DULUTH — Life at the Georgia Baptist Missions and Ministry Center generally consists of serving churches, encouraging pastors, preparing for ministry assignments, facilitating church plants, equipping church leaders, etc. But occasionally, the staff celebrates some personal blessing like an employee becoming a parent or a grandparent.
Recently, the staff had a wedding shower for Alicia Simpson and her fiancé, Josh Hollis. Alicia works in Information Services, but most of the staff met Josh for the first time at the shower. The shower was a happy experience, but very few, if any, were privileged to observe the courtship of Alicia and Josh at close range. The fact that the mission board staff was not able to monitor that growing relationship on a daily basis is something for which that charming couple can be forever grateful.
However, there has been a blossoming relationship between two GBMB staff members that has attracted the attention of just about everyone employed at 6405 Sugarloaf Parkway for a long time – an exceedingly long time.
Shea Elrod, who works in the financial services department, has been dating Karen Wheeler, an administrative assistant in the executive offices, since May 2012.
National surveys indicate that the average couple dates for approximately 25 months before getting engaged. However, women who get engaged at 35 or older tend to date for a shorter period of time than those aged 21 to 35. Therefore, Shea was violating the norm and pressing his luck by waiting to pop the question.
Everyone knew that Shea would be wise to seal the relationship with Karen with a marriage proposal. But, Shea was slow on the draw. Many of the men in the building attempted to nudge him in the direction of an engagement and some even suggested an intervention to get him off dead center before some Lochinvar rode in on a white horse and whisked Karen away before his very eyes.
However, Shea, perhaps because of certain perceived obsessive-compulsive tendencies, was extremely cautious, deliberate, and methodical in his approach to solidifying the relationship.
In fact, the courtship was over a year old before almost anyone at the Baptist Mission Board found out about the budding relationship. Shea and Karen had their first date at a Longhorn’s Steakhouse on May 12, 2012 and dated for more than a year before Preston and Judy Hinesley let the cat out of the bag and revealed that they were dating in June 2013.
The playful banter and good-natured tantalizing of the couple probably started soon after it became general knowledge that the “Romeo and Juliet” of Georgia Baptists were dating.
Danny Watters, who is gleefully celebrating this engagement from the portals of heaven, was likely one of the chief mischievous tormentors urging Shea to “give the girl a ring.”
After more than five years, the proposal took place at Fort Walton Beach on June 10. Surely it was a starry, moonlit night, with the Gulf waters sparkling like someone had sprinkled the sea with diamonds and Carly Simon singing “I Only Have Eyes for You” somewhere in the background.
Shea gave evidence of his romantic bent when he explained to The Christian Index the reason he proposed, “Karen is just so beautiful, wonderful, caring, and loving. She touches my heart and warms my soul. I believe the major factor,” he reasoned, “is that Karen just completes me. I see such a wonderful life ahead with her and look forward to so many delightful times together.”
Debbie Gaines, who works with Karen in the executive offices, commented, “Good things happen to those who wait! Shea and Karen waited a while and we got impatient, but now two good people will be together as one. I am so happy for them.”
Daphne Youngblood, who works in Woman’s Missionary Union, exclaimed, “My heart was overjoyed and my prayers were answered with the news of Shea and Karen getting engaged. I am glad they each have someone with whom they can divide the joys of life. Mark Twain said, ‘To get the full value of a joy you must have someone to divide it with.’”
“Shea, like the rest of us married guys, is out-punting his coverage with Karen,” Dr. J. Robert White, executive director, proclaimed. “We are all excited about this engagement. We have all kidded Shea so much about moving slowly that I am not sure what we’ll talk about now. I know at least 30 ministers who have offered to do the wedding if Shea would ever put the ring on Karen’s finger. These are two wonderful people and I could not be happier for them, or more excited.”
Any news publication loves to get an exclusive and The Christian Index is pleased to be the first to announce that the wedding will be January 6, 2018. Congratulations to a splendid Christian couple!