It was a day filled with love, joy, and hope for their future together. Austin Wesson, 19, and Rebekah Bouma, also 19, had met while on separate mission trips in South Africa (Austin’s native country) and quickly fell in love.
On Friday they were married in a small courthouse ceremony in Rebekah’s hometown of Clearwater, Kansas. They planned to move to Grand Rapids, Michigan, to finish school before embarking on more mission trips together.
“They were excited about the future,” Rebekah’s dad, John Bouma, said. “From all appearances, they were meant for each other.”
Tragically, though, the day after their wedding, the newlyweds were driving about two miles east of Clearwater when they somehow lost control of their vehicle, ran off the road, and crashed into a tree.
Austin was pronounced dead at the scene while Rebekah was taken to a nearby hospital in critical condition. On Monday, she too passed away.
During what was supposed to be a time of joyful celebration and anticipation, the young couple’s families are now picking up the pieces of their broken hearts and trying to make sense of this terrible tragedy.
And while they don’t understand why such a horrible thing happened, they have found hope and comfort in their faith in God.
“We don’t always know what God’s plan is, but we know he does have a plan,” said Rebekah’s mother, Rachel Bouma.
In a heart-wrenching post on Facebook, Rachel announced her daughter’s passing and asked for prayer.
“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 wrote. “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. Please keep both our families in your prayers and especially that Austin’s family would be able to be here quickly.”
Both Austin and Rebekah were remarkable young people who were wise beyond their years. They desired to spend their lives loving and serving others.
“I think her greatest love in life was to serve other people and invest in them,” Rachel said of her daughter. “Bekah was selfless. She loved to get close to people and help with whatever they needed.”
According to Rebekah’s wishes, her organs will be donated to help others in need.
“She was very clear for a very long time about that,” Rachel said. “If anything ever happened to her, she said she wanted her organs donated. If she didn’t need them, she wanted someone else to have them.”
While it is hard to wrap our heads around such a terrible tragedy, we know this precious couple has already touched thousands of lives and their legacy will continue on.
“They were very much in love,” John said. “There was no doubt whatsoever that their love was the real thing. They both loved the Lord – they wanted to be the hands and feet of Jesus.”
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