A Christmas Blessing
I still often wonder about my purpose in God’s ministry. Most recently, I discovered one of my purposes. I will share a good story that is worth telling. A story where the lives of people come together, sometimes in difficult circumstances and individuals ask themselves, “Why am I going through this?” People sometimes try to make sense of tough circumstances and endure them as part of life. Others gain strength through difficult times, as they place their faith in God. The latter somehow are left with a sense of peace, knowing that everything will work itself out in God’s time.
We all desire for miracles to sweep us out of our current situation, or some kind of relief valve to reduce our stress. But most of us can recount times in our past where hardships turned into a blessing. This is a short story providing us with a little hope, that God does hear our prayers, He does see our hardship, and yes, He does want us to participate in His work of blessing others.
Franky and Alyssa had been planning their wedding since they first got together, and the couple constantly had to push the date back because they just didn’t have the financial means to plan a wedding. They had decided to get married at the courthouse, hoping they could have a traditional wedding ceremony and reception at a later date. But like most young couples, their desires were put on the back burner in order to take care of the business of family. Now being twenty-three and having two kids, one of them being a preemie, had been extremely challenging, especially since the babies were only one year apart. Yari (two years old) and Ezequiel (a one-year-old preemie) are what you would call miracle babies, especially since Alyssa was bound to face any pregnancy as a major challenge, due to her petite size.
The bride shared with us her story in her own words.
“We found out we were expecting Ezequiel when Yari was just six months old. I had a good first trimester, but once I hit the twentieth-week in my pregnancy, everything went downhill. On my husband birthday, I was having heavy contractions and was placed on bed rest for the remainder of my pregnancy. At thirty-three weeks, while I was just sitting down, my water broke. Franky rushed me to the hospital. Because it was so early in the pregnancy, the doctors didn’t want to deliver the baby until at least thirty- four weeks. But Ezequiel was born at thirty-three weeks via C-section.
Every hospital visit from our twentieth through thirty- third week, Franky and I would talk about our dream wedding. I would tell him how I wanted to be able to dance with my dad. I loved to dance and wanted my wedding to be full of dancing. I wanted my parents to be able to relax and not worry about anything. We would talk about how we just wanted everyone to have fun. I would tell him that I wanted a dessert bar (not an alcohol bar) full of strawberry- frosted and glazed donuts from Dunkin’ Donuts, chocolate chip cookies, candy, and just things we love to have along with a strawberry milk fountain rather than a punch fountain.
But upon Ezequiel’s third week in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), we decided to hold off on any wedding plans. But we wouldn’t stop talking about all the romance we wanted in the room with lots of candles and flowers. Ezequiel has taught me to my keep faith in God because He is taking care of everything. Ezequiel is now a twenty-one-pound one-year-old baby, who has been through so many milestones. Like other preemies, Ezequiel gets weekly therapy to help him catch up. I never imagined a blessing was just around the corner, much sooner than I had ever imagined.
I’m very thankful to God that my dream wedding will be taking place all because I met Rosie with 27 Miracles. Everything has been a true blessing, and I am so excited.”
27 Miracles has worked with various charitable events, either hosting or contributing their resources in the past, especially during the busy holiday season. We have had the opportunity to participate in events that raise funds with well-known charities: Brides Against Breast Cancer; Toys for Tots; Boys and Girls Club, and Wish Upon a Wedding. But we never imagined something of this nature to occur and the manner in which it occurred.
27 Miracles has established relationships with people all over the wedding industry as the years have gone by, and some of those relationships have been very beneficial to the overall mission and purpose of 27 Miracles. A caterer had contacted us prior to the start of the holiday and wanted to donate his services to a deserving bride. He offered his services to cater a wedding for seventy-five to one hundred people, centerpieces, linen, bouquets/floral for bride, and bridal party. The caterer’s philosophy of business was centered on generosity and service to all his clients. The caterer has given his services away to those in need on a regular basis, as a way of giving back to the community, and to be a blessing. He has always credited God with his business’s success and vitality. So, the time came for him to donate his service to a special couple, worthy of the donation, who would be getting married in December or January.
I had been contacted by Alyssa earlier in the year; she had postponed her wedding several times due to financial needs pressing her, from medical and other living costs, mostly associated with taking care of her family. So, when I was contacted by the caterer, who was seeking to bless a couple with his catering services, I was excited. I had established a special relationship with this bride, who also had a premature baby at home.
I said to the caterer, “I do happen to know a couple. They are a young couple. They have a daughter and most recently had a preemie baby boy who was in the NICU like Kaleb, my own son. For a while, she tried to plan her wedding with us but was not able to come up with the funds to do it.”
The caterer was happy to help out this couple, as a Christmas blessing. I immediately contacted the bride.
I offered the bride this special package and said now she should have sufficient finances to cover the rest of the vendors, including my services. Alyssa spoke with Francisco, the groom, and even with two jobs, the couple still was not able to make it work financially. Due to the medical bills that they had, Francisco became stressed with finances and was taken to the Emergency Room with heart palpitations secondary to stress (He is much too young to experience this).
I didn’t want the bride to lose this opportunity to get the majority of her wedding covered and knew if she didn’t take advantage, she could lose this onetime chance, so I decided it was best to give away my services also. I felt in my heart that this couple was the most deserving of this Christmas blessing, and I wanted to make this happen for them. I knew that we were hurting and in need of financial payment, but as I prayed, I felt in my heart that I was to donate my service to this bride.
However, I said to myself, “I need the income, how can I?”
What came to my mind was that the caterer donating his service is donating not only time but the actual product that he has to purchase, as well as hiring additional staff to help him do the event. I thought to myself, “All I have is the knowledge and the service to help put this together.” But, that was just the beginning. In order to have a fully functional wedding from start to finish, we were still short in other services. I thought, “What about the photo, video, DJ, and cake? When I prayed, the right team of vendors that would make this happen for this couple came to mind. As I contacted the main vendors for the photo, video, DJ, and cake, they, without many questions replied, “Yes, we will help.” They responded just as what was laid in my heart with their hearts. We asked a few other vendors if they could donate their services to this couple, some were not able to help, and that was okay because people have to do what is best for their business. But the ones that originally came to my mind were generous and willing to be a part of this Christmas blessing.
One of the things that God laid on my heart was that it is easy to make a donation when the blessings of riches and business are with us, but when we are struggling, it is not that easy, and that is the true sacrifice. I understood that to mean that it is not about me or anyone else, but about blessing someone with the talents that we have.
The Bible says, “It is more blessed to give than to receive,” and that is true. We know the rewards may not be financial, but the joy to have this couple walk down the aisle and fulfill their lifelong dream will be the reward in itself for now. On December 2, 2011, we had a team of earthly angels make this day the best that it could be for Alyssa and Francisco.
In Hebrews 13:2, it states, “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” This team of vendors gave away a Christmas blessing for Alyssa and Francisco, despite some of the opposition that some went through in the last two weeks dealing with personal and family illness, accidents, hospital stays and broken promises, but they all said regardless of our circumstance, we will be there. God has a plan, and we are here fulfilling it for His glory.
The bride and groom had no idea what 27 Miracles had in store for them on their wedding day. Some of the additional blessings at the wedding included; the beautiful Venue, professional uplighting, Chiavari chairs, fuchsia aisle runner, crystal trees, a wishing tree, butterfly-decorated cake, strawberry cake pops, limo ride to the honeymoon destination, a two-night stay at a luxury hotel in downtown Disney, tickets for two days to Disney park of choice, harpist, vocalists, and so much more that made for a complete wedding experience.
The bride and groom were surprised every step of the way throughout the ceremony and reception, never aware of what surprise awaited them around the corner. 27 Miracles today is very thankful to have had the privilege of working with several vendors, who each generously contributed their time, finances, and services.
The ghost that I did not share earlier was the caterer who said he never agreed to a hundred people at the last minute: the week of the wedding. I said, “That is what you offered us and we have it in writing.”
He said that he never said that and that if I did not like that, I can cancel the event or pay the difference.
During this time, I had lost my day job and had many medical bills from my premature baby. So, how could I pay for the additional guests and vendors who donated their time and service and the children? The caterer was only covering fifty people and wanted the payment that week, immediately, for the additional guests. I knew that the client did not have the funds, neither did the family. I spoke with the mother of the bride and she said that she could help with four hundred dollars, but it still left a seven hundred dollar balance.
I was unemployed, and the only income I had was my unemployment check and weddings. I thought, “What to do now, Lord?” So I took my unemployment check and the few dollars that we had saved and paid the man. And so I thought, Okay, he can take the remaining five hundred dollars owed from a coordination commission job that we worked together. It should have been 10 percent according to the agreement. Well, when it came time to collect, I said, “Can you take my commission and just put it toward this wedding? His reply was, “Sure, I can put the fifty toward that. It is 10 percent of my profit, and on this event I only made five hundred, so fifty is your commission.” Wow! I said, “Lord, what am I to do?” I believed that the Lord would provide, and I used my unemployment check and sacrificed our needs. I know, not smart—but we did survive.
Shortly after the money was paid, I thought with Christmas coming, a toddler that was sick, how would we do this and keep the power on and get groceries and a gift for our son? The Lord provided. We humbly sought the help of Nathaniel’s Hope for a gift to give the baby. A friend purchased another gift, a story book, and a stuffed toy that went with the story and my little toddler knew no difference that year. Right after Alyssa’s wedding, we landed several weddings that helped us recuperate. We had to continue to use our God given talents to help others and glorify the Lord.
The vendors involved were:
27 Miracles staff—Rosie Moore, and Marcus Moore, who donated their services (wedding coordination), wedding gown preservation, children’s meals, vendor meals, additional centerpieces, and Angela Nuran Shoes (www.27miraclesbyrosie.com) (http://www.angelanuran.com/).
Cornelia/Keepsake Floral, who donated floral preservation of the bride’s bouquet (www.keepsakeflo- ral.com)
Lena Graham/Lean G for the bride’s hair and makeup (http://lenagraham.com/)
Candi Ekstrom/All About Your Wedding Day for the bridesmaids’ and bride’s mother’s hair and makeup (http://www.allaboutyourweddingday.com/ default.asp).
Susan Esposito/Casa di Bella for the bride’s gown, veil, and tiara (http: //www.casadibellacelebration. com/)
Kim/Kim’s Tailor and Alterations—donated the wedding gown alterations to the bride.
Jon Zimmerman/Absolutely Fitting—donated the tuxedos worn by the groom, groomsman, and the groom’s father (http://absolutelyfitting.com/)
Joel Rodriguez/Bjoely Catering—donated catering services, food, linen, and floral for fifty people (http:// www.bjoely.com/)
Priscilla Lucas/Party Flavors—donated the wedding cake (www.orlandocustomcakes.com).
Ronnie/Ronnie’s Candy Kitchen—donated the straw- berry cake pops (www.rwchocolatefountains.com).
Diane Jensen/The Wedding Party—donated her service, wedding arch, cake and sweetheart table décor, wedding chocolate favors and other details to enhance the wedding (http://www.thewedding- party.us/).
Suzanne Nichols/Suzanne Nichols Design—donated crystal trees and wishing tree (http://www.suzan- nenichols.com/)
Marcus Moore/27 Miracles—officiating services (www.27miraclesbyrosie.com).
Christopher Gaitan/Vocalist—donated his time to sing.
Brittney Morris/Vocalist—donated her time to sing.
Christine MacPhail/Harpist—donated her time to play (www.orlanodharpist.com).
Andres Roque and Assistant Kri /Miami Pro DJ— DJ services donated for ceremony and reception
Louise Alimahomed/Royal Plaza Hotel/donated an executive suite for 2 night stay in downtown Disney (http://www.royalplaza.com/).
Erika Solis/Ramada Gateway Hotel–donated Disneytickets (www.ramadagateway.com).
Lori Cole—donated Disney Tickets
Keith Brady—donated Disney tickets
Rose Robinson/The Invitation Lounge–donated Wedding Invitations (www.theinvitationlounge. com).
Marisol Ferrera/Nannuk Media and Invitations—donated menus, place cards, table numbers, and wedding programs (http://www.invitationsbynan- nuk.com).
Darrin Shifrel/Orlando Wedding and Party Rental- also donated the Chiavari chairs and tables (http:// www.orlandoweddingandpartyrentals.com/).
Christal Feldman/Orlando Wedding Group— donated the fuchsia aisle runner (http://www. orlandoweddinggroup.com/).
Bruce and Kelsey Johnson/KBJ Photography— donated photography of the wedding (http://kbj- photography.com/index2.php).
Bruce Reynolds/ Treasured Moments Videography—donated video of the wedding (http://tmvph- dfilms.com/index.html).
Mary Angelini/Key Moments Videography— donated video of the wedding http://www.keymo- mentsonline.com/
Janina Martinez/Heaven Event Center—donated their space for this wedding (http://heaven8240. com/ or contact them directly at events@heaven- eventcenter.com)
Tagas Productions–uplighting for the wedding (http://www.orlandodjvideo.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=48&Itemid=29& tab=three).
Alice Klinger/Destination MCO–donated a stretch limo to take the couple to their honeymoon destination (http://www.destinationmco.com/)
Marcia Van de Kieft/Loving Arms Nanny Service—sent six nannies to care of the children at the wedding (http://www.ourlovingarms.com/).
Follow Rosie Moore