Poor Handmaids Serve as Matchmakers

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

In one of their wedding photos, Bobby Biebl holds his bride, Cindy Kokesch’s hand, their eyes closed in prayer, as she stands in the door of her family home, looking fabulous in an all-over lace column gown. In keeping with tradition, he didn’t see her until thirty minutes later, when she walked down the aisle. “It was pretty knee-shaking when I saw her walk down the aisle for the first time in that dress,” Bobby confided. 

Over the years, the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ Sisters have been involved in numerous ministries that have helped create a better world. Now they can add matchmaker to that litany. On Saturday, April 29, 2017, the couple married after reuniting last summer at PHJC Coming Home Minnesota-Wisconsin. It’s an old-fashion love story for newlyweds Bobby, 54, and Cindy, 45, who now goes by Cindy Kokesch Beibl. The couple grew up about three miles apart in St. George, Minnesota, in what Bobby calls a very “Little House on the Prairie,” upbringing. A former student of the Sisters, Bobby and his siblings have long connections to the Poor Handmaids, and have volunteered at PHJC ministries as part of the "Minnesota Dream Team" on projects throughout the Midwest, including Sojourner Truth House in Gary and HealthVisions Midwest in Hammond. Bobby and Cindy were both raised Catholic but are now non-denominational Christians with a deep love for and faith in Jesus Christ.

Cindy moved to Los Angeles and started a successful business after college. She’d been gone from Minnesota for almost 20 years when she and Bobby became reacquainted at PHJC Coming Home. Both felt a spark, something they hadn’t felt in ages. “We happened to be at the same function in St. George, and it was extreme like at first sight,” said Bobby. “I was attracted to her instantly. There was definitely something there; I realized she was a keeper,” said Bobby. Cindy, for her part, thought Bobby was friendly. “We hadn’t seen each other in many years. It seemed like he was interested in me. I asked if lived with his family (read: are you married?). I wanted to know is he just nice, or is he a potential (partner). He said he’s never been married. He called me the next day and said, ‘you made an impression on me and I’d like to get to know you better,’” she said. 

As their love for each other grew, it became clear they wanted to wed. Bobby met with Cindy’s father Reuben Kokesch to ask for her hand in marriage. Both sets of parents are in life-long marriages, and that influenced the couple’s decision to wait for the right person before marrying. Cindy’s parents will celebrate their 50th anniversary next June, while Bobby’s parents were married for 64 for year before his Dad passed away two years ago. “I definitely was interested in being with somebody who had parents who were still married. We model how our household was when we were little,” Cindy said. Bobby concurred. “Cindy is the first woman I’ve dated that I want to take care of the rest of my life. Others, they wanted to go day by day. She was receptive to the long haul and was mature,” he said.

In addition to their shared faith, values, and upbringings, Cindy and Bobby also share common interests and a sense of humor, something experts agree contributes to lasting marriages. “We both like the outdoors, we both love to eat, and we work well together in the kitchen, so we’ll be cooking a lot,” he said. “We also like to exercise and work out,” Cindy added. Congratulations to the happy couple!