Celebrating 46 Wonderful Years!

Posted on January 23, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin in Down Home in Mississippi

Anniversaries and birthdays are dated markers that reflect a lifetime of events and relationships. It is hard to believe that it was 46 years ago when Bobbye finished college at mid-year, and I returned to Mississippi from seminary to claim her as my bride. Already the love of my life, our shared passion to serve God on the mission field was only one of many attractions that drew me to Bobbye Simmons from Brookhaven, MS. The future of our calling together was launched during our wedding recessional as the BSU choir in the balcony of the church broke out with the chorus of O Zion Haste–”Publish glad tidings, tidings of peace, tidings of Jesus, redemption and release,” something we have devoted our lives to doing.

It has been quite a journey! An austere overseas lifestyle for 23 years and the demands of family and ministry made for simple celebrations of our anniversary over the years. Leadership roles and travel resulted in our often being separated on this special date, but we weren’t legalistic in honoring the date, sometimes celebrating our marital bonding earlier or later if necessary. For many years we enjoyed anniversary dinners in Singapore, Thailand and other exotic places, even Richmond, VA, with Clyde and Elaine Meador, longtime friends and colleagues who were also married in the frigid days of January.

The empty nest and retirement finally allows us to devote proper attention in commemorating the growing number of years together. This year the setting was the ante-bellum Monmouth Plantation in historic Natchez. The timing didn’t coincide with the travel posters of dogwoods and azaleas in full bloom and debutants in colorful full dresses hosting guests, but it was a romantic weekend of enjoying each other and reflecting on God’s blessings.

Unlike the snowy day we were married, we enjoyed a balmy Mississippi winter day with temperature in the 70s. Relaxing and strolling the plantation grounds, gazing at the mighty Mississippi River, touring the elegant ante-bellum homes, exploring historic sights and shopping in the downtown antique markets were capped by candlelight dinners befitting our special occasion.

We are thankful for health and vision for continuing involvement in missions and ministry in the years to come. We are grateful for the incredible opportunities God has given us all over the world. We praise God that our focus on Him and commitment to each other have sustained us through stressful times and adversity. I was often reminded by others that I would not have been in significant leadership roles were it not for Bobbye, her deep spiritual support, gregarious relationship skills and graciousness to ignore offenses; she, indeed, continues to be my greatest asset as we continue to fulfill God’s calling together.

One of the delightful aspects of our weekend was the beautiful leisure drive down the Natchez Trace Parkway which we accessed about a mile from home and took us all the way into downtown Natchez. Diversionary side trips on the way home included a stopover in Port Gibson where this iconic steeple with a hand and finger pointing skyward is seen over the First Presbyterian Church.

6 Comments on “Celebrating 46 Wonderful Years!”

  1. Carra

    Thanks for sharing your beautiful anniversery thoughts with us. Still praying for you both.

  2. Bettie Rose Addleton

    Congratulations! Thank you for sharing with us. May the Lord bless you as you continue in ministry. Love to you both from both of us!

  3. Polly (Wood) Earnhart

    Hello, Dear Friends! I am so happy to have run across this account of your January 22nd anniversary. I always remember and think of you because my birthday is the 21st! Reading about your trip across southern Mississippi reminded me of the trip Barbara, Frankie, and I made with you one year when you held a revival in McComb, MS. Those were great days and I cherish every memory. Drop by the next time you are in the North Texas area. Love you guys, Polly

  4. Don and Yvonne Miller

    Happy Anniversary. You married up like I did! Did you make the Cock Of The Walk in Natchez? Interesting old place on the river. Praying for you guys today!

  5. Bettiann Lloyd

    Jerry and Bobbye – CONGRATULATIONS on 46 amazing years together in His service! The memory of your sacred wedding that wonderful day is something I have treasured and thought of many times through the years! I was so honored to be there and to have followed your journey closely all these years. May God bless you both with many more years of health and abundant joy in His work. Loving you always, Bettiann

  6. Jo Beth

    Congrats to you both! Beautiful photos, especially the one of Bobbye!

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