Traduce a Espanol!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

How our love story began...

Noe and I are celebrating our 12th anniversary!  Hard to believe it's already been 12 years.  I feel mighty old ;)  As we were reminiscing how we met and about our wedding, I realized I hadn't ever told the story on my blog of how we met!  I figured it was time to do so :)  We get asked to tell the story often and we never seem to tell it the same way.  lol  It's worth re-telling, because it's a pretty cool story - starting with how God prepared us months in advance...

...When I graduated college in '99 I got a job as a special needs prek itinerant teacher.  I had a steady boyfriend and I was living in Greensboro, NC.  I got the opportunity to go on a mission trip to Iquitos, Peru and I jumped at the chance.  I have always loved mission trips.  The trip turned out to be life-changing because on the way back I got this feeling that everything was job, my boyfriend, my name it.  God was calling me to do something...but I didn't know what.  All I knew was that I was ready to listen.

our mission team to Iquitos, Peru
     Through drinks with a friend, I realized God was calling me back to Peru.  The process was long and I won't take you through the whole thing - but rather than end up back in Iquitos (which was my plan), I ended up with a plane ticket that said Moyobamba, Peru (which was God's plan).  My boyfriend and I broke up after dating for four years - six months before I was to leave.  It turned out to be perfect timing - because it gave me plenty of time to "rebound" and be open to dating someone new.  I will be completely honest - I felt that I might meet someone on this trip...that I could possibly spend the rest of my life with.  But I can also say, that meeting someone was the last thing on my "to do" list.  But isn't that usually the case?  When you stop find your true love ;)

    I boarded the plane with a friend in June, 2001 to spend the summer in Moyobamba.  My friend spoke fluent Spanish.  I, on the other hand, had a good vocabulary but couldn't put more than 4 words together in a sentence.  "Where's the bathroom?" "My favorite color is blue." "I am 24 years old"...that was pretty much the extent of my spanish :)  I hadn't resigned from my job in Greensboro, but I also hadn't told them I was returning.  I left everything in God's hands.

my fun loving patient friend and translator who will be graduating law school soon!

    During the first week in July, after I had been there almost a month, we had a day off at the school where I was helping. Some of the teachers decided to go to the Hot Springs and asked me if I wanted to go.  I said yes, and since Noe was my neighbor - he offered to pick me up...(following is an excerpt from my journal I wrote in while living in Peru - they are all in italic)

"What fun!  Noe' came by about 10 and it was raining.  I think he thought I didn't want to go in the rain but I actually didn't care.  He didn't want to take me in the rain though so we spent the morning hanging out in the kitchen teaching each other English and Spanish.  I think he learned a little bit about me.  He looked at all my photos :)"

In a way, you could say that God "sent the rains" :)  According to Noe, that's when he began to get to know me and saw the passion I had for my students and my family. I already had an impression of him since I'd seen him lead music at church :)  Once the rain finally passed we went to the Hot Springs.  The other teachers were still there but not for long.  They had been there all day and were ready to leave...

"I didn't feel uncomfortable when the other teachers left and it was just me and Noe hanging out together.  We stayed probably another hour or hour and a half by ourselves.  I learned his parents live in Lima and he learned that I do not have a boyfriend...I didn't ask him many questions...but there'll be another time." :) (that was an understatement ;)

    I got my first bout with parasites shortly after that trip and spent many days in my room in reflection. I was contemplating why I was there...not about Noe, but my mission...

"Can I effect the lives of children in Moyo like I did back home? Am I capable of fitting into another culture and helping these children? And how can I show God's love - and  that He is the reason I am here? How can I help the church and more importantly - how do I show my faith?  I know I have to stay and find out the answers to these questions..."

The little preschoolers in the Christian School where Noe and I both worked. I helped in the preschool most of the time I was there.

one of the little girls in the special school that I literally fell in love with.  Sweetest child...
     On July 13th I wrote back home that I felt I was just getting in a groove and doing some "good".  I was understanding more Spanish (although still far from speaking it...boy I'm bad at languages!) and learning where I "fit in".  I wasn't ready to come home yet.

    A few days later I helped transport a mission team to the worship service - where Noe was leading the music.  From the first time I saw him lead I was moved...this time was no different...

"I can't wait until I can speak better Spanish so I can talk with Noe about his passion up there when he leads [music].  It is amazing the faith and love that you can feel from him when he's singing and praying.  You know the Spirit is moving him...and  when I see that, it in turn moves me - a great deal."

Noe and his brother jammin' in their house in Lima :)   
The group Jaris Canta that Noe sang in - this was at our wedding :)

    That's what first made me notice Noe - his faith.  After that, things just fell into place.  A week later the youth had an all night prayer vigil.  I went, as did Noe.  We got the chance to "talk" more (I use that term loosely because I was still not very good at Spanish! Thank goodness for my friend who sometimes translated for us! Lol) and we both knew that what we felt was something different.

"It sure does make things more complicated here, but I have to say I'm enjoying every minute with him" :)

chaperoning Noe's class to La Huarpia

    Two weeks after God "sent the rains" I pretty much knew.  We still needed a translator for deep conversations, we still didn't understand each others' cultures well and it would be many months before we officially began dating...but I knew :) When it's right, it's right.  It took a lot of patience on both sides as we learned to communicate (still does!) and it took help and encouragement from friends around us.  But 12 years later, I am still totally in love with the man that prayed, sang and joked his way into my heart :)

asking me to marry him

me saying yes :)

getting serenaded afterwards :) what you don't see is my entire family who had flown to Peru on a mission trip there in the living room :)  He asked for my hand in marriage and it was translated for them :)

Peruvian wedding! Aug. 2

US wedding :)  Aug. 9

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