Returning to South Carolina in early November for the winter months in 2013, I had planned to go on a day bus trip with the Senior Group from Bethesda Church of God where I am a member. Our plans were to drive to Charleston to attend the Christmas Classic Craft Festival. Planning to ride the bus, I arrived at the church before the bus did. My son-in-law, Rick, was on his way to work and offered to drop me off. After waiting for a while he noticed a van parked near with several ladies. Realizing he knew one of the ladies, Theresa, he asked if I may wait in her vehicle. "Of course" was her answer, and I joined these three lovely ladies. In the front with Theresa was her friend who was going to drive for her. I was introduced to a lady named Sandy as I climbed into the back seat with her. We immediately began to chat and I ask if I could ride with them to the festivities.
Spending time with the three had been a fun experience, and I had made new friends from our church. I continued to see these ladies at functions at church after our day In November.
Our family continued to worship at Bethesda Church of God. In March of 2017 it was time for the yearly youth group trip to Winterfest. This event is sponsored by the Church of God for all youth in South Carolina. My great-grandson, Kody, had previously attended Winterfest and had a desire to attend again this year. While there, he met a cute young lady. Her name was Julie. Their little talks while together brought per joy to their trip, and by the time the bus arrived back in Sumter they were boyfriend and girlfriend.
This friendship brought Kody to Bethesda more often to be with his new found best friend, and Miss Julie attending the senior prom with Kody in 2018. Julie graduated from a Christian School in 2020 and Kody attended the graduation with Julie's family. He had taken pictures while attending and later showing his family, I noticed my friend, Sandy, who I had met on that cold November morning in 2013. I asked Kody why Sandy was at Julie's graduation? His answer to me, was, "grandma, that is Julie's great-grandmother." I was surprised! Both families were together at Julie's graduation party at her parents' home to celebrate.
In 2020 Kody and Julie became Mr. and Mrs. In October 2022 our little ray of pure sunshine, Ellie-Jane, was born. Who would have thought that several years after meeting Sandy, that I, Dona Elaine Draper, would be the great-great grandmother of the same baby girl as her. What a blessing Ellie-Jane has been that a friendship made in 2013 has brought us back together in 2022 as extended family. Ellie-Jane was dedicated to the Lord on the 11th day of December, 2022, officiated by the Senior Pastor of the Church of God in S.C., where both families attend. She has become the fifth living generation of her family on both her father's and mother's sides. Statistics say that five living generations is rare but still occurs.
There are 92 years between Ellie-Jane and her great-great grandmother, Dona Elaine Draper, who is the Matriarch and eldest member of her family.
Ellie-Jane is lucky enough to also have her maternal great-great-grandmother, Sandy, 76, to look up to.
As well as her parents, Ellie-Jane has a grandmother, a great-grandmother and great-great-grandmother on both sides of the family.
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