When you first meet Bud and Hazel you get the impression they have been together for years. Their love for one another radiates like Christ and is a beautiful example of what a godly couple looks like.
Bud and Hazel’s love story began January 2014.
Meet Bud, age 77:
“I was married to a wonderful Christian woman for over 50 years. In 2006, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She put up a good fight as she went through chemo, but it wasn’t enough. My wife passed away in 2013. As she was battling cancer the Lord helped me grieve through the process so when she passed away I felt released because she was with God and enjoying heaven. I knew she would want me to go on with my life.
Shortly after, I found out friends of mine at church were attending a grief share program. This is a wonderful 13-week Christian program for anyone who has lost a family member or loved one. I went for the first two weeks and noticed how happy the couple leading the program was. They both had lost their spouses but found each other. They told me to check out a website called Christian Café. I was hesitant at first. You have to put your photo on there, but I didn’t want people to know I was on there so I just put down my middle name and said I was looking for a Proverbs 31 woman who wants to do ministry with me.
The first woman I saw on there was a lady named Hazel. She had lost her husband two years earlier and was interested in finding another mate. So, I decided to contact her. She noticed I didn’t have a photo and told me I had to send her one. I couldn’t believe she actually contacted me back without having one in the first place. I said okay, send me your email address. I sent her my photo and we started emailing back and forth. A week later we decided to meet in person for lunch at a place called Shari’s. So, I drove the longer distance, which was two and a half hours, and Hazel drove one and a half hours. A week after our lunch I drove up to Hazel’s church and loved it. The pastor was amazing and Hazel was part of the greeting team so I helped greet with her all morning.
We met in January and by the end of February I proposed to Hazel. I wanted to go to Vegas, but she insisted on having good memories! Shortly after I proposed, Hazel went to Costa Rica and Australia to see her granddaughter who is an exchange student on a farm. So, I finally said yes and went to Rwanda.
Why did I decide to go to Rwanda? Well, back in 2006 I was experiencing some heart conditions and was told to go see Dr. Brad Titus. He started seeing me two times a year and all we would talk about was the Blazers. Brad decided to go to Rwanda in 2009 to help with a medical clinic and after he came back the only thing he would talk about during our twice a year appointments was Rwanda. He would say Bud; you’re coming to Rwanda. I knew I couldn’t with my wife being sick, but after she passed away I didn’t have an excuse anymore. So, I went to Rwanda in February 2014 with Africa New Life just after I proposed to Hazel.
I had always been in ministry. I had helped in Sunday school classes with the youth, but I had never preached before. I remember one day Dr. Titus comes up to me and says, Bud next week you’re preaching. I prepared all weekend and I did it. God was speaking through me like ripe fruit falling off trees. People were so ready to receive Jesus at that medical clinic. After that experience, it was all I could talk about when I went back home. I told everyone about it; my friends, family, church, and people in our community. That trip to Rwanda truly changed my life.”
Meet Hazel, age 73:
“I was married to my first husband for 37 years who is the father of our three children. Through most of his life he had an illness that caused him to need a liver transplant. He did well after his first transplant, but then it started to fail and we needed to find a donor for a new one. He passed away at 59 years.
I then remarried to a man named Dan. He was recently divorced and had been working in the field at our house. He would come check the pea seeds we planted and sell them for his business. We were married for 8 years. On December 23, 2011 Dan took our dog Molly to the vet and then decided to take her on a walk close to the lake. He never came home. It was dark outside and I became pretty worried so I called Dan’s brother and he also didn’t understand why Dan wasn’t home yet. Search and rescue came the next day and divers were sent into the lake, but nothing was concluded. Three months later they finally found them.
During those three months as I waited for news on Dan and Molly my church poured into me. It was amazing and I even started going to church choir practice because I had to be there. I knew I had to trust God and that he knew where Dan was. God knew about it all.
It was one of the biggest funerals in Moses Lake. Dan was well known in our community and had helped all the farmers. After some time had passed I thought I would like to find someone new even if it is just a boyfriend. I finally went to the website called Christian Café.
Bud hit on me first. We started talking and I asked him to send me his picture. I didn’t like it when people didn’t put their photos online. It was really a God thing because I usually didn’t read a message from someone without a photo. You have to be careful on those sites! I thought if I didn’t like his picture then I would need to change my email address.
We met one week later for lunch and then Bud came to visit me at my church. The rest was history.
Bud and I were both saved when we were 9 years old. We both say we were sprinkled or just got a bath then. Bud was born again at age 45 because he said God struck him down and he needed to really start walking with him. We both continued to attend my church in Moses Lake that I had been going to for 5-6 years and had never joined. It was time to make a commitment. This past October I was baptized. It was truly anointed by the Lord because my daughter Holly, who is 45 years old, was also baptized.”
Bud and Hazel were married on July 26th, 2014. Together they have 6 children and 6 grandchildren. A few months after they were married they decided to begin the process of coming to Rwanda with Africa New Life Ministries. Together they preached the gospel to hundreds of Rwandans at a medical clinic with Dr. Brad Titus and were a witness to many coming to know Christ. They both want to start sponsoring a child so they can meet them next year when they come back.
(Bud’s favorite moment in Rwanda):
“A 12 year old boy named Eric came to the clinic with his mother and 2 siblings. His mother told some of our team that Eric has nightmares and bad headaches every night. We prayed over Eric asking God to remove any demonic control over Eric in the name of Jesus. Then they left. The next day they returned and Eric responded to the gospel and asked Jesus to come into his heart. He testified that he had no nightmares that night and no more headaches. The mother remained rather skeptical. The next day they returned to the clinic again. Still no nightmares or headaches. On the 3rd day, the mother and 2 siblings decided to receive Jesus. She had an older son that was working in construction and she had him come during his lunch hour. David, Hazel’s nephew who is a missionary in Kigali was also with us that day. We were sitting in a circle and one of our team members asked the mother, Where is your husband? We found out that the husband is in prison so we asked her if it would be all right if David could stand in the gap for her husband as we pray for him. We then gave her a wordless bracelet to give to him and David prayed. The whole family prayed to receive Jesus that day. It was Beautiful!!!!!!”
(Hazel’s favorite moment in Rwanda):
“I loved the worship at church on Sunday. The way everyone danced and clapped to glorify God was amazing. Going into the village I noticed people didn’t even have shoes. It’s hard to see kids who have nothing. I knew there were very poor people here and you know this is a third world country, but to see them content in there living is moving. I’m glad I have seen what I saw here.”