The most beautiful love stories are the ones that have a in depth testimony from it. The way that God brings two people together that probably would have never thought they would be one is amazing! This is one of the reasons why we started the Marriage Spotlight on Sophisticated Relations to highlight the positivity in Black relationships and Black marriage in a society that is taboo when it comes to love and finding love.
We had put this spotlight on hiatus for awhile because of so many different things that were going on, but now we are back! So the first married couple that we want to feature are a powerful, poetic couple. We all know that your spouse is your best friend, but when the two of you share the same career path with the same purpose and vision that is even more awesome.
I first encountered Jackie Hill-Perry and Preston Perry back in the early P4CM days when they used to host a small poetry lounge (which is now called Rhetoric and draws in over 3,000 people each year). These two young individuals both had powerful testimonies that they brought out through poetry. Jackie being an ex-homosexual has a very deep testimony, and Jackie’s and Preston’s love journey is even deeper! Before we get into their story though, let me introduce them separately for those who may not have heard of them.
Jackie Hill is known as a poet but she is simply a sinner saved by a gracious God. Born in St.Louis, Mo on June 21, 1989, she was raised with a knowledge of God due to some close family members influence on her young life. Growing up, Jackie was molested by a family friend, bullied in school, and fatherless, which accompanied with a inherent separation from God, led her into a lifestyle of rebellion, homosexuality, drug use, porn addiction, and everything wicked. Yet, she was loved and desired by a God who predestined her to know Him (Eph 1:11), Who died in her place while she was yet a sinner (Rom 5:8), and resurrected from the grave after 3 days. This same God spoke to her in October 2008, while she was 19, revealing to her that her lifestyle would ultimately be the death of her (Rom 6:23), if she chose not to walk away, but also, that her experience in that same lifestyle would bring hope and freedom to many others. At that moment, after much debate with God, she BELIEVED all that He told her and made the decision, to turn from her sin and give her life completely to Jesus. Now, after walking with the Lord for almost eight years, God has allowed Jackie to witness to thousands of people, thru the gift of poetry, about the grace and power of God! And her life’s goal is to see people believe in Jesus for the IMPOSSIBLE!
Preston Perry is a spoken word poet, performing artist, and teacher from the Southside of Chicago. Preston heard the Gospel for the first time in a church in Decatur, Georgia at the age of sixteen, and understood why people needed to be saved. That truth was the first constant for the young man who spent his upbringing moving from state-to-state in a single-parent household. He lived in public housing, nice neighborhoods, with family and friends, gaining a plethora of experiences. Survival and adaptation were a central part of Preston’s reality. Anger was another. His uncle’s murder and a harsh childhood left Preston with a heart full of hatred. When he grew older, he lived as he wanted. Running the streets, getting money, doing whatever he found pleasing. God in his mercy moved Preston away from that life after he watched one of his closest friends die. Man’s depravity was evident again, in the lifestyle he witnessed and lived. He moved back home to Chicago and God pursued him. A young believer named Gary Brown took Preston under his wing and discipled him. Through Gary’s life Preston saw the weight of his sin. Preston sought help from the scriptures because He wanted to change, but doubted that he could. But God showed him, and a newfound zeal for truth replaced anger and became central. That truth, found only in the gospel of Jesus Christ, has become the foundation of Preston’s life. Preston uses his gifts to spread the good news and witness more radical change through God’s redeeming grace. He is known for his previous work with P4CM, Spoken Life Project, and his vlogs on YouTube. He hopes to live a life worthy and is passionate about spoken word poetry, discipleship, urban ministry, and teaching.
The Love Story
So instead of you guys reading through another paragraph, why don’t you just watch the Perry’s live and in action performing on stage together at Rhetoric 2014. Check it out above.
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