"And when I say separated I mean really separated, I left the west coast and returned to the midwest to be with my family. While home, I was having lunch with a friend (who I hadn't seen in years) and while we were catching up on all things life, she referred me to Rev. Rayfield Yarbrough, as she spoke highly of how he had been working with her and her then bf (they are engaged now!!) helping them to better understand one another and prepare them for engagement and ultimately marriage. I was open to talking to Rev. Yarbrough at the time, but wasn't quit sure how it would work with him being in Baltimore, me being in the midwest, and my fiance being on the west coast. But I (and my fiance were willing to give it a chance) we both agreed that we would neither restore or completely sever our relationship until we gave counseling a full faith effort.
A few days after receiving the recommendation for Ray (he's a friend now) I emailed him to introduce myself and my fiance, give him an introduction to our issues and to ask if he could schedule some time. Instead of Ray emailing me back, he called me right away, and scheduled time to talk with us for the following weekend--this is the first testament of the excellent service we received.
I flew back to be with my fiance a few days later and we had our first meeting with Ray via skype. Now, counseling via skype may seem like it would be too impersonal to be effective, but surprisingly it was very comfortable. For months my fiance and I met with Ray every few weeks via skpe. During our sessions, Ray prayed with and for us, taught us the importance of learning to speak the other's love languages, and coached us on how to best deal with some of our big issues that were impacting the way we shared love with one another. What we both liked about Ray is that he was fair. He never showed any bias towards either one of us; when we would have disagreements, he would always tell both of us how we were wrong and what each of us could have done differently to alleviate the tension. Additionally, he was very honest about whether or not we were ready for marriage. At one point early in our time with him, he told us to completely stop talking about marriage because while we were doing all the work necessary, we just weren't ready. Later in our time with him, he told us, "all of the issues you all are having can be alleviated through marriage." These two occurrences attest two things about Ray's ministry. First, he isn't just pushing marriage because two people are together. He only encourages and support marriages that he thinks are aligned with God's will. Secondly, this shows that over time, the progress we made with Ray was real. We went from him telling us to stop even thinking about marriage, to encouraging us to go ahead and get married because we had reached a point of true readiness.
My fiance and I worked with Ray for over a year and he truly helped prepare us for marriage. We finally met Ray in person a couple of weeks ago when he flew to to California to marry us. When we met him, we all greeted with a hug, as it was just like we were seeing an old friend. Throughout our entire wedding weekend Ray was such an amazing help--going above and beyond to make sure our wedding day went smoothly.
Long story short, Ray was an ultimate blessing to us. My then fiance and I were on our way to separation, but we had faith in God and saw Ray as a spiritual gift and now we can both say that our love is sweeter than it has ever been. With the help of Ray, we went from two people who were engaged and separated to now husband and wife who are inseparable.
Ray's ability to support two individuals forging a union with God is truly a ministry. Ray will always be someone who we will reach out to as a support of our marriage. Not only was he our premarital counselor and wedding officiant but he is now our friend.
Our marriage is our testimony.
Both my husband and I have referred others to Ray. We truly believe in his work and his ministry."