Matthew - born 1964, Blakely, PA
Celine - born 1961, Scranton, PA
We moved to Florida and married - December 1991
Samantha Eden - born 1996, Orlando (Altamonte Springs), FL
Rebecca Noel - born 2000, Miami (Homestead), FL
The Oakey's are originally
Pennsylvania. Both are from the Scranton valley area, Matthew, a plain
boy from Peckville (lots-o-chickens) and Celine, a plain girl from
Dunmore (how do you like your hamburgers?). They met each other at
church in the spring of 1987, and let's just say that it was Love at
first sight. (well not quite for Celine anyway!)
Her background was very Catholic (Byzantine) yet she had one friend who was a protestant (eooow) and she got to wondering why She couldn't just talk directly to God, like her one friend can, instead of having to go to confession. After graduating from High School and graduating from Beauty School with a Cosmotology License, Celine worked full time as a professional seamstress at a Lady Manhatten factory and part-time at her brother in-laws (Billy) Barber shop as a hair dresser. With overpowering low self esteem and only a little hope to be doing just about anything else, anywhere else, the LORD saved her, through the diligent witnessing and work of her oldest sister (one of 3) Nancy. Celine then started to attend the non-denominational church with Nancy (and her husband, that same Billy) where she learned to pray and to really worship the Lord and to search the scriptures to find out what God had to tell her about her life and her future. Now, after some major changes in her life, and a definitively foggy view of her future, but with a distinct desire to be married, Celine realized that there was a nonexistent supply of qualified (talk about unrealistic expectations) candidates at church (and she was not into the singles scene) and she thought "I know that if God wants me to be married HE can bring someone in off the street for me" And The LORD did just that.
Matthew grew up a bit differently. Early childhood was a mix of Baptist/Methodist (Dad's side) and a little Catholic Orthodox (Mom's side.) He attended church and Sunday school with his Nanie and Papa at a local Baptist church until he was about 9 years old. His Mom and Dad divorced when he was eight, his brother, Jason just turned 2 and their sister Deena, 8 months. Until this time the only real exposure to Catholicism was an occasional visit to Grandma and Grandpa Pete's St. Mary's church and all their icons, pictures, and crucifixes in their house. After their divorce, Mom had moved directly across the street from a different St. Mary's and Matthew started attending and going to catechism classes, only to be soon after which asked to stop asking questions a child has no business asking or stop coming to classes! After graduating High school, and starting DeVry Technical Institute on his 18th birthday (N.J.) He then joined the U.S. Army with the higest A.S.V.A.B. scores seen in the Scranton area. Returning home from Germany and going through a ruff divorce (married one year and one day) Matthew was unemployed full time (with a college degree in Electronics Engineering) and living with friends. He was hitching down the road one day late in February 1987 thinking to himself (not necessarally praying) "there has Got to be a better way!" and a young gentleman (Bobby Butts) in a Volvo stopped to give him a ride. They talked awhile and Buttzy invited Matt to church for that Sunday, "weird" Matt thought, but agreed, thinking by the conversation and clothes of Buttzy, it should be safe and he had nothing else better to do. HA. That was Wednesday. On Friday Matt gets a call from Buttzy, he says He won't be able to make it but a friend of his would come to pick him up for church. Fine. So, Sunday comes and Matt puts on a pair of bright Red sweat pants with yellow letters "U.S. Army" down the leg, (they were clean) a tee shirt and his Army camo jacket. He goes outside to wait and up pulls a car with a full family and all decked out taboot! Suits, ties (even the youngest boys) and dresses! He squeezes in and off they go. March 1st, 1987. That was the day that changed Matthew's life. That was the day Matt found out about just how much God Loves Him.
These are just a few excerpts from Matt and Celine's upcoming book "Life as We've known it - An Adventure in Faith".
If anyone can say that they
have some great people in
their life, they are very fortunate. I am one of those people. Some of
those great people in my life are my brother, Matthew, and his wife
Celine, and their two precious daughters, Samantha and Rebecca. I don't
think I have met any others that, in my growing up years, could have
taught me more about the values that count most in life. My coming to
know, and having a strong relationship with my (our) LORD, for one. I
don't think I have met anyone that has such strong a bond with each
other and faith in the Holy Spirit, and in their knowledge to teach me
what faith, trust and love really are. And, I know I have never met
anyone that could make me want to learn all I can about the scriptures
that bind me to His side. And laughs, HA!!, just mention the 32oz
tumbler of iced tea and my Mom's old (then new) rocker. One truly had
to be there to grasp just exactly why my sides hurt so bad from
laughing that I could barely breathe.
Thanks to you all, for seeing me through, answering questions, teaching me and showing me the way.
I have known Matt for over ten years. We met in college and have been friends ever since. From living on my couch to being the best man at my wedding. I could honestly say he is the best friend I've ever had. We've seen each other through good and bad, thick and thin (well ok, may not much thin). Celine has been a great friend with a listening ear and always the perfect words of wisdom for every situation. I admire her especially for her ability to know scripture for all occasions. Dawn and I can't imagine a life without Matt and Celine in it. They are friends for life.
James and Dawn Groves
"There are many ways to share your own story and the good news of Jesus Christ. That's why I'm so excited about this book that Matt & Celine have put together. I know it will be a great blessing to you. It will also serve to encourage and equip you to better share your own personal faith - no matter where you are."
Chico Mendez a.k.a. Paul Velez, a long time friend