Saturday, September 14, 2019
I am extremely grateful to be here today and to share any words about having a changed life. The most appropriate way I can think of to begin this testimony is by giving credit where credit is due: to my parents, Rick and Jenni Mendl, for making the decision to move to Franklin, Tennessee, leaving their old lives behind to join a small Remnant of believers. I’m grateful for our Church leadership, who works tirelessly to support our Church and its needs, and to live out Christlike lives and set examples of righteousness; and also specifically to Joseph and Maria Langsdon, a couple who Theresa and I have grown close to, look up to, and love as a second set of parents. Finally, I am thankful for Gwen Shamblin Lara, who taught us all how to love God and started a movement so powerful that it leads hundreds of families to relocate to join a Church in the middle of Brentwood Tennessee, because of her deep love for God, and without whom I would never have met the love of my life. For that, I am eternally grateful.
My parents joined the Remnant Fellowship Church very early on, and I was born soon after. Growing up in this Church, I am surrounded by people who have learned from their own mistakes, and they teach me to avoid making the same mistakes in order to avoid pain. This group of people puts God first, and the love of others above self, and has taught me to see the importance of a relationship with God. Although it was my parents who brought our family into this Church, and it is all I have ever known, there came a time when I had to make a decision: Am I a member of the Remnant Fellowship just because it is where my family and friends are or am I a true member and follower of Christ and this Truth because of my own thoughts and decisions? I decided to test my motives. I quickly learned that a life without the Truth can only lead to emptiness and depression. This is my motive for staying in this Church and this Truth: The fruit of putting God first and following the Messages taught here shows the fulfillment and joy of a true Christlike group of people.
Although Theresa is beautiful on the outside, what caught my eye was that her relationship with God is more intimate and personal than I had ever seen in our age group. Theresa’s servant heart and unconditional love for everyone around her was something that I wanted to imitate. I told myself when Theresa first caught my eye, that even if it didn’t result in a relationship, I still wanted to become her friend and learn from her.– Austin
While Theresa and I have known each other our whole lives, even attending kindergarten together, our relationship began during the Summer of 2015. Although Theresa is beautiful on the outside, what caught my eye was that her relationship with God is more intimate and personal than I had ever seen in our age group. Theresa’s servant heart and unconditional love for everyone around her was something that I wanted to imitate. I told myself when Theresa first caught my eye, that even if it didn’t result in a relationship, I still wanted to become her friend and learn from her.
It had always been on my heart to date someone with the intent of marriage, so one Saturday morning while at Church, I prayed to God for a specific sign that would show me that pursuing Theresa was His will and not just my own. Without getting too detailed, God sent me three signs that more than confirmed that Theresa was the one God wanted me to marry. That day was four years ago, and from that moment on I was certain that Theresa was the one I wanted to marry. Although Theresa and I went through some testing along the way, even separating for close to a year, I still had faith in God and that His plan for Theresa and I was better than anything I could ever plan.
I’ve been asked by friends and family why I would want to get married now, and all
I say is that having faith in God and loving Him before anything else is the only reason this opportunity to get married came our way. Having a relationship with God, being in tune with His Spirit, and trusting in Him all are keys to being able to take such a big step in life and have total peace.
No words can describe my gratefulness to God for His Hand in every detail of my life that has led me to this moment. He knew exactly what He was doing when he brought my parents down from Detroit, Michigan to Brentwood, Tennessee where the Remnant Fellowship Church originally started. From the time I was a little girl, this place taught me how to dig into the Bible and find a relationship with God for myself, and it is so fitting that I also found the love of my life through this Church, and now we get to be married in this Church!
Austin and I began our relationship in the summer of 2015, and throughout these four years, he has been the most constant, loving, kind, selfless, servant-hearted, and courageous man that I have had the honor to know. Over the past four years, Austin and I have truly grown and learned together what it means when the Bible says “For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is Savior,” (Ephesians 5:21). Just as Christ laid his life down for the Church, Austin continually lays his life down for me in love and action by constantly directing my attention and love back up to God.
I continue to learn and grow in my relationship with God…with Austin’s help and with the help of the incredible body of people who all have the same goal: To love God first…and love others second. I just cannot believe that through all the ups and downs over the years, I still have the opportunity to marry and devote the rest of my life to God and the amazing man He is gifting to me.– Theresa
The fruit of following the advice and wisdom that comes through the sermons of the Church has been true love and joy in my heart, and a wonderful relationship with my parents, and loving to spend time with my family and the Mendl family. I have peace and a sense of self-control, trust, and faithfulness to God and His Church. These emotions are so hard to convey in words because true love for God and others is inexpressible.
I continue to learn and grow in my relationship with God…with Austin’s help and with the help of the incredible body of people who all have the same goal: To love God first…and love others second. I just cannot believe that through all the ups and downs over the years, I still have the opportunity to marry and devote the rest of my life to God and the amazing man He is gifting to me.
On March 23, 2019, Austin told me we were going to go study together but needed to run an errand for Joseph Langsdon. Austin and I drove 40 minutes to Primm Springs, Tennessee. There, he walked me by a gorgeous waterfall where beautiful white ribbons billowed from the trees…and a gorgeous handmade wood-burned sign sitting on a bed on rocks above the waterfall spelled out “Austin & Theresa.” None of these things clued me to what was happening…until I saw Austin get down on one knee and ask me to spend the rest of my life with him! Austin put weeks of work into preparing the area for the proposal under the direction of our dear Joseph Langsdon, who had the original idea to do the proposal in that location. He kept it an amazing surprise even throughout the weeks of work and the 40-minute drive out to Primm! My dearest friends and family attended the proposal and I am still speechless over the day…except for a resounding “Thank you” to the friends and family for helping Austin and I arrive at this point in our lives where we are ready to devote and lay down our lives for one another. Without this Church and the lives of the members in it, we would not be ready to step into the rest of our lives together and have confidence in a peaceful and long marriage.
I want to give a special thank you to Gwen Lara and all of the leadership of this Remnant Fellowship Church for being incredible examples of what it looks like to put God first in your lives and to be given back blessings abundantly. And another special thank you goes to our incredible wedding party…all who are selected based upon your significant roles in helping Austin and I thrive together as a couple. You have brought so much joy and fun into our lives. But most importantly, we give thanks to God for every little detail that He has created and done in our lives and continues to do as the only God of the Universe…the God who wants a personal relationship with us. It is amazing that it is a true reality that we can put our trust fully into one God…and know that we will not be led astray.