I cannot remember when the Starlings came to Miracle Temple Church. However, I instantly fell in love with them. I remember when Carmen was pregnant with her first daughter Shiloh and Carmen’s face broke out with acne, that she never had in her entire life and yet Duawne loved her despite of her not good looking skin. I was really admiring their love for each other and their love story is like no other.
Years have passed and Carmen is part of our sisters' prayer group. Our mutual friend was inspired by God to have a group of ladies that will come together and pray and share; we were both chosen. God has been ministering to Duawne and Carmen. The Starlings are a team, and now with three beautiful daughters, they are definitely a complete package.
Duawne is an elder in our church and he has sung with the church choir and also performed solos. When Duawne sings, he brings everyone into worship. He believes what he sings. What I love the most is that when he sings, I look over to Carmen and I see pure love for her husband. She is at his side, his cheerleader, his biggest supporter, his lover, they are in sync with God’s obedience. His children are in awe when he sings and you see the love in their eyes. Daddy’s little precious girls.
The first challenge the Starlings faced (that I know off) was when their house got burned down. They were displaced for a long time; however, their bond was getting even stronger. God spoke to them that the things they have are only temporary. That God is in control of all things, and that we needed to praise God through good and bad times. That definitely was a bad time. All things were going wrong, but the Starlings stepped up their faith in God, they were patient and after it was all said and done, now they have a beautiful house, more beautiful than before. That was GOD!!!
I was not there that particular Sabbath; however Duawne Starling baptized his firstborn Shiloh. What a privilege, what a gift, what a moment. There is a picture that sums up a fathers love---earthly father –daughter and then our Father who sees his son Duawne baptizing his daughter. Wow, wow, what a moment. I can only imagine the look of love, of passion of a job well done on Carmen’s face!!!
This summer, like every summer, the Starlings, went to Bermuda to spend the summer with Carmen’s family. Two days before they were coming back to the U.S., the unthinkable happened. I got a text from our leader from our sister group that the Starlings were in an accident. (WHATTTTT???) The good thing at that point when I got the text was everyone was alive and was told the condition of each one of them. Carmen said that the person who saw them on the scene said: "Wow, the devil wanted to wipe you all out!"
The powerful thing of the Starlings is that instead of cursing, crying etc., they were praising the Lord in the midst of all of this. Little Shiloh said, "Why did this happen? We are a good family." Carmen asked Shiloh, "What do we do in a situation like this?" Poor Shiloh did not know at first and then said to pray. She put her little hand on her daddy’s head and prayed (Duawne did not realize it was Shiloh’s hand on his hand). You know that their parents are doing things right. Shiloh is their prayer warrior!!!
This journey has not been easy. He "sisters" sprung into action and made sure they had meals for two weeks. This journey brought the Starlings even closer. The devil may have wanted to kill them, to destroy them; however, God had other plans.
God has plans for the Starling family. On Sept 17, Duawne was on TV---HopeTV.org on the program “Lets Pray” to share his testimony. That is God! On October 30th, Duawne will have his CD release and God will be praised. Family and friends from all over will get to know Christ in such a deeper level that they have never experienced.
So with all of this said, despite their journey, God has been even closer and deeper in their hearts. The summer vacation got shortened but they have a stronger and deeper marriage and a deeper appreciation for their children. God knew that the Starling family had to be saved as a unit.
If all possible, I would love a special date night for Duawne and Carmen. Oh yeah by the way, they were all suppose to go to Disney world as a family but it was not possible because of injuries, so God bless Carmen’s mom and she took the girls. Mom and dad had to stay home and that was the worst experience for them both, because that was not the plan!!
Duawne and Carmen are the most beautiful married couple that I know. I love them both and I am grateful for the many godly insights that they give to us, as sisters and as married women.
What a blessing!
Nominator: Cheraldine Jean Pierre-McPherson