You never know where you’re going to meet the love of your life. For Austin Wesson and Rebekah Bouma, it was on separate Christian mission trips in Austin’s home country of South Africa.
The two 19-year-olds met this past year while serving, and very quickly knew they’d met “the one.” After spending much of their relationship FaceTiming, Austin popped the question, and the young missionaries planned a small wedding.
On Friday, August 4, they tied the knot at a U.S. courthouse in Kansas, with plans to have a bigger celebration with friends and family later this year.
“They were very much in love,” John Bouma, Rebekah’s dad, said of the new couple. “There was no doubt whatsoever that their love was the real thing.”
On Saturday, less than 24 hours after making their marriage official, the newlyweds were in a horrific car accident in which they lost control of the truck they were driving, struck an embankment and crashed into a tree just outside of Clearwater, Kansas.
Austin was pronounced dead at the scene.
Rebekah was transported to a nearby hospital in critical condition. She joined her husband in heaven on Monday.
In a Facebook post by Rebekah’s mother, Rachel Byker Bouma, the grieving mom asked for prayers for both families:
“It is with an unbearably shattered heart that we inform you that our darling daughter, Rebekah Christina, went peacefully into the arms of her loving Savior at 12:32 am, Monday, August 7. She is with the Lord that she loved so deeply and so joyfully and she is with her husband of just one day, Austin Wesson, whom she loved with all her heart.
We thank God that they are together while grieving their loss so very deeply.”
A family friend has set up a GoFundMe on the couple’s behalf to help care for their families during this time.
“They both loved the Lord,” John Bouma said. “They wanted to be the hands and feet of Jesus.”
Austin and Rebekah’s love story has a tragic ending. But I’m confident that their work here on earth isn’t done yet. Both teens touched the lives of many, and their love for the Lord and each other is inspiring.