|Our History Together|
"OK, you're from Maryland, and he's from California. How in the world did the two of you meet?" If I had a buck for every time I heard this question, I'd be rich by now.
The short answer is simple... we met on a missions trip.
Now for the long answer... It was the summer of 1992. Joe was doing his final college internship working at CityTeam ministries. I had just arrived for a summer internship teaching children with the same organization. I was sitting in the first night of training for the summer interns, waiting for things to get started. He was sitting in the row behind me waiting like a hawk to steal my Bible and notebook right out from under my chair where I had placed it. All I can remember of him from that night is the boots he was wearing, since I was looking all around under my chair trying to find my stuff. He recalls that his only motive was to get to know that cute redhead who was sitting in front of him.
A week or two later we found ourselves loaded into the CityTeam van for an intern outing to San Francisco. If I'd recalled that little prank from the previous week and remembered who the culprit was, I don't know if things would have turned out as they did that day. Suddenly we were in San Francisco and everyone was pairing off to explore, and I was left in their dust... well, everyone's dust except for Joe and our leader, Tim. During that day I discovered two interests Joe and I shared in common--computers and missions. Joe grew up on the mission field in Taiwan, and was working with computers at CityTeam's office for the summer. I had always had an interest in missions and was a college junior studying computer science. I also discovered the distaste he has for barriers and the adventurous spirit he possesses as I watched him skirt all the fences to climb down underneath the Golden Gate bridge!
We became great friends that summer, but it was nothing more than that at the time. Sure, we took in a few movies together, and looked forward to getting together for Saturday outings with the group, but we could not have imagined dating one another...and especially not marrying each other!
After the summer ended, it was several months before we were in contact with each other again. The following February, I received a letter from Joe and followed my first impulse to pick up the phone and call him. Little did I know it would be months before I received another letter from him. But we did talk often on the phone--typically one lengthy conversation each week. Through some particularly rough circumstances of my junior year, Joe was one of the few people I could really talk to.
It was not until March of 1994 that I heard those long-awaited words, "I love you," pass through his lips. Since they had been withheld for so long, I knew it must mean something, but I certainly did not know what. I struggled with the decision of whether to attend seminary in Kentucky or travel somewhere closer to Joe after finishing college. The call of God was greater at that time, so I moved to Kentucky to continue my education, enriching it with theological studies and preparing to go to the mission field.
Joe made plans to fly east to spend Thanksgiving with me. He also planned not to be the first one off the airplane--I had to wait until almost every other passenger had exited the plane before I could see his tired and smiling face and give him a big hug. During the drive from Kentucky to Maryland on November 20, 1994, probably somewhere around 5:30 PM, Joe popped one of the big questions: "Would you be my girlfriend?" I admit that I really had to think for a moment. The implications were tremendous! Both of us knew a long distance relationship of this type would be very difficult. We'd have to find some way for both of us to be in the same place. No sooner had I said a cautious, "Yes," than he responded, "I guess this means I'm moving to Kentucky." We started making plans for him to make the move the following summer.
We did not wait until getting engaged to start discussing the wedding. In fact, we decided on a preliminary wedding date in February 1995. I chose my wedding gown in June '95, a full year in advance of the wedding we weren't even positive was going to happen.
In August, I flew out to California so that we could drive across the country together--stopping for the first night at the Grand Canyon, and passing through 5 states I'd never been in before. I waited ...and waited... and waited some more for the big question to arise. I had a long wait.
We were home in Maryland for Thanksgiving and Christmas (our first Christmas together!). The night before we drove back to Kentucky, Joe talked with my parents until 1:30 AM. Since he would not tell me the outcome, I figured it must have been favorable. Still, I waited...
We were at Joe's house in Kentucky to celebrate the beginning of 1996. It was the first time I'd ever kissed the man I love at midnight when the New Year began. Seconds later he was down on his knees asking, "Will you marry me?" Through a dazed, tired, and kinda surprised mood, I somehow managed to say "Yes," throw my arms around him, and hug him and kiss him again.
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