We have such a neat opportunity here in the US of seeing God write such unique stories. When I was in Nepal I attended a large Christ honoring, Bible believing church. During the annoucements they said, "If you are approaching that age and would like to get married, approach the elders and we will arrange it for you." I could not believe what I was hearing! "What! How could they do that! That is so... not biblical!" I seriously was shaken, but realized the US way of doing marriage is not the only way, or even the Bible way. It took time, but I finally came to grips with the fact that God could be honored and glorified through arranged marriages too. But that experience did cause me to appreciate the freedom we have in this country and the beautifully unique stories God writes.
I had just returned from a five month long missions training program with the last two months spent in Nepal. Went I came home to Durango, all my friends except two had graduated and moved away. It was time for me to meet new people and make new friends. I went to a BBQ where I met Austin. He came up to me and asked me if I wanted a hamburger. I said yes, and he brought me a hamburger, chips and all. I thought, "What a nice guy, I wonder if we're going to be friends."
He was thinking... "There's that cute girl but everyone is talking to her, wanting to hear about Nepal." So the only thing he could think to do to get my attention was to bring me a plate of food.
Austin snowboarding down the sand dunes.
Had to included the picture, since he had long hair when we met.
In the small town of Durango, if you recognize someone (but really don't know them from Adam) you wave and say hi. That's the culture. John and Fred were from the east coast and were taking a road trip, going to different cities they thought the Lord was leading them. They didn't know the Durango culture. Somehow they met up with Jeremiah, a guy I recognized. A friend of mine and I ran into Jeremiah, John and Fred in the grocery store and said hi as the Durango culture demands. John and Fred, thinking we were all friends invited us over to BBQ, we went. A few minutes after getting to Jeremiah's Austin rides up on his bike. Turns out Jeremiah was his roomate. I got so excited, hoping we were going to be able to talk. Someone annouced we needed buns for the burgers. Austin had just rode up and quickly said, "I'll go." Confused and a little sad, I wondered if he didn't want to talk to me.
He was thinking... "Oh no, what is she doing here?" Since he felt totally unprepared to talk to me. On the way to the grocery store he started praying, "God, why do I feel this way about this girl? Is this who I'm going to marry?"
That night we talked for hours and realized so much we had in common like we both had been to the capital city of Tanzania Africa.
A ministry in town had a special night at their lodge 45 minutes outside of town. Total there were about 25 people in attendance. Austin and I both ended up at the same meeting. Strange since neither of us were too involved with that ministry. The guy who gave him a ride that night had to leave and randomly asked my friend Erica (who drove me) if she would give Austin a ride home. More great conversation.
The lodge is in the picture below and had no idea at the time that God would give our ministry that lodge 11 years later. Here's the amazing story of how God provided!
Austin knew what time I got off work and had planned to 'happen to ride by' on his bike with his guitar at the time I was getting off. On his way over, he got really convicted that he wasn't trusting God with it. Right then he saw a guy on the side of the road with a sign that said, "Can I pray for you?" Austin stopped to pray. 30 minutes later, thinking he had missed me, he started riding home. I stayed late that day and the exact second I was walking out the door, Austin rode by. Both of us were stunned. We went to get ice cream and had a great conversation again.
Then he asked me on a date. The rest as they say, was history.