16 Years of Sunshine!!!

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  • 16 Years of Sunshine!!!
  • There two big days in my life.

    I do not remember the date of the first one. It was a Saturday night. My parents sent me to bed. Church was in the morning. But I couldn’t sleep. Throughout the night, I wrestled with the implications of the gospel my father preached and my mother sang. At some point during the night – or morning – I surrendered my life to Christ.

    I was only six years old. But that dateless night was real to me. I believed that Jesus died on the cross for my sins. And I knew that faith in him meant that I should live for him.

    The second big day in my life was Pastor & Crystal C#27CC822.

    Crystal and I stood before the three most important men in my life..

    • My adopted “Pops,” John Reed Jr., preached the wedding message.
    • My brother, Kevin B. Willis, officiated.
    • My pastor – Melvin V. Wade Sr., led the exchange of vows.

    I met Crystal in Coach Williams World History class at Los Angeles High School. She sat next to me and always asked to cheat off my homework and test!

    I was the nerd, who wore suits to school. She was the prettiest girl in school!

    We met again after high school and became fast friends. I am an introvert who avoids superficial relationships. But Crystal was and is the easiest person to be with.

    I enjoyed every moment with Crystal. But neither of us thought we would end up with one another. She was a bright and beautiful young woman with her life before her. I was a young pastor whose life course was already clearly determined.

    I would often tell Crystal that she would not be able to hang with where my life and ministry was headed.

    I was wrong! Praise God, I was wrong!

    IMG_2813The day I asked Crystal to marry me was also a day of family tragedy. My nephew died not long after his birth. And my family sent Crystal to check on me after I received the news.

    I was in the midst of a church fight. The Deacons and Trustees had taken me to court to put me out. And I did not know if I would have a job long.

    I planned to propose to Crystal on her birthday, 1997. But the elders of my church advised me to wait until I was sure I still had a job.

    But that day, some four months later, I could wait no more. However long I had left in my life and wherever my life and ministry was headed, I wanted to travel that road with Crystal by my side.

    Sixteen years have now passed. And it’s been a long journey. Three children. Two churches. Different coasts. Many ups. Some downs. But she has been my best friend, prayer partner, and number one cheerleader the whole way.

    IMG_2891The Lord has been good to me. But outside of his saving grace in Christ Jesus, the best thing he has done in my life was to give Crystal to me. I am what I am and where I am because of her love, partnership, and sacrifice.

    I love you, Sunshine!

    Happy anniversary.


    H.B. Charles Jr.

    Pastor-Teacher at the Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church of Jacksonville and Orange Park, Florida.