**This was originally written May 27, 2008**
Due to a request, here’s the “how we met and fell in love” story for me and my husband!
Back in 2000 at college, I was taking a really great Francophone Culture class (which is the study of French-speaking countries other than France) and was really into Africa at that time (there are lots of French-speaking African countries). Part of me has always been inspired and intrigued by Africa, but this class really stepped it up a few notches. And being that I’ve always loved writing letters, I decided to try to find a penpal from some African countries. I didn’t want to go the email process but wanted real letters. So I signed up with an agency I found. You fill out this long form about interests and what you’re looking for (male, female, what countries, hobbies, etc) to get penpals. About 2-3 weeks later I received a list with 5 men and 5 women from various African countries (Ghana, Angola, Botswana, Kenya, Tanzania and some others).
I promptly lost the list.
I was going to contact the agency to get a copy of that list again when letters started coming in (I was on other people’s lists). I got a lot of pretty great letters (including Samuel’s) and started writing. It was a fantastic experience – lots of great information, pictures, etc. Really fun.
Over a year or so, some people stopped writing or got very sporadic and by 2003 the only person I was writing was Samuel. And that was really fun. I learned a LOT about Ghana (which I knew NOTHING about before) and we wrote a LOT. I was pretty excited because my love affair with Africa had really grown so this was great.
The fall of 2003 brought the death of Samuel’s mom which was a really horrible thing – he was very close to his mom and was very heartbroken. He called me (for the first time) because he felt we had become very good friends and he was so sad. We prayed a lot and talked it through. That phone call really started everything. He stated much later that at that time, he knew he loved me but was scared to say anything because we’d never met.
At that time, I was involved in Chi Alpha – a campus ministry and our mission was to REALLY live for Christ… to remind us that we are all the brides of Christ and we should put him first. I was wearing an antique puzzle ring on my ring finger of my left hand – just as my reminder. As I constantly sent pictures to Samuel, he received one where he saw the ring on my hand. And he got very worried because he thought I had been engaged or married all that time and hadn’t said anything to him. He tells me now that he really struggled with the possibility that I may be married, but didn’t want to ask. So we just continued writing as friends.
In January of 2004 there was a lot of turmoil in my mind about a future husband. I don’t remember the details of what started it but I remember having many dreams about it. I also remember multiple dreams of someone telling me that my husband would be a friend and would ask about the ring on my finger and upon finding out that I wasn’t actually married would ask me to marry him. It was very weird and actually accelerated my turmoil in my mind. It was a very hectic time but I just plowed through and really didn’t pay attention to those dreams.
In May of 2004 Samuel asked if I was married. I told him about my reminder about being the bride of Christ and didn’t think anything else about it. The letters really increased at that time. We started writing not only when we received a letter from each other but a lot more frequently. He was very good to talk to, and we were very similar in so many ways. It was great to write him. We discussed so many things about life and more…
In July of 2004, Samuel wrote a VERY long letter and he told me he was in love with me (despite never meeting me) and asked me to marry him. I’ll tell you what, I was floored. It was very weird and very unusual… kinda hard to deal with. I set the letter aside and didn’t do anything but think about it for about 2 weeks. Then I kept trying to write him a letter that said “no” because I had never met him. Every time I tried to write and send that letter, I couldn’t. It was just not right. I struggled a lot and one afternoon while walking by the lake (in Yellowstone National Park, where I was working at the time) I remembered my dreams. And I really felt God say “this is what I told you would happen.” And I went home and wrote the letter that said “yes” and it was SO RIGHT. As soon as that letter was finished, love for him just flooded my heart and never left – just grew and grew. And I knew he was the one for me.
After receiving that, we talked a couple times a month on the phone and he sent me an engagement ring in March of 2005 and asked me over the phone to marry him so it would be official.
We got married in Ghana on March 18, 2006 and have been working on his visa to come here ever since. And finally, he’s here. And life is GRAND because of it!