October of that year, I began the process of resigning, not only my parish, but the Lutheran ministerium, and finally Lutheranism.
Around Thanksgiving, Maria and Elena were received home in Holy Orthodoxy. Anna remains Lutheran. Glenda had remained Orthodox.
At Theophany in 2006, Fr (with George) came for our house blessing. At that time he suggested February 4th for our Chrismation -- when I question regarding additional catechesis, his reply was, "You are Orthodox!"
And so it was that on February 4th, George and Maria, my former parishioners, became our Godparents as we came to Holy Orthodoxy!
Glenda said, "You finally saw the light!" She was right, and we are brother and sister in Christ
Of course, all of them were present for our canonical marriage in October, George and Maria as our Godparents!
I think it was Elena (eldest daughter) who said once that she thought that God had this all planned!
You know what?
I know she was right!
And that is the story of two families ...
Glory to God in all things!