I have a beautiful love story.
It was 1994. I was going to spend the summer before I started nursing school in Belgium.
That is how it started.
However, my passport has a stamp from Romania instead of Belgium. Because God's plan is so much better than we can imagine, my summer took a different turn.
Let me back up a little.
I was about 9 years old at South Carolina Summer Camp for the AG (Possume Kingdom). I meet a new friend, Dedrea. She was one of the cool kids who new everyone and everyone knew her. She had access to the air conditioned rooms. She was cool(literally). Every summer after that I would see her. Eventually as we got older we would see each other at other state wide events. (youth convention, Aim trips, etc.) Well we ended up being freshman at Southeastern University together. We didn't realize the other would be there. After a semester of having strange college roomates, we decided to room together. Those were good times (we learned that just because you have checks in your checkbook does not mean you have money in your account -true story). After our freshman year, she moved back home to Greenville, SC.
After my sophmore year, I felt called to nursing school. I decided to choose the University of South Carolina at Spartanburg. I called Dedrea , she talked to her dad and soon I had a wonderful new roomate named Kelly (handpicked by Sonny, Dedrea, and God). (a story for another blog)
Stay with me here.
Well Dedrea's dad, Sonny, was the missions pastor for our church, and since I was unable to go to the mission's trip they were going to take later that year, he was going to help find a mission's trip to go on. Originally it was going to be Belgium. Later it was changed to Romania, as that was the trip the church was going to take later.
I was supposed to be in charge of helping students from the International Bible their English. Well when I arrived to Romania, there were no students at the Bible College. They were on break (and would not be returning till after I left). But the President of the Bible college had some office duties for me. After a few days I called home so upset. I felt I had really missed the boat on this, and even asked if my dad could get in contact with a missionary he knew in Albania. He tried, but they felt that it would be unsafe to attempt to go there, or travel there as a single female. So I was "stuck" in Romania.
After being completely humbled, and really stpending time in prayer, I felt that I needed to wait on the Lord, and learn the lessons He was teaching me. I met several people while working at the Bible College ( ok. . . I would attach myself to anyone who spoke English). They had meet the youth pastor from one of the churches in Bucharest, and said that he needed a female chaperone for a camping trip, would I be interested.
What I didn't mention before is that while I was waiting on the lessons from the Lord, I had been battling a bad case of bed bug bites, had only eaten bread and cheese, and cried just about every night, so a camping trip on the Black Sea, away from the bedbugs and bread sounded heavenly. The youth pastor (Dave) was supposed to come by the Bible college and meet me.
Here is where it gets good.
Dave heard me before he met me. He was walking in, and heard me trying to communicate to someone, and I was laughing very hard. He said, and I quote. . .
Is that her?
She is Violently Evervescent
end of quote
What a first impression!
Soon after that, we boarded a train, and rode cross country to the Black Sea to camp. If you knew before Dave, you know this was not at all what I was used to. Oh how I was being stretched. On that trip I learned what a Turkish Toilet was. It was good. Dave and I became pretty good friends (what else were supposed to do) He even came to my rescue on a dark beach with creepy police (being 6'4" in Europe is a good thing).
Dave thought I had a boyfriend back in the states, so it was all about getting to know each other and serving along side each other. About 5 days before I left, Dave finally asked me out on our first date. We were sitting at an outside cafe drinking warm coke with no ice, and I said, "a lei (Romanian money) for your thoughts" and . . .
that is the beginning.
Our first date was a train ride to the mountains of Romania to tour a castle, Dave had packed us a nice lunch (bread and cheese, and a pastry we fondly call "harps") I found a picnic blanket and we had a great time.
I left Romania with my passport stamped, and my heart stolen.
We spent our courtship an ocean apart.
Our phone calls cost over $3.00 a minute.
We had enough frequent flyer miles to go to Hawaii on our honeymoon.
We sent faxes to each at wierd times.
We sent care packages via anyone who would take them.
He bought my engagement ring before he told me he loved me (or even kissed me).
That is my love story.
It is a good story.
Only God can place a call on young children on different sides of the country, send them to Europe at the same time, bind them together in ministry, and give them an amazing love story.