Taken from our wedding bulletin.
Laura is a genuinely happy women who learned that God is worth following. She was privileged to have parents who taught her about Jesus. At an early age, she asked Jesus to save her. Life gave her some rough and tumble experiences. In her teen years she questioned, “Could life be better without God?” She quickly learned the answer to this question was “NO!” At the age of 18 she pledged all that she had to Jesus, trusting Him to lead her. The next 14 years held many challenges. Without fail God took care of Laura and proved that He is faithful. However, one thought persisted in Laura’s mind, “God, you gave me this desire to be a missionary, be married and raise a family. So, why are you clearly telling me to stay in Peoria, Illinois? I am confused, but I will keep trusting you.” By the summer of 2001 God opened doors for Laura to go on a trip to Alaska. He also began dropping hints through friends and family that He was about to fulfill the desires of her heart.
Daryl is a genuinely serious man who learned that God is worth following. He was privileged to have parents who taught him about Jesus. At an early age, he asked Jesus to save him. Life also dealt him some rough and tumble experiences. He questioned, “Is God really there and is He worth following?” He repeatedly learned that the answer to this question was “Yes!” Throughout his twenties, God asked Daryl to do things he felt inadequate to accomplish. Daryl obeyed. God proved to be faithful by empowering him do these tasks while also healing Daryl’s childhood scars. So, when God called him to be a missionary, Daryl obeyed. However, by the summer of 2001, Daryl was asking God, “Why did you allow my sister, Norene, to die? Why is it taking so long to get to the mission field in Alaska? I have been raising support for almost two years! God, I am confused but I will keep trusting you.”
Annie Fehr is one of Laura’s genuine friends. She also happens to be sister-in-law to Daryl’s friend Paul. In early August 2001, Annie heard Daryl’s presentation about God’s work in Alaska. That evening Laura came to her mind. Annie knew Laura loved her time in Alaska, but Annie also knew that Laura really did not like to be “set up”. However, Annie could not shake the feeling that God wanted her to hand Laura a copy of Daryl’s newsletter. Since Annie had also decided that God was worth following, she obeyed. This simple act of obedience set God’s plan in motion.
While resistant at first, Laura emailed Daryl at the end of September with the innocent request to join his prayer team. Daryl responded with general information and the innocent question, “Why did you choose such an odd email address?” That spawned many emails. Each computer correspondence carried an increased desire to get to know the person on the other end. One email included a phone number and an invitation to discuss a Biblical question. If you ask her now, Laura will tell you it is out of character for her to be so forward and send her number. So it’s understandable that she became very angry with herself. Three days later, on Halloween, she found herself crying out to God and just giving this “silly infatuation” over to his hands. God clearly impressed upon her, “Don’t worry. He will call you tonight and it will be okay”.
While resistant at first, Daryl decided a phone call would be harmless. Besides, he was bored since no one was at his door crying out “trick or treat”. Their two-hour conversation spawned many similar long distance calls. A couple weeks later Daryl asked Laura if she would like to come up and join him and his sister on a Michigan Avenue window-shopping spree. Spontaneous Laura could not resist such an offer. If you ask him now, Daryl will tell you it is out of character for him to be so spontaneous. He just needed to answer the nagging question in his head, “Have I found something more then just a good friendship?” Laura came up the Saturday after Thanksgiving Day, stayed the night with Daryl’s sister, Nora, and went to church the next morning. If you ask them now, they both will say that they felt weird on that Saturday evening. However, during Sunday morning breakfast that weirdness melted and conversation flowed as if they were long time friends.
As they spent Sunday together, Daryl quickly learned the answer to his question was “YES!” While at Starbucks, Daryl expressed how he really liked Laura and did not want to “play games”. He asked permission to date her with the express purpose of answering the question, “Would God have this relationship end in marriage or stay a good friendship?” Laura joyfully agreed. She went home praising God and told her friends and family about how God answered their prayers.
What ensued had more thrills than any roller coaster ever created. After all, it is not easy for a 30-year-old man to relinquish his singleness. Both Laura and Daryl knew early on that God’s intention was for them to be married. Laura’s parents were also confident of this fact. So with this information followed by wise counsel from Pastor Steve Leston and much prayer, Daryl knew what he needed to do. On Saint Patrick’s Day, on top of the Sears Tower, Daryl H. Carlson asked Laura B. Nickerson to be his wife. With overflowing tears and joy, she said “YES”!
Looking back on the decision process Daryl said, “Never in my life has God answered so many prayers so quickly and so clearly. He made it abundantly evident that He was the one putting us together.”
Long before they met, Laura and Daryl decided to trust God’s promise found in Proverbs 3:5-6. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” This resulted in a life that was anything but boring. It was difficult, and yet the rewards always far outweighed the necessary trials. So, don’t be surprised when they tell you that this is how they will live as a married couple. They will be joining SEND International as missionaries to Alaska. They are even willing to serve in a foreign country (like Russia) if that is where God leads. To top it all off, they actually want about five children (don’t attempt that one without God). Following God is not always easy, but it is more than worth it!
“God has been so faithful to us throughout the years. We thank Him and praise Him for all He has done. We want to give Him all the glory for making our wedding day a reality.”
-Daryl and Laura