David and Ida McElroy, members of The Circle M Club, have always had a special connection to Presbyterian Mo-Ranch Assembly. They are members of another special club, too, that few others have the pleasure of being a part of—they are a Mo-Ranch “Mo-Mance” couple. It was here at Mo-Ranch that the two first met and the beginnings of what would soon become a full-fledged romance unfolded.
In 1963, they each had the privilege of being selected as representatives of their churches for a Presbyterian Youth Leadership Conference at Mo-Ranch. Ida was selected as a representative of her church in New Orleans, and David was selected as a representative of his church in Texas.
That youth conference was long ago for the McElroys, but David recalls a few things that stood out in his memory. “The leadership sessions and devotions in the evenings were inspirational and foundational to my faith,” said David. “The cold slide into the Guadalupe was an unforgettable memory—that, and the moment when I first noticed Ida.”
The attraction between the two was immediate, but they both were initially too shy to formally introduce themselves to one another. Throughout the conference, their paths kept crossing in meetings and their eyes kept finding one another along the riverbank during breaks, but still no introductions were made.
On the last day of the conference, David decided he couldn’t let Ida leave without speaking to her and finding a way to stay in touch. As Ida’s bus was about to pull away, he finally mustered the courage to ask her, through the bus window, for her contact information. She happily obliged, and the two of them became pen pals. Fifty-five years later, the rest is history, and David and Ida are now married and inseparable still to this day.
The couple hopes Mo-Ranch will remain a sanctuary for all who visit and a safe space for youth to grow in their faith, just like it was for them many years ago. It’s because of this hope that they have chosen to support Mo-Ranch’s ministry in a variety of ways over their careers and lifetime.
“Mo-Ranch is a place that is important to not just our own special memories, but also for generations now and for future generations still to come,” said David and Ida. “Supporting Mo-Ranch ensures that youth are allowed the same opportunity for a Mo-Ranch experience that we were fortunate enough to have had ourselves.”
“The future of our faith and country is dependent upon encouraging youth to learn about Christ through places like Mo-Ranch,” said David and Ida. “When we heard about The Circle M Club, it was the perfect avenue to continue our giving in a way that would sustain future generations.”
The McElroys are active members of their church in Wytheville, Virginia. When they are not busy volunteering with their church, they can be found trotting around the globe or digging around in a bountiful garden they have created together. They are anxiously awaiting their next Mo-Ranch visit and cannot wait to see what other new improvements have been made!