By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
This time, Fred was successful.
On November 24, in a brief ceremony at the Lord's Temple, a nondenominational church at 1333 West McDowell, MiAsia and Fred Gatlin were joined in marriage. Performing the ceremony was the Reverend Wilfred McFadden, pastor of the church that ministers to homeless people, and the man who's training Fred for ordination.
"I'm confident that it will work," says McFadden, "and I'll tell you the reason-it's MiAsia. Fred is close to being a fanatic about salvation. She is channeling his energies, and she is really educating him."
Some 40 people from the homeless shelter attended the wedding. MiAsia's oldest daughter, 22-year-old Isis, escorted her mother to the altar. "She told me, `Next time you get married, I'm sending a telegram,'" MiAsia says.
"I was so nervous," Fred admits, "because I'd never been married before. When I heard those powerful words... . As much as I'd been begging for the woman, the first words, I was stuttering. Everyone was staring at `The Rev.' But I got it right."
After the ceremony, the couple ate dinner at the church with other shelter residents. Then the couple whisked away in Fred's taxicab. On their wedding night, the Gatlins cruised Phoenix streets in the cab, picking up customers. "She made me quit at midnight," the bridegroom says.
That's not the only time his wife has put her foot down. She handles the couple's finances. Fred admits he used to give most of his money away. "My mother told me, `You were about the stupidest man I ever met,'" he says, "because even when I was on an ice cream truck I would give it all to the children."
Fred feels lucky to have found MiAsia. "I tell people I hit the lottery, the jackpot, bingo, everything," he says.
In the first month of their marriage, the Gatlins have spent just a handful of nights together. Fred moved from the shelter in December, and is staying in a downtown apartment. The couple plans to find an apartment when MiAsia checks out of the shelter this month.
MiAsia Gatlin has an answer for those who might question her judgment in marrying a homeless man, a street-preaching taxi driver she had known for less than a month.
"Whenever I think about how many times I've been married, I feel like Elizabeth Taylor," she says. "But I don't like being alone. God put us in each other's path. We didn't choose."
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