I have been thinking about her all day. She is so kind and has a heart filled with such goodness. If she has any fault, she ignores herself and puts everyone and everything before her. So, I asked my wife, Cristie Jo Johnston, to head home and begin an new era where once-and-for-all she put “Cristie first,” after, of course, our wonderful Lord.
Ours is a love affair. It began in October of 1978. On March 6 we will celebrate 36 years of marriage, Sincerely, I have enjoyed every day of it! I thought I might incrementally tell you how we met and why the sizzle of our romance never faded.
I’ll make our introduction brief: Cristie, age 18, after high test scores was told she had failed the State of Michigan Board to receive her cosmetology license. To say she was shocked would be an understatement. Every semester she receive straight “A’s.” Simultaneously to this jarring disappointment, her Dad, Al Huf, was asked by a friend to come here a young 19-year-old evangelist named, Jerry Johnston, holding an evangelistic outreach at Calvary Baptist Church in Holland, Michigan. Confused and disheartened by her failure, she reluctantly accepted her Dad’s invitation to attend and they sat on the second-row-from-the-front of the church auditorium.
God was moving mightily and the crusade had extended to three weeks every night. Thousands of people attended. On the second Sunday night, prior to my message, as spiritually as I knew how I leaned over to the pastor, Earl Webb, and asked, “Who is that gorgeous girl on the second row?” He told me she was one of the four Huf girls. Immediately, I was interested. One week later when she asked me to sign her Bible I doted and took my time really transfixed just looking at her.
Cristie would later learn there was a clerical error in Lansing, Michigan, and she had, indeed, passed the bar exam with high grades and her cosmetology license was immediately granted with a written apology. Was it an accident that the registrar made the error? Cristie probably would not have accompanied her Dad to my Crusade had she had not been asking, “God, what is going on? I have a job already secured at one of the best salons in Grand Rapids, Michigan.” The Lord used that “disappointment” as a big “appointment” for us to meet. I’ll give you the next chapter in a few days. By the way, I married her 5 1/2 months later, and I am crazy about her.