by David & Claudia Arp
June 01st, 2017
We met Carlos and Genie at our church’s mission conference. Their enthusiasm, energy and sheer joy of living drew us to them. Parents of two young daughters and missionaries in Mexico, they were interested in helping marriages and families. They were especially fascinated with our concept of 10 Great Dates®.
So you can imagine our shock when the next November we received a letter from Carlos telling us that Genie had died suddenly of meningitis. Now, his life was turned upside down—he was alone with his two young daughters.“When we get back to Mexico,” Carlos told us, “we will start our own 10 Great Dates group.” Assuring us they would stay in touch, we said good-bye, looking forward to hearing from them in the future.
As our mission conference rolled around that spring, we wondered if Carlos would be there. He was, and he sent word that he wanted to talk with us. We’ll never forget that conversation.
Carlos told us how he and Genie started their own Great Dates group and how they kept each other’s children so each couple could have their dates. It really worked! Their dates were fun, refreshing and reenergizing for their marriage. Then he told us about the last week of Genie’s life.
“That week it was our time for others to keep our children. So on Sunday we had our Great Date. We walked and talked and just enjoyed being together. The next day I left for an out-of-town conference. When I kissed Genie goodbye, I had no clue it would be that last time I would hold her in my arms. Soon after I left, she became ill and in a matter of hours she was gone.
“Tell other couples,” Carlos told us with his voice breaking, “not to take each other for granted, to seize the day, to take time for their marriages now. You just don’t know how long you will have with each other.”
Our eyes filled with tears. We thought of the past week. We had been busy. Too busy. We had missed our weekly date. Then God seemed to whisper to us . . . Seize the day for your marriage! Not tomorrow, not next week, next month or next year! Seize the day today!
Fortunately, our story has a happy ending. Carlos came back to the United States with his two daughters. Time heals. Life goes on. Sandy, another missionary who also had a heart for Mexico, entered his life. Love blossomed. Now, back in Mexico, Carlos and Sandy are partners in marriage and ministry and parents to the two girls. They have regular dates. They work at keeping their own relationship growing and fresh. They keep on “seizing the day!” Can we do less? Heaven forbid, but it could be all that we have!
See each morning as if it were the morning of the very first day; treasure each day as if it were the evening of the very last day. ANONYMOUS