09 November 2011

Amazing what can happen in a year!

A timeline of a year ago:
31 October 2010 - I preached the Sunday morning service on the topic of Biblical Marriage (part one). At the last minute I was also asked to talk about voting, because it was election day. It was also the engagement dedication ceremony for a Tanzanian friend, followed by an engagement party. About forty people asked me why I'm not married yet. I just laughed.

1 - 6 November 2010 - People kept stopping me to tell me that they were praying for me to get a husband. One of the prayer ministry people in the church stopped me in the hall, told me to put my hands in the air and prophesied over me that my husband was coming soon. I just smiled, and she commanded "Say Amen!" "Amen!" I stammered. In Shirati, Fred was trying to talk his way out of being sent to Dodoma for the Central Diocese Strategic Planning seminar the following week. It didn't work.

7 November 2010 - I preached Part Two of my marriage sermon series at the church. After the second service, the senior pastor and one of the wazee (elders) laid hands on me and prayed that God would send my husband soon, and that he would be a man of Godly character. I laughed a lot (in my mind), because I was really not that pressed to get a husband. After the service I felt convicted about my response (like Sarah when she was told she'd have a child in her old age), and decided to take the advice of a good friend to have some standards. I started a list of the things that I really hoped God would give me in a husband. Fred traveled from Shirati to catch a bus to Dodoma, which he missed.

8 November 2010 - The Central Diocese Strategic Planning seminar began. I finished my list of husband characteristics under the edge of the table, and had another private laugh. I didn't know and had never met a man who came even close to the list in my journal. I figured that God would really have to be the one to bring my husband if I were every to marry. Fred arrived in Dodoma that evening after I'd gone home.

9 November 2010 - I entered the room for the second day of strategic planning meetings and noticed the tall, handsome African man sitting in the corner, but, having just given all my "guy stuff" over to God, I didn't pay close attention to him. Fred noticed me immediately (given that I was the only white woman in the room), and for him, something clicked. It had been years since he'd been interested in any woman, and he'd never been interested in marrying a "mzungu" but for some reason he was drawn to the white woman running the projector. After the meeting, I invited Fred to hang out with us for my host family's son's birthday party. He agreed readily, but then left early from the party. I wrote him off as anti-social.

10-11 November 2010 - No developments, except that each of us was becoming more and more impressed with the other for his/her participation in the meetings. The night of the 11th, Fred and some other guests came to the house of the bishop (where I was staying). I had the first intimation that Fred liked me when he crossed the room to talk to me about watermelons. Such a ladies' man! In spite of that, I took him with me to hang out with my friend, Martin. Along the way Fred broached the subject of marriage, and I immediately changed the subject.

12 November 2010 - After the final meeting, I took Fred to dinner with my two best friends in Dodoma, Martin and Paul. They had already decided that I should marry Fred, making that 3 out of 4 people at that dinner table who had decided views on my marital future.

13 November 2010 - Fred left Dodoma first thing in the morning, and I went back in for another day of meetings, during which we texted each other. Via SMS I agreed to be his girlfriend, about one hour before another friend asked me to be his girlfriend. (I turned him down.)

14 November 2010 and following - Electronic courtship over hundreds (while I was in Tanzania), then over thousands of miles (when I went back to the States) until February 2011, at which point I finally came around to what Fred, Martin and Paul had already seen: Fred was the man God wanted me to marry. We got married in April 2011, meaning that, by the time we celebrated the one year anniversary of the day we met, we'd been married for over half of the time we'd known each other (and I'd also been pregnant for roughly half the time as well!).

Really, I'm so grateful that God's hand was so evident in bringing Fred and I together. We freely give God all the credit and all the glory for the blessing that our marriage is. If I'd ever had any idea how much I would love being married to Fred, it would have been so much harder to wait. I'm so glad that God brought us together at the right time.

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