Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Well here it is again for those of you who are just seeing my blog for the first time or just want to be encouraged by God's faithfulness and goodness. We printed this and put it in our ceremony bulletins.

Our Story:
A Reflection of God’s Gracious Love and Faithfulness

Dennis and I met in November 2004 during the end of my 2 year IMB term in Kenya. We call it the “pillow story” because we met as a result of mere pillow! That’s right, a pillow. Dennis had just come back from living and studying in Texas, along with his teammate Rusty. They were living and doing ministry in Mombasa. We had a mutual friend, Crystal Bell. Crystal and Dennis knew each other from church when he lived in Texas. I knew Crystal because at the time she was also working for the IMB in Nairobi. Dennis and Rusty had gone to visit Crystal in Nairobi and accidentally left Rusty’s pillow at her house. My other friend Kimberly Samuel (also a SEBTS student and IMB missionary) was traveling from Nakuru to come visit me at the coast for a month. Since she had to pass through Nairobi on her way, she stopped at Crystal’s house. Knowing that Kimbo was headed to the coast she sent the pillow with her hoping we could somehow get it to Dennis and Rusty.

Kimbo arrived to my house with this pillow not knowing what we were suppose to do with it or who it belonged to. One day I got a phone call from this guy named Dennis saying we had his pillow. The guys told us that they would be heading our way that following Sunday because they would be going to Word of Life for church. This happened to be the same place we were going to church that Sunday as well. We told them to look for us. All we knew what that we were looking for white guy and a Kenyan guy. We sat in church that day hoping they would find us. As we sat through service we were very impressed at the guest preacher that day because he was teaching such Biblical truth and in a very expository manner (rare to find in Kenya). Little did we know that that preacher was Dennis himself. It was such good teaching that I can even remember that he was preaching from James 1.

After church, Rusty came up to us looking for his pillow. Then, Dennis came down and introduced himself as well. That day we joined them for lunch. So, that’s the day Dennis and I first met one another (November 28th, 2004). Through the month of December, Kimbo and I were so happy to have some other single missionaries close by to hang out with. She left in January to go back to Nakuru, and Rusty left Kenya in February. We didn’t see each other much, but Dennis and I continued to keep in touch by email, text messages, and phone to encourage one another in each of our separate ministries. It was during this time that I began to really respect him and admire him for the ministry that he was doing in Kenya. He was unlike any other Kenyan I’d ever met. Most Kenyans who have the opportunity to go to the States never return to Kenya, but Dennis had a missions heart for his own people and had returned to Kenya to teach and minister to pastors and college students. His passion for God’s Word and for teaching it to others really impressed me!

On February 14th, 2005 that we had a long talk and discussed our admiration for one another. Because of the IMB’s no dating policy, we knew and agreed we couldn’t date while I was on the field, but in the coming weeks when I told my supervisors about my friendship with Dennis’ and my desire for accountability, the regional leadership decided our friendship was more than it should be and asked me to finish my term in South Africa. This was a very difficult time for both of us, but it was through this that I really saw Dennis’ godly character shine.

After I left Kenya we continued to stay in touch over email and when I got to the States we were able to communicate almost everyday by phone. It was through this communication that our hearts really began to grow for one another. In December 2005, Dennis came to the States to attend my seminary graduation and to visit my friends and family for the holidays. Everyone, including my family, loved him…all an answer to many prayers! I also went to Texas with Dennis to meet his American family and supervisors there. At the beginning of January, Dennis returned to Kenya, not knowing when we’d be seeing one another again or exactly where our relationship would take us. We were just trusting the Lord and praying for His wisdom and direction. Dennis was committed to his job as a missionary in Kenya, and I wasn’t ready to return to Kenya yet.

During this next season apart I got on with “American life,” got an apartment and a really good job. Little did I know that during this time, Dennis was praying that I’d be miserable at my job and would have a desire to return to Kenya. I had lots of little specific prayers of my own about how God needed to show me if this was the man I was suppose to be with for life. I had many fears, but it was during this next 7 months the Lord really showed Himself faithful and answered all of my prayers, one after another! By April, the Lord had done so much in my heart that I had an overwhelming desire to return to Kenya to work with Dennis in ministry in Mombasa. Since majority of our relationship had been long distance, we needed to be in the same place at the same time for a while to really get to know one another.

The opportunity to go through Serve International was there but circumstances like my job, an apartment lease, school loans, support raising and other obstacles made it seem like it would be impossible to go. But Dennis, a man of BIG FAITH, and I began to fervently pray over each of these things. God very quickly and graciously showed HIS HAND to us and took down each of those obstacles. In than 2 months of writing my support letter, I was on a plane to Kenya. During those six months with Dennis in Kenya, we were able to see the REAL Dennis and Allison alive and in person and in the context of everyday life and ministry. Then on Nov. 3, 2006, at Diani Beach, we were engaged at the very spot we had our first “define the relationship talk.” In January of 2007, I returned to the States to work and begin making wedding preparations. Throughout our entire relationship, we have marveled at the goodness and faithfulness of our Lord. Only He could have brought us together and its only He who will continue to sustain us and grow us in our relationship. We can’t imagine going through the ups and downs of life and ministry and the mission field with anyone else! PRAISE BE TO GOD for His marvelous gifts!


At 9:19 PM, Blogger Jane said...

Praise Christ! He is so stinking faithful


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