The Story Behind the NG4C Wedding Ministry
By Lori Widman
Soon after the 2010 earthquake God made it obvious to my husband, Jay, that He wanted him to visit Haiti. Several unrelated people mentioned to him that he should go. It seemed as though Jay could not turn around without someone new telling him why they thought he should go. So, finally, when a Haitian pastor visited our church and told Jay he was the builder to build his church building there, he gave in. He surrendered. Jay and I joined a small team and made our first visit to the island of Haiti.
I don’t even know how many Haitian stamps we have in our passports since that first trip. Both of our children have traveled there, as well as their spouses. How cool to have them share in our love and burden for these people! Jay is especially torn up by the children who may not have beds in their homes or desks in their schools. There is so much need.
After a few trips filled with making food bags and distributing them to people we will probably never see again and taking note of the devastation by the earthquake, and later cholera, we began to yearn for something more meaningful to do. God clearly sent us there and we prayed for a specific task He could give us.
Finally, on a trip the summer of 2015 God showed us something we could do for these people.
Does this ministry interest you?
Partner with us today!
Beneath are instructions on how to give. We would be honored to have you participate with us in any way. You are important to us and we know you are interested in what we are doing.
Dry cleaning $20 per wedding dress
Rings $25 per set
Men’s shoes $20 per pair
Rentals (chairs and tables and serving dishes) $350 total
Market groceries for reception $250 total
Market flowers $50 total
Misc groceries for reception (paper products, drinks, etc.) $500 total
Hair stylists $30 per bride
Cakes $40 per couple (Each couple gets two one-layer cakes. One for the ceremony and one for hosting guests who customarily visit in their home the following week.)
Wedding expense total $425 per couple
If you’d like to sponsor something particular from the list, please make your check out to NG4C, Inc. and mail to
Please write “Wedding_________” (item you’d like to contribute to) in the memo.
To make a general contribution, simply write “Canaan Wedding” in the memo.
Checks can be mailed to:
442 N. Lake Placid Dr.
Warsaw, Indiana 46582
Jay didn’t realize a yearning I had in my heart to really sit and chat with Haitian ladies. I would say, “I just want to go into their homes and hear about their lives, their struggles, their joys, and see their pretty things. Every woman has pretty things in her home. Things that are special to her. I know I do. I feel like that tells a great deal about a woman and I want to see what types of things are special to these ladies.”
That week we were asked to go house to house in an area where our Haitian pastor wanted to build a church. We had an interpreter who would introduce us and explain why we were there. Then we each took turns presenting the Evangecube, a unique way of sharing the gospel through pictures. Jay could see my excitement grow with each home we visited. We were invited inside, given the only chairs in the homes to sit on, and learned about the lives of these women.
However, soon we began to see a pattern. As we asked about the home life and invited each family to attend the new church, sometimes the lady of the home would tell us she was not fit to attend church. This is uncommon for me, a North American, to accept. Because our church doors are wide open for all to enter. The lady of the home would easily explain it was because she and her man were not married, even though they had a home and usually had children together. She would explain that because they were living in sin, they would not be welcome in any church and they could never be baptized.
At the end of the day I and the Haitian pastor’s wife, Esther, sat beside each other on the way back to our camp. An interpreter was kept very busy with their lively conversation. Jay and I are firm believers in the family. A man and a woman, married to represent the relationship between Christ and the Church. Living together, raising children to be Christ-followers. Building the Kingdom of Heaven together.
I was so puzzled by the way these ladies seemed to resign themselves to the fact that they could never attend church or be baptized or even have a relationship with Christ because of their family lives. Esther confirmed this belief is taught in their culture. I asked why they don’t get married? Esther explained they cannot afford it. It is expected that the couple will provide a full wedding with dress, rings, flowers and enough food to feed the entire church and neighborhood. It is very often something couples, in their poverty, could never begin to pay for themselves. I asked about going to the judge and having a civil ceremony. Again, Esther explained that without this Big White Wedding, no one in their culture would recognize their union. It seemed it had to be all or nothing.
The longer this conversation went on, the more upset I became. I was angry that Satan was binding these people with this lie. He found a way to keep them from learning about God and growing in Christ. I finally cried out, “You mean to tell me the only thing keeping these families from a relationship with God is a wedding?!” Esther smiled and said, “Yes.”
I looked over at Jay and said something like, “We’re going to have a wedding!” Jay said something back to me like, “I know!” And my tears began to flow. We had found the reason for our visits to Haiti.
If you know anything about me, you probably know how I feel about weddings. I love everything about them. The dresses, the flowers, the music, the traditions, the preparation, the etiquette, the food, the pictures. All of it. I have helped others plan them, coordinated them, advised brides and their mothers so many times. In fact, while preparing for our daughter’s wedding in 2012 I commented that perhaps all my wedding interest was to prepare me for THIS! But after we realized what we were about to do in Haiti, I said again that perhaps it was to prepare me for THIS!!!
We started making plans and had many discussions with our Haitian pastor, Francisco and his wife, Esther. The goal is to marry couples in their neighborhood so they may come to know Christ, join the church and learn about God and follow Him each day. And to raise their children to do the same. Francisco and Esther meet with the couples a few times before the ceremony to have a sort of Bible study/pre-marital counseling time. The brides choose a dress to borrow from our supply down there of over 13 dresses. They also select a veil from the 10 we made the first year. We bring the men’s shoes, the ring sets, and a few other essentials with us. Once there, we purchase a wedding cake for each couple, the reception food, all the paper products and items necessary to prepare the meal, rent the tables and chairs and serving dishes. We stop on the street the day before and buy flowers. That evening we fashion the bouquets, corsages and boutonnieres with the scissors, ribbons and pins we bring with us.
The first year we married 7 couples! The second year 5! Last year it was 4! All couples are married in the same ceremony and share a reception. Each couple has their turn to say their vows and kiss (very exciting in that culture, let me tell ya!) Many of those married so far have remained in our church and are serving and growing. It’s just so cool to go back and see them a year later!
Something we learned last year while down there is that Francisco and Esther have duplicated this wedding twice without us! Now we had assured them from the beginning that these items belong to them and they may use them any time, with or without us. And they have! They have traveled as missionaries into other regions of Haiti to bring couples out of the darkness into the light. I wept uncontrollably with joy when I learned this. We are so humbled to think that God is multiplying our efforts and our obedience to Him.