Wedding Made in Nursing Home

Oh, I know you think this post is about some elderly couple, surprise, it is about a young couple getting married for the first time. A journey that was built on love and compassion being expressed in action, not word. Let’s start with a little history.

Kayla Estrada

Kayla Estrada is a longtime family friend. Her Grandfather, Richard King, was a dear friend, prayer warrior and brother in the church in my formative years of being Lead Pastor. Richard and I would meet about 4-5 days a week at a restaurant and drink coffee together. Our topics were on the Word of God, faith, direction and church. When I would preach, he would go into a prayer room upstairs that had a window looking down on the pulpit. I could see him praying, he could see me and when the struggle was apparent, prayers intensified. Richard, passed this life way too soon, the void was devastating.

Kayla’s mother met a young man, playing and singing rock and roll, with his long hair and love hit. It was my honor to be asked to perform their ceremony to become man and wife. In the process, a long testimony, Patrick and Debbie dedicated themselves to become bilingual Pastors. They have dug two churches out and given themselves to ministry.

Jerrod Hawbaker

Jerrod entered my journey on his releasal from 19 months in the county jail. A big man with a child’s heart and a desire to help us advance. He entered our PAC (Prison After Care) House and became very involved in raising funds for our homeless ministry, Biker Sunday and Free Camp. He had his up’s and down’s and we lost touch at times but never completely.

Jerrod was scheduled to have surgery to help him lose weight, at the time weighing just under 600 pounds. Just before the surgery, he received a flu shot. His body reacted by ‘shutting down’. His hand would not straighten, he was immobilized from the shoulders down, only limited use of his arms. He had to be fed.

He traveled from hospital to rehab to nursing homes. His diagnosis: never leave the nursing home, never walk and be bound to a wheel chair for the rest of his life.

Enter a young lady, Kayla, texting and messaging on FaceBook. More importantly, enter HOPE! The three year relationship started when Kayla drove 120 miles one way to see this broken and hopeless man. She began to pour faith and hope into Jerrod, who soaked it all up.

On November 1, 2017, Jerrod moved into his own house, cooks for himself and is preparing for a bride to move into the house with him. On Thanksgiving Day 2017, Jerrod asked Kayla to look a stocking hanging on the fireplace mantle, to her amazement an engagement ring was awaiting her. Of course, there was crying, rejoicing and laughing around the room filled with the Estrada family. Jerrod, weighing in at 320-330 is on track to continue his rehabilitation.

Our message at church that morning was on HOPE, the first day we celebrate Advent. I am honored to be able to perform their ceremony on April 7, 2018, all because HOPE came shining through in one of the darkest moments of a young man’s life. All because a young lady learned to share HOPE from her Father and Mother built on the faith and hope of a man who has been gone for over 30 years.


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1 thought on “Wedding Made in Nursing Home”

  • Praise God pastor Gary, I was in the program with Jerrod and have watched his life unfold. What a great testiment to God’s power working in broken lives!
    And oh the joy that floods my soul!!!

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