A joyful moment during a tense time.
Dustin and Jennifer Sanders
Credit: Dustin Sanders

The outbreak of coronavirus has caused major disruption to our way of life and the postponing or cancelling of many life events—weddings, graduations, and even baby gender reveals. That is what happened for Dustin and Jennifer Sanders this past weekend. Due to the mandates for social distancing, the Sanders couldn’t have the gathering of loved ones in person to reveal their baby’s gender. But, taking it in stride, the couple decided to take things online and share with friends and family via Facebook Live.

When they spoke with local news station, Fox 16, Dustin said, “We just put the iPad up in the kitchen, and we stood in front of it, we shot the cannons, it was pink. Everything was super emotional.” It was emotional, indeed, for the Sanders as this has been a long road for the couple. Dustin shared with Southern Living, that they had struggled to get pregnant for nearly four years. The Sanders suffered a miscarriage and then “heartbreak after heartbreak,” as Dustin put it. “Through all of that our church family has stood with us. They have actively walked with us, encouraged us, and just been a huge support. So when Jen, my wife, found out she was pregnant we knew it was going to be so special for not only us, but for the church as well,” he said.

Dustin and Jennifer both serve as pastors for Sheridan First Assembly Church in Sheridan, Arkansas. When they announced that Jennifer was pregnant, the entire congregation rejoiced. The pastoral couple wanted to share the next big milestone with their church family, the gender reveal. They planned to do that this past Saturday, but once the governor issued the guideline that no one should congregate in large groups, they knew that abiding that mandate was the right thing to do, so they decided to go virtual.

After the live feed, Dustin and Jennifer wiped away their happy tears and pink confetti, they were just about to continue on with their day when the secretary of the church phoned and asked them to step out front. When they did, they were surprised to see a rousing parade of cars and familiar faces from church drive by. The group boisterously honked horns and waved pink streamers from windows, giving the Sanders a just celebration for their baby girl, at an appropriate distance.

“They went out of their way to follow the guidelines, stay safe, and show us an incredible amount of love. They had planned it and decided to watch the video, know what colors to use, and then go for it,” Dustin told us.

The moment was captured on camera and Dustin has shared it across social media platforms. It has become a viral hit.

Dustin and Jennifer have been surprised but thrilled by the attention the video has received.

“Our little girl's name is Madilyn Grace. She is a blessing from God. An answer to prayer. a testimony of God's faithfulness. We have prayed and prayed that our little girl would be a beacon of Jesus' love on a grand scale. That she would reach more people than we ever could. Right now, that video has almost 6 million views across all platforms. She has most definitely reached more with love than we ever could.”

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Congratulations Jennifer and Dustin!