The Greg & Sarah Story :)

I’d like to start off by thanking each one of you for your thoughtful words and expressed joy over our engagement! Truly, it has been a GREAT encouragement to both of us and to our families. The Lord has blessed both Greg and I with such dear family and friends. We are wealthy – and praise the Lord for the gift of each of you. THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts.

And now for those details . . .  :)

I met Greg Mandreger about 3 years ago – I believe it was the fall of 2005 – when my sister Catherine and her now husband Chris were courting. Chris and Greg were best friends and lived in adjoined houses. According to Greg, Chris would bring home pictures of my family. Greg would see me in those and ask Chris about me and then just rest in the Lord. At the same time, Chris would come to our house in Louisiana and tell us about his good friend Greg.

And then one day, I went to the ALERT campus – I think it was for Family Camp, but I’m not sure. And there behind the Chapel, I saw Greg – who I only knew as Chris’s friend. I walked over to Greg and said something to the effect of, “Hi, you must be Greg Mandreger. I’m Sarah Perkins.” :) And Greg thought, “Wow. Lord, could this be the one for me?” And again, he just gave it to the Lord and rested.

Well, Catherine and Chris were married. I saw Greg a handful of times before Catherine and Chris’s wedding and he and I both served in the wedding. I had no idea that Greg was already interested in me and wondering if maybe I might notice him as well. Honestly, I was pretty oblivious. :)

Then in April of 2007 I began working full time at the ALERT Academy in Big Sandy.

For those of you who don’t know Greg, he has worked with ALERT for many years. First, he served with the fire academy up in the Northwoods of Michigan – serving part time with ALERT while working as a fire fighter and police officer. When ALERT moved to Texas, Greg left Michigan and began working full-time with ALERT where he started and directed the Law Enforcement Academy and heads up Campus Safety and Security.

So, I went to work for ALERT. I worked there for about a year and 9 months. I learned a lot at ALERT (tough lessons that stretched me and grew me) and I loved a lot at ALERT (it’s such a wonderful place to call “home” – such neat people to work, serve, and live alongside). Serving there was a great experience that I thank the Lord for. I thank Him for the joys and for the challenges.

One of the challenges was turning 30 and learning to be content in the purposes and plans of God. One thing that the Lord has shown me without doubt or question is that the Lord is GOOD. That He only does things WELL. And that because He loves me, because He is sovereign, I can TRUST Him and rest in the fact that IT IS GOOD – whatever “it” is.

And so, the whole time that I served at ALERT, Greg was thinking of me, watching me, praying for me, committing me and “us” and himself to the Lord.

One of the things that means so much to me is that the entire time that I was at ALERT, I had no idea that Greg was thinking of me – he never flirted, looked at me with “that look in his eye”, never invented reasons to be near me (that I detected) – he never tried to manipulate me or draw me to himself. He would come over to Chris and Catherine’s house every once in a while for dinner or ice cream and a movie, but that was pretty much it. Dad and Mom really liked him, so sometimes he’d come over while they were visiting. Still, I never picked up on any interest. He was just leaving me and the hope of “us” to the Lord for His will and timing.

And then, in July (about 6 months ago), a couple of days or so after coming over to play a game with my family, I got a text message from Greg. I remember looking at the time when the text arrived – it was about 5:05 p.m. – just after work. The text said something like: “You need to leave the office and go home and relax. Sarah, I really enjoyed the time with you and your mom and dad and Chris and Catherine.”

I looked at that text and thought, “He likes me.” I just sensed it. It wasn’t flirting or anything, but it was personal. It was from him. And something in me just knew it. I sent a nice little reply…

And then later I called Melanie Bogner. “Mel, I think Greg Mandreger likes me.” By her reaction to my wondering, it was obvious that the thought of “us” was no surprise to her. :)

Over the course of the next three weeks, I received a handful of texts from Greg. Some days, I’d think “He must like me; just waiting for him to call Dad.” Then, I would talk myself out of it, “Noooo, Sarah, it’s all in your head.” His few texts were always simple or friendly or fun – nothing that really expressed thoughts of “interest” toward me.

Well, during those three weeks, I didn’t tell my parents because I didn’t want to make a big deal of it in case it was all in my head, etc. I didn’t want to tell Chris because he and Greg are best friends and didn’t know how Chris would take that. And I didn’t want to tell Catherine because she’s married to Chris! :) I didn’t even write it in my journal because – well – maybe because I didn’t want proof that I’d thought it in writing.

Pretty much all that I put in my journal was this verse: “But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19)

And I thought and prayed.

And then, one Thursday in mid to late August, Greg had an unexpected surprise. It came as a sharp, stabbing pain in his forearm. Greg says that it was a terrible pain that just would not go away. And the Lord told him, “Greg, if you call Sarah’s dad, that pain will go away.” Wow.

And so Greg went to Chris’s office – his best friend, my brother-in-law. He asked Chris what he thought. And Chris told him that now was a great time because my parents would be arriving the next day to spend the weekend in Big Sandy.

The next day, Greg called Dad. And the pain in his arm went away.

After they talked, Dad called me and asked me to come over to the house. He said, “Sarah, someone called to court you.” I replied, “Really? I think I know who.” Dad: “Who?” Sarah: ” No…you tell me” :)

And so, an amazing story of becoming dear friends began. Greg and I spent the next 4 months just getting to know one another – talking on the phone, asking questions, getting together at Chris and Cat’s or Bob and Debbie Allison’s house, praying together. We kept our “relationship” under wraps as we were both working at ALERT, and really wanted to hear from the Lord without feeling outside pressure or moving ahead of the Lord. We became great friends – having laughed together and learned together. Through those months, the Lord encouraged us both so much through His Word, through the blessing of a handful friends and family who knew about our relationship and were walking with us, through peace in our spirits that passed all understanding.

I remember when Greg said to me: ” “I’m not kicking down the door of your heart. I’m not knocking on the door of your heart. I’m speaking to your heart.” And that’s what he did.

I came to love Greg. To so respect his unquestionable love for the Lord and His Word, his commitment to the ways and purposes of God. I came to so admire and appreciate how he had waited so patiently for me for so long – knowing that the Lord’s ways are and always will be perfect. I’ve come to love his boldness and consecration, his gentleness and thoughtful heart. I love how where I am weak, he is strong. And how I can encourage him when he is down. I love the way we laugh together

During that time of getting to know one another, I was praying and asking the Lord about whether it was time to make our relationship public. I already knew Greg’s heart – He loved me. And twice the Lord led me to the same verse. It was Psalm 26:12: “My foot stands on level ground; in the great assembly I will bless the LORD.”

Greg and I came to my parent’s house in South Louisiana for the week of Thanksgiving. It was Greg’s first time coming to our house since we’d begun our relationship (the only other time he’d come was for Chris and Cat’s wedding). We had a GREAT time that week. Being away from ALERT, we were finally able to go out and spend good face-to-face time together – shopping, drinking coffee, eating out, hanging out around the house together. We even went target shooting and 4-wheeling out on my uncle’s property. We had a blast!

During that week, we decided that it was time to allow our relationship to be public and that it was time for me to make plans to move back to LA from TX.

The next few weeks were really exciting and blessed as people were just rejoicing with us as they heard that Greg and I were a “couple”. It was like the Lord was giving confirmation on every side. Absolutely amazing!

About 3 weeks after we “let the cat out of the bag,” Mom, Dad, Chris, Catherine, (along with little Savannah and Caleb of course), and Greg and I, headed to Eureka Springs, Arkansas for the Christmas holidays.

Honestly, I totally expected Greg to propose to me. He never exactly told me and I’m not sure that he intentionally gave hints, he just said enough interesting things and did a few interesting things, that he had me really suspicious. Plus, the timing was perfect in our relationship and I knew that he had my parents’ absolute and joyful blessing! :)

I told a friend, “Either he’s gonna propose or he got me a really nice monogrammed coffee pot for Christmas.” :)

dscn0707-1And so, on Monday, December 22, in the living room of the vacation home we were staying in, with my parents and Chris and Catherine with us, Greg got down on one knee and pulled out a little box. “Sarah Elizabeth……will you marry me?”

And I said, “Yes!”

What an amazing Lord we serve! Greg and I are excited about the future ahead of us! We believe that the Lord had created us for one another and that He had great things for His Glory in store for us.

At one point in our relationship, Greg and I talked about how we didn’t want for me to just fill a “girl-shaped hole” in his life – I wanted to fill a SARAH-shaped hole. And that it worked the other way too. I didn’t want him to fill a “companion [or man]-shaped hole” in my life – I wanted him to fill a “GREG-shaped hole”. And that is exactly what the Lord has done in us – from the creation of the world, He has made us for one another.

And so now, we are planning our wedding and preparing for life together. These are amazing days!!!img_4125-2

And now to echo those words of Ronald Reagan written to his wife: “I love you so very much I don’t even mind that life made me wait so long to find you. The waiting only made the finding sweeter.”

“The LORD is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot. The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage. I will bless the LORD, who hath given me counsel: my reins also instruct me in the night seasons. I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope…Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” -Psalm 16:5-11

The Lord is GOOD!

Sarah and Greg

AND Here are some pics :) :) :)










We serve a glorious Lord Who ONLY DOES THINGS WELL. May He be exalted.

6 Responses

  1. Mellie-Malloo Says:

    WoW is God ever GOOD!! I love the way you write, Sarah, and I love how God is making this beautiful story in your life. I can’t wait to see how the two of you conquer the world together!!

    Love y’all!! :)

  2. Abbi Says:

    awwww….such a sweet story! :)

    We are so happy for yall!! :D

  3. Catherine Says:

    I LOVE your story, Sarah. It’s yours and Greg’s and it’s GOD’S!!!! Praise the Lord! So happy for you!

  4. Anna Says:

    Dear Sarah, WOW! Thank you so much for sharing the story that’s been written on y’all’s hearts. It’s amazing! We are so thrilled for you and this wonderful, new, exciting season of life. Believe me, it just keeps getting better. Looking forward to the wedding details…

  5. Amy Says:

    Awww….I LOVE your story! There are so many little details that I didn’t know! Thanks SO much for sharing. :)
    Love you!

  6. Rachel Says:

    Wow, Sarah! You can really see God’s hand bringing you together throughout this whole thing. The waiting does make the finding sweeter!
    Love you! Rachel