Disaster relief volunteers find love while serving
Aug 21, 2014
By BARBARA DENMAN
Florida Baptist Convention
LEESBURG (FLBaptist)—Working in the midst of a massive cleanup after severe flooding hit Pensacola, two Florida Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers, Cheryl King and Frank Sledjeski, found more than a ministry to homeowners; they discovered love and a new life partner.
“We were able to clean out three homes and minister to these families,” said King. “We were also able to get to know each other better. We knew our meeting was not by accident; it was ordained by God.”
The week after serving in Pensacola, the couple spoke on the phone every day as they continued to get to know each other. They learned they were both from Connecticut, loved the beach, roller coasters and more.
“We completed each other’s sentences and every morning, we would read from the Bible, do a daily devotion, and put on the armor of God,” she recalled.
|BLESSED EVENT Delton Beall, strategist for the Florida Baptist Convention’s Disaster Relief and Recovery Team, officiates the wedding ceremony of Cheryl King and Frank Sledjeski on July 19 at the Lake Yale Baptist Conference Center in Leesburg. Courtesy photo|
Not long after that week, Sledjeski of Englewood asked King to marry him.
“Of course I said ‘yes!’ ” she recalled. “My engagement ring was a dollar bill origami ring. It was priceless!”
The couple, dressed in their disaster relief yellow shirts, was married July 19 on the banks of Lake Yale where they were attending a statewide leadership training event at the Lake Yale Baptist Conference Center in Leesburg.
They decided to marry at Lake Yale because they wanted all of their disaster relief friends to participate in their joyous occasion.
Delton Beall, strategist for the Florida Baptist Convention’s Disaster Relief and Recovery Team, officiated the ceremony. Sarah Jo Tremble, state feeding coordinator, helped plan the wedding along with Marvin Corbin, DR Field Missionary/Logistics, who prepared a barbecue dinner for the guests. Other volunteer friends pitched in with provided food, decorations, cake and chairs.
The newlywed couple first met at the Florida Disaster Relief training weekend held at Pompano Beach in May. They had worked together on the feeding unit, and found opportunity to talk about being single and their love for disaster relief.
King had recently lost her mother. Two years before their meeting, Sledjeski had made a switch from volunteering with the American Red Cross to working with Florida Baptists and joined First Baptist Church of Englewood.
While they worked together in Pompano Beach, the severe weather flooded the state’s most western Panhandle city.
When her disaster relief team from Tampa was called out to Pensacola, King suggested to her team leaders that he call Sledjeski.
Just a few months later, the two became husband and wife.
As they look back over their relationship, the Sledjeskis believe God was blessing their love for the disaster relief ministry and their commitment to serve Christ through it by orchestrating a new life together.
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