A brother can be a very special friend. A brother will defend you and share with you when others won’t. A brother will help you and go out of his way for you. I have been very fortunate to have a great brother and I thank the Lord for him.

But the Bible says, “there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24) and that friend is the Lord Jesus Christ, the best friend anyone can ever have. He has told us that “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5) and He has always kept that promise. He is the best friend that you can ever have. I pray that He is your best friend, too.

An old hymn says “What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear! What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer! O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer. Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere? We should never be discouraged; take it to the Lord in prayer. Can we find a friend so faithful who will all our sorrows share? Jesus knows our every weakness; take it to the Lord in prayer.”

But the Lord also blesses us by giving us some very special human friends. It is so important to have friends who love the Lord and help us do things that please Him. When I was in junior high and working at Mizpah Grove the Lord blessed me with some adult friends who watched over me during the summer. These were Charlie Mann, Roy Hertzog and Leonard and Nina Buck, all of whom went on to serve the Lord as missionaries around the world. They were friends who had a profound influence on me and my Christian life..

While I didn’t have any real close Christian friends in high school, that changed in college. I met Jim Herrold as a freshman and then we roomed together for two years. He has been like a brother since that time.

Through our church in Sunbury I became close friends with Paul Brosious and Norm Zellers. They, too, were very special and the Lord used them in various ways in my life. Later in life Gary Varner, Ralph Michel, and Claire Harstad became close friends and they and their families shared much with our family over the years.

But as special as all of these folks have been, none of them became my closest friend on earth.

My first contact with my closest friend on earth came when she wrote me a letter before I entered Susquehanna University. The letter, written by the secretary of the youth group, was an invitation to attend her church and youth group while I was at Susquehanna.

And, I did attend church there, not so much because of the letter, but because my grandfather was pastor there. And, I did meet this Dianne Bickle. But that was as far as my interest in her went at that time.

Actually, since she was a year older than me, I didn’t give her too much thought. What neither she nor I knew was that some folks in the church were praying that we would get together. And, the power of prayer …

A few months later Norm Zellers asked me if I would go with him and his wife June to a regional youth gathering in Shamokin. He also asked if I cared if he would invite someone to accompany us. I said yes, without any idea who this person would be. I was very surprised when it turned out to be Dianne and even more surprised when we had a very good time together.

Norm followed up by taking the two of us out for ice cream several times with his family following the Sunday night services. And, as my interest developed, I got enough nerve to call her and we began to spend time together. We attended a church banquet, a concert, church activities, basketball games ….

Several things made it easier to spend more time together. First, the church had prayer meetings on Tuesday and Thursday nights and we managed to attend both of these as well as Sunday services, morning and night. Second, she had her own car, and this certainly made it much more convenient to be with her.

As our relationship developed we spent more time together. I would come to the bank where she worked to meet her when she was done working on Friday nights at 8:30. I would often go to her house and study on Sunday afternoons. She would take me back to college following services and then she’d race home before her curfew. We wrote daily letters when I was at home. It was obvious that a special relationship had developed.

I don’t remember when I actually asked her to marry me, but we were officially engaged on New Year’s Day, 1962. We had a big dinner at the Bickles with her family, my family and the Wolfs.

Since she had a good job at the First National Bank, we decided that we could afford to get married before I graduated. With only six weeks to go, we planned a June wedding. I found a summer job with the Sunbury Daily Item and we hoped to find an apartment by the end of the summer where we would spend my senior year together. The next few months were very busy.

On June 2 we were married by Grandpa Wolf in Sunbury. It was a beautiful windy day. Dianne was beautiful in a dress borrowed from her cousin. I bought a black suit for the wedding. We had a big crowd and a nice reception at the YMCA. We went to Watkins Glen for our short honeymoon. The bank didn’t want to give Dianne any time off for her wedding but she did take Monday off.

We moved in with the Bickles and began looking for an apartment. We finally found one but before we could move in when it was available in September, we discovered that, unexpectedly, our family was about to grow.

We know that the Lord had all that planned so we stayed with the Bickles where we had our own “apartment” with a bedroom and a living room. It worked perfectly for us while I finished my senior year.
Without any hesitation I can say that Grammy really has been my closest and best friend on this earth. That is because, for both of us, Jesus is our best friend. Ours has been a very special relationship, with very few disagreements, mainly because Jesus has been the center of our lives. He alone has united us and made us one. We can’t imagine what a married life would be like without the Lord at the center. He has provided purpose and direction for our marriage both in the good and in the challenging times that develop in any married life.

We have prayed not only for you but also for your future spouse. Pray with us that the Lord will lead you to a spouse who loves the Lord and puts Him first in his/her life. Don’t compromise and settle for anything else. Life is too long to spend it with someone that doesn’t put the Lord first. We pray that your spouse may also be your best and dearest human friend on earth.


Dianne and Barry Kauffman

By God's grace, we want our family to understand and apply the following:

1. A personal relationship with Christ is the most important thing in life;

2. All your possessions, including your money, belong to the Lord;

3. Your spiritual gifts and talents should be used to serve the Lord and minister to others;

4. Participation in church, Bible reading and prayer are essential activities;

5. You should always act with honesty and integrity;

6. You should respect others and their possessions;

7. Do everything wholeheartedly, to please God;

8. You are personally responsible for all of your actions;

9. Always respect and obey those in authority;

10. Be kind, gracious, compassionate, and forgiving in dealing with others;

11. Be reliable and don't be a quitter;

12. Love and support those in your family.