We are back in Korea now! We had an eventful summer and now we are getting back into the swing of things here in Seoul. Bethany has been going to school for a week already doing teacher inservice as students will start back to school this Monday. The weather is very hot and humid, with rainstorms popping up now and then. The cicadas are loud, but since I have lived both in Indiana and Texas, I am used to that!
Bethany and I are looking to the future as well – please pray with us as we think through whether we will be staying in Korea next year or returning to the States or going somewhere else as the Lord leads. There are many factors for us – finances, family, friends, and ultimately, following God’s leading.
It’s been a faith journey for both of us – I am wondering what job opportunity is next for me, and how/if I can finish my Th.M. Bethany has continued to take care of me but it is hard when we do not know what the future holds, or even what is next. There’s sort of a rollercoaster between all the potential of our future and the little situation we are in for the present. I know the Lord will take care of us as He has, and He has a role for us to fulfill!
As 2015 was ending, my pastoral internship drew to a close. Around this time, I told Bethany that I wanted to be with her and I was praying that God do something soon and unexpected for us to be together. Bethany’s best friend Charlotte visited her right at the end of 2015, and I got to spend time with them both (the dreamlike quality of this time cannot be exaggerated – I was done with my job, and I made another visa run to Japan after which I got to spend day after day with Bethany). After Charlotte had gone back to the States, Bethany proposed a plan to get married, just before her spring break. This was also unexpected, and an answer to prayer. We began to work on co-creating shared values to guide our decision-making. We also opened up to family for counsel.
You see, for this whole relationship to have worked, Bethany had to employ BOTH supernatural patience AND supernatural initiative. In the beginning, I was just a foreigner guy who had lived his whole life in the States, and would be returning there at the end of the year, knowing nothing of how diverse and unique Bethany’s upbringing and life had been. I had to wait and wait and see, biding my time to show romantic interest – our lives were so different and because of the events in my own family, I knew a marriage could not be built on unilateral action. There was too much to learn and process for a long-distance relationship. There had to be a back-and-forth for us to work.
I was just a seminary student doing a pastoral internship, talking about how I wanted to do cross-cultural work, so that by all accounts I seemed an outspoken proponent of the stereotypical Christianity of which Bethany, a missionary kid, knew better. I was just a 30-year-old guy who only had maybe one official girlfriend in his life and barely had a cent to my name. If I initiated a relationship, if I proposed marriage, where was I going to take her? What did I have to offer? I didn’t even have a residence to call my own. When Bethany initiated and showed up to the Incheon airport, it may have been a small action-step for her to take, but for me and my life, it was the giant leap I needed someone to make. Because Bethany waited for me to initiate and introduce things about our relationship and show affection, our love warmed and progressed naturally and intuitively but at a strong pace.
Around this time in the first half of January 2016, Bethany took me on a date to her old haunts in Seoul including Yonsei University. Something very important happened then. On February 14th, we returned to Yonsei University to hike Ansan. I proposed at the spot on Ansan where we had hiked to more than a year ago.
As the Lord allows, Bethany and I will hike together for the rest of our lives.