Capturing the wedding of Cisco and Alyssa was such a joy and most definitely an honor. I met Alyssa back when we were both little girls, and our parents attended Faith Church in Allentown. A few decades later we reconnected while attending the same church yet again, this time as adults at Calvary Church in Lancaster. It was always such a joy to see Alyssa’s smiling face and a blessing to have her teach my children both in Sunday school and the preschool library.
When I heard that Alyssa was getting married, I could not have been any more excited. What a story the two of them have! Take a minute to hear about their remarkable journey from Alyssa’s perspective.
Our love story is an extraordinary tale, full of tragedy and suffering, but also blanketed in God’s goodness, faithfulness, and grace. Cisco and I met in an unusual way. Back in 1998 and 1999, I was on a Christian radio talk show program called Dawson McAllister Live. At the time, I was desperately ill with Lyme disease and totally bedridden. When Dawson finished interviewing me, he asked listeners to send me cards to cheer me up. I received over 3,000 cards and one of the people who wrote to me was Cisco. Cisco was deeply moved by my story, and he resolved to be a loyal friend to me. One Christmas, he even drove up to visit during a blizzard, although at the time, he confessed that he didn’t know why he was so drawn to our family. There was never anything romantic, only compassionate kindness for a sick girl who lived far away.
In 2002, Cisco married Cora, and she welcomed me with open arms and genuinely cared about me as a person. We always had a great deal of mutual respect for one another, and I cherished her as a friend. Cisco and Cora always remembered me at Christmas and at my birthday, and they typically roped the children into singing “happy birthday” to me each year. From time to time, we’d all talk on the phone, email, video chat, or write letters with pictures of the kids. Cisco and Cora were always faithful friends, and I was continually blown away by their thoughtfulness and compassion. As the children were born, (Luke in 2007, Jordan in 2009, and Amelia in 2015), they became part of our relationship as well. The kids referred to me as their parents’ pen pal from Pennsylvania and always connected with me. Cisco thought about cutting the ties completely between us from time to time since he was happily married, but he felt the Lord telling him that there was a reason why we were in each other’s lives and to keep being a steadfast friend.
Then, life took an unexpected turn in August of 2021 when Cora became deathly ill with Covid-19 and the Lord took her home to Heaven. We were all in shock, but eight words Cisco wrote at the time greatly impressed me. He said, “My heart is breaking, but God is good.” I was moved by his continued faith in His Heavenly Father, even though his world had suddenly shattered into a thousand pieces. It seemed that there was very little I could do, since we lived in different states, but I knew that I could pray and be a friend. My heart was grieving, and for some reason, I knew that God was calling me to reach out to Cisco and encourage him throughout the week and find out how he and the children were doing. Much like the strange compulsion that Cisco had to write to me 23 years ago, I felt compelled to walk through this season of suffering with him, since he was totally devastated by Cora’s death.
At first, our communications were short and sweet, but slowly, our emails became longer and more personal. God, the Master Weaver, was starting to knit our hearts together without either of us realizing what was happening. In mid-September, I purchased the classic devotional, Streams in the Desert, at our church’s books sale, and as I started re-reading it, I realized that this resource might be a blessing to Cisco. I recommended it to him, and he bought a copy the next day. We started sharing what God was revealing to us through these devotional entries, and the same lines were speaking to us, even though our situations were entirely different. Suddenly, our communications started becoming more personal and I began to suspect that our friendship was changing, which initially concerned me. The more I prayed about it, however, the more I felt God encouraging me to take the first step of faith and allow Him to lead us. When Cisco asked me if I would do devotions with him and the kids each week, I agreed. Our devotional times became highlights of our week- times of laughter, joy, and tears as we opened God’s Word together, sang, and shared about our week. As the days passed, our lives started becoming more intertwined, as we started texting and talking on the phone in addition to emailing and video chatting. The more we spent time together, the more time we wanted to spend with one another. We found so many points of connection, so many similarities in what we liked and valued, which genuinely surprised both of us. Time and time again as we brought our concerns about our relationship before the Lord, we saw Him remove the obstacles in our path. One of my biggest concerns initially was how the children would respond to me, but to my amazement and delight, the children were supportive and overjoyed by my presence in their lives from the beginning. Before we knew it and without realizing how it even happened, we fell deeply in love. On February 19, 2022, Cisco proposed to me, and I joyfully agreed to marry him.
Our love story reminds me that God is Almighty and Omniscient, powerfully at work in ways that we cannot imagine or predict. It’s as though God started painting at the edges of the canvas and worked His way towards the middle, all the while knowing what would one day happen. God had a long-range plan for the two of us that neither one of us could never have imagined when Cisco heard my story on the radio so long ago. For all these years, we’ve been in each other’s lives and when the time was right, God revealed a deeper, far different relationship for us than we could have ever dreamed.
We are awestruck at God’s redemptive power and His workings in our lives. We cannot help but see God’s fingerprints everywhere, and we are humbled and joyful at the greatness of our God and His unsearchable ways. “The Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes” (Psalm 118:23, NIV).
Wasn’t that amazing? The two had an absolutely beautiful wedding day at Calvary Church in Lancaster. Enjoy a little peek!
Photography : Kate Martin Photography
2nd Shooter: Jill Mable
Videography: Gregory Willis
Venue : Calvary Church
Coordinator: Kathy Noel
Gown: Latter Day Bride
Bridesmaid Dresses: Tulle & Chantilly
Groom/Groomsman Attire: Men’s Wearhouse
Florist: The Guilded Lily
Hair & Makeup: Tiffany Buckwalter
Catering: Chef Jon Dietz at Calvary Church
Cupcakes: Lancaster Cupcakes
Invitations: Elegant Wedding Invites
Decor: Susan Mayer
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