Southern Gospel Love Stories

Jonathan and Sandra Wilburn
Jonathan and Sandra Wilburn

February is all about love and we at SGMRadio asked a few couples to tell us their love story. They were happy to oblige! Read all about how these couples are living out their happily- ever- after. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Jonathan and Sandra Wilburn

Jonathan grew up in Southern Gospel, singing with his family The Wilburns and then with Gold City Quartet. Jonathan currently sings with his son Jordan in Wilburn And Wilburn.

This is Jonathan’s story:

I met my wife Sandra in high school. I played football and she played basketball. I met her one day when one of my best friends, Chris Carter, asked me to talk to this pretty girl and get her phone number. Well, one day while in class, it happened! Chris jumped up and pointed out the window that was facing the gym. He said, “That is her, go talk to her and get her number for me.” I said, “No problem.” She came down the hall toward our class and I looked her in the eyes for the first time. I got lost in her big brown eyes. I told her Chris wanted her number and she began to write it down. When she was finished, I had made my mind up. I said thanks, stuck that number in my pocket and went back inside. Chris asked, “Did ya get it?” I said “Nope, she wouldn’t let me have it!” I called her that night and rest is history. On March 7, 2013 it will be 27 years that we have been together.

I am still in love with Sandra and those big brown eyes!

Jonathan Wilburn on Facebook:

Wilburn and Wilburn on Twitter:


Shannon and Madison Easter
Shannon and Madison Easter

Madison and Shannon Easter

Madison is a singer/songwriter/musician with Jeff and Sheri Easter.

Shannon is a songwriter who currently works in the Easter’s office as Sheri’s assistant. They are preparing to release their first EP together on March 19, 2013.

Shannon shares with us their love story:

Madison and I have always lived in the same town, attended the same school, and participated in many of the same extracurricular events. In August of 2004, our youth group was in charge of providing entertainment for our county’s youth rally. The weekend for which the rally was scheduled happened to be a weekend that Madison was not traveling, so he was able to participate. Through rehearsals, Madison and I began talking more and we developed a strong friendship. We began dating on October 26th of that year, and on October 13th, 2008, he proposed by taking me down by The Lewis Family Home Place under the starriest sky, on one knee!

We got married on December 12th, 2010 at Sacred Heart Cultural Center, in Augusta, GA. The building, built in 1897, served as a Catholic church for over 70 years and still contains many of its original features today. The wedding embraced the warmth of Christmas and included a simple ceremony and reception immediately following. We honeymooned in Paris for 3 days and London for 3 days.

It’s now two years later, and we’re about to share our 9th Valentine’s Day together, and our love and friendship continues to grow! We’re releasing an EP titled Dreams together on March 19, which will be of five songs that we’ve written. We’re very excited to share our music with everyone. One of the songs on the album, Our Last Mile, was actually written about our proposal!





Tammy and Rodney Underwood
Tammy and Rodney Underwood

Tammy and Rodney Underwood

Tammy has traveled with The Perry Sisters for many years and Rodney currently is the sound technician for the group. The Perry Sisters’ website: Tammy tells their story:

My husband Rodney and I met for the first time in Scottsboro Al. We were sixteen. He was playing with a regional group and they were with us (The Perry Sisters) in concert. He was too shy and backward to really talk to me then.

He later traveled with The Perrys and we saw each other a few more times but again, I didn’t know he had a crush.

Finally while he was traveling with Karen Peck we were in concert together and Karen came to be back stage and said, “I know someone who thinks you’re a living doll.” I replied, “Who?” She said, “My drummer, Rodney. You are all he talks about on the bus!”

That was in the late summer and we spent the whole week at NQC ‘91 getting to know each other better.

He called my parents and asked permission to come to West Virginia and visit. My Mom, who has already gone to Heaven, knew the moment she saw him that we would marry.

On June 6, 1992 we said our ‘I do’s’ and now it’s almost 21 years later and we have five-year-old son. We are still madly in love, working together in ministry and blessed beyond measure.



David Griffith and Karen Akemon-Griffith
David Griffith and Karen Akemon-Griffith

Karen Akemon-Griffith and David Griffith

Karen is a singer who has traveled with The Ruppes, The Perry Sisters and The Steeles. David previously worked for Ernie Haase and Signature Sound as their bus driver and sound engineer.

Karen tell us how she met David:

I met the love of my life on Facebook! David and I had a modern day meeting for sure. Somehow we were on each others friend’s list, but I didn’t have a clue who he was. One day his picture popped up on the rotation that Facebook used to do of your friends, so being in a bold mood that day, I decided to write hello on his page. I had absolutely no intentions, just thought I’d try to figure out who this guy was. He responded and we started emailing, then texting and then talking on the phone. We came to find out that mutual friends of ours, Greg and Charlotte Ritchie, had been wanting to introduce us for a while. I guess God was already ahead of them!

We met face to face on December 1, 2009 and were married on the beach in Florida,  June 29, 2011.

We are so incredibly happy, and truly made for each other. God’s timing is perfect!

Karen’s Facebook

David’s Facebook


Gerald Flemming and Allison Lynn
Gerald Flemming and Allison Lynn

Allison Lynn and Gerald Flemming

Allison and Gerald are vocalists for the ministry Infinitely More. 

This is Allison’s love story:

Lots of couples speak about “love at first sight.” Well, our love story began at “first listen.”

Here is the story: It was November 27th. Allison listened to all the beautiful renditions of “Happy Birthday” her singer friends left on her voice mail. There were operatic versions, jazz arrangements, a little Gospel; but there was one voice she couldn’t place. Who was that guy who sounded like Harry Connick Jr.?

When she arrived at church on Sunday, her friend Leo said, “Did you like my Happy Birthday message?” “Oh,” she said, “You’re the mystery voice!”  “No,” he said, “That was Gerald.” She replied, “Who’s Gerald?”

Well, Leo and Gerald were doing an operetta together. When Leo found out Gerald could sing like Allison’s favorite singer, Harry Connick Jr., he asked him to call and sing Happy Birthday, Harry-Connick-style, into her voice mail.

That was the first contact we ever had. Leo continues to be one of our best friends, and was even the emcee at our wedding! On February 10th, 2013, we’ll celebrate our seventh wedding anniversary and over 12 years of singing together. Our story always reminds us that God’s adventures in our lives sometimes begin in the most unassuming and unexpected of ways!





Rhonda and Eric Frye
Rhonda and Eric Frye

Rhonda and Eric Frye

Rhonda is a singer/songwriter who is also  the editor of SGNScoops. She does solo concerts as well as travelling with her group, Riverside.

Rhonda shares her story:

I met my cutie pie in church. I was 11 and he was almost 10. I remember spotting him in the back of the church while I played my flute. He was cute as could be with his red hair and all, so I winked at him! By the time he was 16 and I was 17, he was an usher on Wednesday and Sunday nights. When he would pass the plate by me, he’d flex his big muscles. I married that boy the month after he turned 20.

His grandmother came to church with a present all wrapped up, just for me. I don’t remember how old I was, probably 13 or 14. Inside the package was a hand knitted baby blanket. She said, “Honey, I was afraid I would be dead by the time you got grown and married. I wanted you to have this.” She lived until I married her grandson and she held all three of our babies before she moved in with Jesus!



SGNScoops Website



Josh and Rachel Copenhaver
Josh and Rachel Copenhaver

Josh Copenhaver and Rachel Romine: Unending Love, Amazing Grace: Our Story

Josh sings baritone with The GloryWay Quartet:

This is Josh’s tale:

A couple years ago when Lorraine asked me to be part of the “Living Single in a Southern Gospel World” [series published in SGNScoops] it was a complete honor and actually a turning point in my search for a wife.

Knowing that the search I was pursuing on my own was not going so well, I decided to include God in my search. I should have asked Him first anyway. What I decided to do was trust God as Gideon did with a fleece (found in Judges 6:36-40) and the application in today’s term can be many different things, such as mentioning something like driving a certain car or color of car, or anything oddly specific that would be clearly obvious that God was totally at the center of the situation. My fleece was the mentioning of the movie Amazing Grace.

While attending the National Quartet Convention in 2011, I received a friend request from a girl named Rachel Romine. I sent her a message asking her how I knew her. She responded and said that she didn’t know me but had been on her friend’s page, the Singing Weavers. She saw my picture and decided to add me at random.

Well, we chatted a few days and decided to go on a double date. We ended up seeing each other for three consecutive days.

We met for the first time at a Chick-Fil-A in Canton, Ohio. The second date was going to a Cleveland Indians game and the third night we went to a football game at my Alma Mater Norwayne High School.

Before the game she was asking me about movies we could watch together sometime, so I gave her my binder of DVDs and she casually looked through my DVD list.

While we were at the game standing around the fence, I asked her, “Did you see any movies in that binder you would like to watch?” She said, “Yes, Evan Almighty and there was a movie in the back…hmmm…I think it was called Amazing Race”.

I said, “I don’t have a movie called Amazing Race.” She said, “Yes you do. After the game when we go back to your house I will check”.

Well, she did and sure enough she turned to the page and said, “Oh, Amazing GRACE! This looks interesting.”

It was from right there that I knew she was the woman meant for me and we got married in May 2013.

With God all things are possible, even a happily ever after!






Antonia Achterstraat and Johnmark Grant
Antonia Achterstraat and Johnmark Grant

Johnmark Grant and Antonia Achterstraat : A Story That Testifies of God’s Faithfulness.

Johnmark Grant is singer/musician who performs as a soloist as well as with his family, The Family Grant.

Johnmark and Antonia both share their love story:

Antonia: We both asked God for the same thing but didn’t realize it. Long before we knew each other, our prayers were that God would send the right person for us to spend life with and a companion in ministry. We both had a calling to serve God.

You may recall a while back Johnmark sharing about life as a single artist. [“Living Single in a Southern Gospel World”, series written by Lorraine Walker and published in SGNScoops.] Well this is the story of how Johnmark found his “Rib.”

Johnmark started a page on Hyves (similar to Facebook) advertising two months of Dutch Tours. I connected with him and we had many conversations about God, our faith and what we want to do in the future.

He said he was coming to the Netherlands and I asked what part he would be ministering in. He told me he would be in Groningen. This was near my hometown and he invited me to hear him sing. I remember Johnmark saying that my boyfriend was also welcome to come. I didn’t want to say it but I didn’t have a boyfriend.

Johnmark: When Antonia came to hear me sing, the first thing I saw was this Dutch lady riding her bicycle down the road in stormy weather, her hair blowing in the wind, just like in the movies. I went downstairs to greet her as I recognized her from her photo. I thought, “Wow! She was more beautiful than a picture could describe.”

Antonia: I told Johnmark later that as he came down the stairs to greet me, something inside me said, “That’s the one you’re going to marry someday.”

We went upstairs where I met his parents and brother, who was ministering with him; it felt like I had known them all for many years.

Later after arriving back home I shared two things with Johnmark. One was that if he asked me to meet in town instead of church, I wouldn’t have accepted the invitation. Second that I felt a connection as I heard him sing “Going Home With Jesus,” and  that there was something special there. I then waited nervously wondering what his reply or reaction would be.  

Johnmark: There was a time of worship before we did our singing at the church and one of the songs sung in Dutch was that contemporary worship song, “There Is None Like You,” with the words, “No one else can touch my heart like you do, I can search for all eternity long and find there is none like you.” We made eye contact and I knew she was the one for me. So I was excited when she sent me a message saying she felt the same way, as she had left quickly after the meeting because of the bad weather to get home.

She visited me three weeks later in The Hague, The Netherlands, also bringing her mother to meet us. Later in December, Antonia came over for a week in England to spend New Year with my family and then we started courting!

Antonia: Our love remains. For the next two years we have an ocean between us, but we chat every day. Time and distance can’t separate us from each other or cannot take our love away.

We trust in God and in Him alone.

Johnmark: We pray for guidance and He guides us. He is our number one.

Antonia visited me in July and August of 2012. On the 26th July,  I asked Antonia to marry me! She said “Yes!”

Antonia: Hopefully at the end of 2014 we will be married, that is when I graduate as a nurse.

Regarding our future after marriage, I will join with Johnmark in sharing the Gospel. He has introduced me to the music of Jeff and Sheri Easter. We both think their song “Ever Faithful” describes us.



Twitter: @johnmarkgrant

Youtube Channel:  johnmarkgrant



Rick and Denise Hudson
Rick and Denise Hudson

Rick and Denise Hudson

Rick Hudson is a singer who lives with his wife Denise in Portland, Tennessee. He is not currently singing with a group but is keeping very busy while he looks for the right position. This is Rick’s story:

I met my wife on line. I was living in Pennsylvania and singing on the weekends with March Forth, while working during the week to recover from the weekends. Denise lived in Florida and was a working, widowed mother of four.

There were many emails, phone dates, and e-cards like you wouldn’t believe. We eventually fell in love and had to meet in person. I picked her up on a Friday night after work, took her to dinner and got her settled in her hotel room.

The group had a full weekend of singing engagements, so I knew if she was comfortable with all of that, it wouldn’t be a problem to pop “the question.”

On Saturday, we were scheduled to sing at an even at Knoebel’s Park in Pennsylvania. I had arranged a way for the host to bring her on stage. Then in front of more strangers than friends, I asked, and she said, “Yes!”

That was ten years ago this June, and while the road has often been rocky, God has proven Himself faithful.

And guys, if you really want to know if you love someone, live 1163 miles apart for almost a year!


Happy Valentine’s Day! Tell that special person in your life that you love them. And let the world know that you love Jesus by how you love them!

First published February 2013 on SGM Radio website. For current features, click on to

Written/Compiled  by Lorraine Walker, February 2013