Just married, incorporating their honeymoon with the move to Alaska, a young couple was in the process of making a new life for themselves. But a night's stop in an Edmonton hotel in Alberta, Canada, tried to test the waters of the new marriage for Beau and Tamara Hodges.
"Our marriage is strong, and we are strong enough to handle anything that comes our way without falling apart," Tamara said, moments after pulling into Soldotna after a 12-day trip from Kansas.
Beau, 21, and Tamara, 18, had met a few years prior in Kansas, when Beau came home from college with her older brother. Before they married, Beau, who graduated from Nikiski High School in 1997, was a youth minister in Kansas.
The couple was married June 10 in Goodland, Kan., in front of about 200 guests.
Days after their nuptials, they loaded up their possessions and all their new wedding gifts into a utility trailer and headed north for a youth ministry position in Soldotna.
On June 21, while many celebrated summer solstice, the Hodges pulled into Edmonton for a good night's rest.
The next morning was the start of a long day for the couple.
Beau woke up and took a look outside the motel to find the trailer containing their new life had been stolen.
"I thought it was an incredibly bad dream," he said.
After realizing the theft was real, he collapsed on the floor, too amazed to cry, feeling like the room was closing in on him.
"My first reaction was 'what is she going to do,'" he said, thinking only of his new bride.
She also was pretty much in shock when she learned of the theft.
"I couldn't believe it," she said, recalling the many priceless items packed in the trailer.
What could have been a large milestone in their honeymoon, in their lives, became a chance to trust in higher powers.
"We waited for God to take care of us," Beau said.
The couple called the police, who immediately started checking the area. The Hodges then waited on news of the trailer, while local television stations interviewed them.
The police found the trailer later that day -- empty -- and the search still continues for the possessions.
While waiting for news of their things, the Edmonton community began bringing the couple items to help replace what was stolen.
"It was above and beyond what we expected," Beau said.
Both agree the ordeal was an opportunity to remember God knew their situation and that he was taking care of them.
After a few days of waiting, the couple took one day to disappear from everything and spend time together.
"We really were lonesome to be with each other," Beau said.
The couple resumed their trip to Alaska, with a sign on their trailer that read "Thank you Edmonton, we love you."
They drove hard to get to their final destination, pulling into Soldotna Friday afternoon.
"It is so good to be here," said Beau. "This is definitely home."
Tamara shared this feelings.
"I am so excited to be here, and I cant wait to get settled in."
The two said they are excited to start work at Soldotna First Assembly of God, fulfilling God's work on the Kenai Peninsula.
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