Faith Blum

Paul's Skeptical Bride

When a cat causes a horrible mixup…

Pastor Paul Buchanan is told he needs a wife and soon or he would lose his church. After much prayer, he decides to look. With no eligible women in Austin, TX, he writes to a mail order bride matchmaker.

Ellie Simpson’s parents died five years ago and she has been struggling ever since. She needs to get out of Philadelphia, preferably to a small town. She writes to a mail order matchmaker with only three stipulations: he can’t be a drunk, a pastor, or too much older than her.

After they meet it soon comes out that they are not compatible in the least and they choose to be friends, but no more. When Paul’s cousin, Conrad, comes to town and appears to be exactly what Ellie is looking for, Paul has to deal with his jealousy and figure out why he is jealous.

Will Ellie find what she is looking for? Can Paul keep his church or will the elders throw him out?


Austin, Texas

March 1870

Five years.

Five years and still no new people attending his church. Why did things always go so wrong? The pencil in Paul’s hand snapped and he bit back his frustration. Yet another pencil gone. He picked up a new one and said a short prayer before looking at the blank page near him. This sermon wouldn’t write itself.

His Bible lay open in front of him with a piece of paper just to the right to take notes on. Sunlight streamed in through the open window and a breeze blew in, giving him a slight shiver as the cool air hit him. He loved preaching, so why did it feel like he was forcing himself to write his sermon this week?

“God, I’m discouraged. I don’t know what to do. I know I can let my emotions and moods get the better of me, but I thought I had been getting better about that. Why are so few people coming here? Austin is one of the bigger cities in Texas. What do we need to do… What do I need to do to get more people to come? I want to reach the lost, not just the people who have been coming here for decades. I want to reach people…” His voice broke. “People like my parents. Is there a passage You want me to preach on? Is there some way I can encourage the members to bring in their lost friends and family?”

Paul sat in silence for a while until the fragment of a verse came to mind and he started hurriedly flipping to the Epistles. “‘Created to do good works…’” he muttered. “‘Created to do good works.’ I know it’s in here somewhere.”

“Try Ephesians two,” a voice came from the window. “Mind if I come in?”

Paul distractedly waved the man in as he flipped to Ephesians. “Aha! Chapter two, verse ten!” He turned to his guest. “Thank you, Thaddeus. What can I do for you?”

The tall, thin man sat on a chair nearby. “The elders got together on Monday and had a discussion about your future here. As you know, we haven’t grown since you arrived.”

“I was thinking about that myself today.”

“We had some thoughts on the topic and came to the conclusion that it is because you are rather young yet, and also because you are unmarried.”

Paul started. “Why does my marriage status matter?”

Thaddeus shifted in the chair. “Some of the members have expressed concern that someone with a marriage issue might feel uncomfortable coming to you since you have no experience as a married man. I can understand their concerns in that regard.”

“So can I, but what does that have to do with church growth?”

“In the past, we have had a few people come because they were counseled by the pastor for help with their marriage.”

“Ah. I hadn’t thought of that before.”

“Then we are agreed?”

Paul blinked. “About what?”

“That you need to find a wife?”


Thaddeus set down a newspaper that was open to the classifieds. “There are some mail order bride ads in here. Read through them and see if any of them strike your fancy. Keep me apprised of your decisions.” He stood and left the house before Paul could even think of a goodbye. Stunned, he stared at the paper with an unseeing gaze. A mail order bride? Was that a good idea for a pastor?