Disaster relief volunteers find love while serving

Baptist Press
Posted: Sep 02, 2014 5:52 PM
LEESBURG, Fla. (BP) -- Working in the midst of a massive cleanup after severe flooding hit Pensacola, two Florida Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers 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 Cheryl King, who married fellow volunteer Frank Sledjeski. "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.

Not long after that week, Sledjeski of Englewood asked King to marry him.


"Of course I said 'yes!'" she said. "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 the special 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, disaster relief 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. While working together, they found an opportunity to talk about being single and their love for disaster relief.


During their time in Pompano Beach, 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 leader that he call Sledjeski. 


Just a few months later, the two became husband and wife. 


As they look back over their relationship, the Sledjeskis said they 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.

Barbara Denman is the Florida Baptist Convention's director of communications. This article first appeared in the Florida Baptist Witness (www.gofbw.com), newsjournal of the Florida convention.

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