Belle & Gary Simons

Twice a year, Pastor Gary Simons, president of the Cornerstone Foundation and senior pastor of the Cornerstone Bible Fellowship Church, serves on the Christian MV Logos Hope as a minister and teacher. As many as 400 people of 45 different nationalities serve on the ship, so when he joined it in Amsterdam in April 2009 he knew he would be meeting a large mix of people. He never imagined, however, that he would meet his future wife, Belle Shih-Han Huang, from Taiwan. She had decided to give two years of her life to full-time ministry aboard the ship.

Although they spent an evening together on a tour in Amsterdam with a small group of friends, there was no question of a relationship until well over a year later. Belle joined the line-up team, which prepares the ship’s arrival by organising needs-based programmes and ensuring the ship meets the government and immigration requirements of the host country. She came to Bermuda for three months, during which time they got to know one another as friends, both sharing a deep spiritual faith and commitment to Christianity. They discovered they had both read the same book 10 years before they met, Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire, by Jim Cymbala, the pastor of the Brooklyn Tabernacle Church, although Belle’s edition was in Mandarin. “He encouraged both of us in our spiritual walk,” Pastor Gary explains. “I met him in New York just when I was about to take over this ministry, and he became my mentor and overseer.” Later the couple discovered another coincidence. Belle had stayed with her godfather, the American author Wright Doyle, for a year helping him translate the Greek lexicon into Mandarin. He had lived in Bermuda for the first few years of his life, since his father was commander of the two bases.

Many months later, the friendship between Pastor Gary and Belle blossomed into romance, and the Harbourfront Restaurant at the Bermuda Underwater Institute was the scene of their first date. In February 2011, Pastor Simons once again took her to the Harbourfront for dinner. “I thought he was going to propose there,” Belle laughs, “but nothing happened.” Little did she know what had been planned at the Carriage House near Paget Hall where she and the line-up team were staying. “My two friends, Ivan and Pastor Josh, were helping to prepare the scene,” says Pastor Simons. “When we got to the Carriage House there were roses in the shape of a heart on the lawn and lit torches.” It was a perfect setting for a proposal and an engagement party afterward. “Thankfully, she said yes, which was wonderful because I don’t know what I would have told the people that were due to show up in another hour for the party.”

In June came another engagement party, this time in Taiwan with 250 guests including 16 from Bermuda. “Gary’s family and the bridal party were able to come,” remembers Belle. “I wore a traditional dress and my hair up in the Taiwanese style.” For Pastor Gary it was “an awesome night of live instrumental music, solos, greetings and a traditional 10-course meal, which is normal for engagement parties in Taiwan. The banquet hall was stunning, the music was wonderful, family and friends from Bermuda and Taiwan merged as one and Belle was so beautiful.”

In September came the wedding itself, held on the Great Sound lawn at the Fairmont Southampton Resort. And who presided? Yes, Pastor Cymbala presided. “It was a big decision,” Belle muses. “I was going to be in a different country and in a different culture. I know that God definitely was the one who brought us together.”

 

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Details:

Ceremony location: The Fairmont Southampton Resort, Great Sound lawn
Reception location: The Fairmont Southampton Resort
Wedding gown: Linli Wedding, Taiwan
Bridesmaids’ dresses: Tsaishia, Taiwan
Groomsmen’s attire: Anthony’s
Photography: Zeudi Hinds Photography
Sound: Electronic Services Ltd.
Catering: Fairmont Southampton Resort
Cupcakes: Four Ways Inn
Flowers and decor: Petals
Event planners: Sherry Swan and Lianna Masters
Wedding cake: Rosewood Tucker’s Point
Hair: TK Hair, Tanju Kurt
Transport: Touch of Class
Invitations: L’Atisan Card, Taiwan
Gifts: Registered at A. S. Cooper & Sons, Gibbons Company, International Imports
Wedding favours: Jiahua Life Shop, Taiwan
Shoes: Perry Footwear
Videographer: Summit Video
Rings: Swiss Timing

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