Firstly, I wanted to thank you all for your entries into our Free Wedding Photography Contest – 2008. It has been a lot of fun!!!

The votes are in and we do have a winner…

Congratulations Chip and Karyn! Chip and Karyn are getting married on March 29, 2008 in Buckhannon, West Virginia.

Chip’s friend, Justin, nominated him and his fiance, Karyn for the Free Wedding Photography.

Here is his letter and photo of Chip and Karyn:

“So I decided to enter my friends in this contest. My best friend (from growing up) is getting married March 29. Here’s his story:

I’ve been friends with Chip Bennett since I was about 12 years old. We played baseball together in Little League, did a drama ministry together in high school, went to college for a year together and now share similar youth ministry stories as he is a youth pastor in North Central West Virginia. Besides my wife, Chip is the closest friend I have.

Chip works full-time for the Army pay office in our hometown of Buckhannon, WV. He also works part-time at our home church of about 300 as their youth pastor. He puts full-time effort in to this position. I don’t think I know of any more kind-hearted or giving person than Chip. He works with Junior High and High school students for countless hours, spending time teaching and sharing life with them. He just loves them, and it’s making an impact in their lives.

Chip’s fiance Karyn, is also a youth worker. She works about a half hour away performing much of the same duties in another church. She reaches out to teenage girls with hope and grace, and gives of herself tirelessly.

The night these two got engaged was amazing. I was invited to go and perform at a local coffee shop in their town. Chip had made arrangements for a small concert and requested I do a song called “Blue Eyes.” Immediately following this he proposed. I’ve never seen an engaged couple so happy and at ease with each other. I cannot wait for their wedding day–as a pastor I’ve quickly grown to love the moment the bride comes down the aisle more than any other in a wedding. This will be spectacular!

And yet there’s a slight twist in the story… You see, Chip was engaged before. I remember riding with him from Grand Rapids, Michigan to Dayton, Ohio in the middle of a cold, snowy night a couple Januaries ago as he wanted to ask his girlfriend of the time’s father for her hand. The father, unbelievably, said NO. Chip proposed anyway, and the engagement eventually ended. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen someone so broken-hearted.

I’ve watched Chip walk through life as a living story of redemption and hope. It’s so amazing to see what God is doing and how the good that comes is always worth the wait. My wife Carrie and I have prayed for Chip as our friend often, and I am so excited to see God’s plan laid out in his life.

As I look at your photos I think it would be simply an amazing gift to give to such a great friend.”

I can’t wait to meet Chip and Karyn!

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