HARDY, Va. (WDBJ7) Like a-lot of married couples you meet, Pastor Jay Richards and his wife Roxanne love reminiscing about the day they first met.
“I worked a job at TJ Maxx apprehending shoplifters. And she came in and I apprehended her,” said Jay.
But, just for the record.
“I wasn't shoplifting,” said Roxanne.
“No, she wasn't shoplifting,” said Jay.
Now that we've cleared that up, let's get back to the story.
“I thought I've got to get to know this girl,” Jay said.
He was smitten alright and a little shy. He couldn't get up the nerve to take things beyond their initial hello. As a matter fact, they went a whole year without talking to each other. But the good news is, divine appointments are never missed.
“We ended up bumping into each other in the Roanoke area at a restaurant and I felt like the Lord said you know what I'm giving you one more chance, so I went up to her and said, ‘Hey,’” Jay explained.
That hello would set the course for some amazing things to come.
“We got married September 4, 1999 and it was a blessing. We met in January and we got engaged in March and got married in September. We moved very quickly, but we knew it was the Lord's will,” explained Roxanne.
Since the day they said “I do” there have been many up and downs. But they say putting Jesus Christ first in their marriage has made all the difference. It's actually what led them to start their own marriage ministry at New Testament Baptist Church in Vinton. It's called Marriage ALIVE.
They not only talk about God's design for marriage, but they celebrate marriage and have fun at their yearly retreat. They also host a one-day marriage conference.
“Christ resurrects dead things. That what he does. He takes dead things and brings them to life. He's the only one I know who can do that. And so when a marriage is dead I tell two people, guess what I've got some good news for you, I know who brings back to life dead and that's the importance of Christ in marriage.
The Richards say their dream is to see other churches have a marriage ministry. They say strong marriages make for strong families and strong families make for strong churches.