“We’re engaged” were the words that broke the news on Facebook that Justin Wrentzel had asked Becky Jones to marry him last July. While news of the engagement spread electronically, the engagement itself was as low tech as it gets.
Justin’s popping of the question didn’t come after a fancy dinner out on the town or a quiet evening in. No, the moment both Becky and Justin will remember for decades to come came in a place where they’ve spent countless hours since they started dating: Delanco Camp.
Justin and Becky weren’t the first and they certainly won’t be the last to have a special romantic tie to the camp.
Camp President Laurie Rambo and her husband Dave met through camp and dozens of other couples over the years have traced their initial meeting to the sands of the New Jersey Pine Barrens at 191 Powell Place Road in Tabernacle.
Bobby Peoples met his better half, Amanda Nichols, at a junior high camp in 1996, because they were on the same “radical Olympics” team, team Scotland. They tied the knot in 2008 after following a similar proposal path to the altar Becky and Justin are taking.
“Delanco has always meant a lot to us spiritually and of course it’s a big part of our lives since we met there and spent so many summers there,” Amanda Peoples wrote in an e-mail. “It was really special that Bobby proposed there.”
Scott and Meg (Wronski) Rambo were on permanent staff the summer (2005) they were engaged. Scott’s proposal involved kidnapping, blindfolds, tiki torches and the Chapel in the Pines.
Meg recalled that special night in a recent e-mail exchange.
“When we got (to the Chapel in the Pines) and my blindfold was removed I could see that he had set up tiki torches and had music playing,” Meg wrote. “We talked for a bit and then he said, ‘I love you and want to spend the rest of my life with you. Will you marry me?’ I said yes and gave him a big hug. We continued to talk and he shared God’s plan for us to be missionaries to Uganda. It was wonderful to get engaged to the man I loved and to also know that I was saying ‘yes’ to what God had called us to.”
Other couples have till death do us part connection to Delanco Camp in other ways. Count Rob Lewis and his wife, Teadora, in with the list of couples whose witnesses during their exchange of nuptials included crickets and mosquitoes.
Sarah (Powell) Lee didn’t marry or officially meet her husband, Jack, at Lake Agape but campfire matchmakers named Jake, Ron and J.D. were hard at work at a Junior High Camp the summer of 2005.
“I met Jake at a Jr. High Camp the summer before I moved here, and he told me that I should marry his brother because he was 1. good looking, 2. drove a nice car and 3. was funny,” Sarah wrote in an e-mail. “I was kind of insulted that he thought those were my top three criteria for finding a husband! I remember joking about whether he was also a Christian, because I might care about that quality too!”
Sarah also joked with her college roommate about Jack’s last name.
“We both thought (his last name) was hilarious… because if we got married I would have to be ‘Sarah Lee,’ and people would always make cracks about me baking pies and cakes,” she wrote. “And sure enough, it happens almost every day of my life.”
Sarah and Jack are now happily married with a baby boy in Mississippi.
On this Valentine’s Day, they are one of probably hundreds of couples who owe some gratitude to the ministry of Delanco Camp and the way God has used a camp meeting founded by a group of pastors in Delanco, NJ in 1898 to cultivate lifelong friendships, service in ministry and love.
Have your own Delanco Camp story of love not mentioned? Share it in the comments below.