Even if you are close friends with our family you might want to skip this post. It is very personal. I just wanted to tell my wife I love her and thank her for the 37 years together.

I know you will not believe this but from about the age of 12 I dreamed about getting married and having a family. I dreamed of a girl who would share her life with me. In the fall of 1972 I saw that girl. She was wearing her hair long, wearing blue jeans and moccasins sitting on the curb in front of her dorm. She smile and spoke to me. I thought what a wonderful girl.

I want to tell her and you how much I love her and what she has done in my life. We had our first date in December of 1972. I called her from a pay phone back in McEwen, Tennessee over Christmas break. Her mother answered and told me that she was not at home but staying with a friend. I called twice. She was never home. My cousin, Mark, told me that Betty just might be the one. I told him that she had no interest in me.

He said call her. I did. She wasn’t home. You would never believe where she was but it sure discouraged me.

We rode horses together, sang in a gospel group, traveled together etc but she wasn’t in love with me. She thought I made a good big brother. I was more and more in love with her every day.

I didn’t tell her because enough girls had broken my heart already. I didn’t plan on that happening again.

Finally in May of 1973 I asked her to marry me some day and she accepted. I then called back and asked her about August. She thought I was crazy and her parents really thought I was crazy but we got married on August 18, 1973. Betty was 19 years old and I was just 3 days short of 19.

We had nothing. I still lacked 3 years of college but boy was I happy. I had married the most wonderful woman in the world. Life was finally complete. She made all the difference in the world.

I stayed in school and we started working in our first church in October of 1973. From there it has been a whirlwind. Almost 37 years in full time ministry. Not getting paid enough to make it and working other jobs. Not knowing what I was doing in the ministry or as a husband but we made it.

God gave us 4 wonderful children. They have been the greatest blessings to us. He has now given us 14 grandchildren and one more to be born in December, Lord willing.

What a God and what a life!

I don’t know another woman who has experienced such drastic change in modern days. We have lived in 3 countries, 16 houses, pastored or worked in 9 churches, 1 Bible College, and many other ministries.

In the beginning we literally had no money. We struggled to get by but we were happy.

For over a year I gave up my salary, Betty didn’t have a job, and we lived out of an offering box like George Muller. God met every need. It was a thrill.

We finally had a church that was paying us and bought us a car and we surrendered to go to the mission field. We again had no income so it was full time on deputation but God met every need.

I can truly say like they sang the other night at Vision, All the Way My Savior Leads Me!

Betty there has never been another like you. You were meant for me. I am so glad that God blessed me with such a wonderful gift. You are more than life to me. I love you.

I have made many, many mistakes in my life. There is much I could go back and do better. I haven’t been the best husband, the best dad, the best pastor, or even the best Christian, but one thing I have never regretted was asking you to marry me! I love you.

I have no idea what God has for our future but I can promise you this, with you it will be fun, good, and worth it. You are the greatest. I love you.

For those who know us. She wanted more than these posts on my blog. She wanted a card. So I got her one this time.


  • Posted August 18, 2010 7:54 am
    by Travis Snode

    Happy Anniversary! Have a great day. You all are a huge blessing and wonderful example to us and to many others. We love you. – Travis And Teri

  • Posted August 18, 2010 8:26 am
    by Hayward

    Happy Anniversary!!! May God bless you with many more.

  • Posted August 18, 2010 9:18 am
    by Steve McVey

    Hey, I remember those kids in the pictures! Congratulations. God blessed you big time when Betty Ferguson showed up, buddy 🙂

  • Posted August 18, 2010 9:23 am
    by wagardner

    Thanks everyone-she has been a super blessing to me no doubt. I am very blessed.

  • Posted August 18, 2010 9:44 am
    by Leisa Littlefield

    Happy Anniversary! We love you guys:)
    The Littlefields

  • Posted August 18, 2010 11:34 am
    by Chris McBryar

    Happy anniversary Austin and Betty! I hope you guys have a great day. What a blessing to hear more of how you met and got married!!

  • Posted August 18, 2010 2:42 pm
    by Carlene Duncan

    Congratulations on your many years together. This has been one of the most precious “stories” I have ever read. It has been a privilege to be a small part of your life back in the days of MCS. May God continue to bless your lives and supply for every need. You are a blessing to so many.

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