Our stories began way before the world began. Our Father tells us that He knew us even before we were in the womb. He knew where we would be born, who we would marry, and how many children we would have, and our story continues through eternity as we are promised the hope of an everlasting life.
We both entered this world into places that seemed like entirely different worlds. Alan grew up in one of the largest cities in Texas. He lived in a neighborhood made up of families from all over the world and was the minority in his graduating class of over 900. Surrounded by diversity, he naturally developed a love of peoples, places, and cultures. Carrie on the other hand, was born in a very small country town in Southern Indiana. Our house was surrounded by fields of corn and hay, and until she went to school, her best friends were the animals they raised. Graduating from a class of just over 30, most everyone in her school was from that same small town, or at least one like it. It was uniformity that gave her a curiosity for the unseen world and initially drove her to explore other places and cultures.
A CALL TO OBEDIENCE
The common link in our story is what continues to be the foundation of our family and marriage. Our testimonies of how the Father worked in our lives to bring us back to Himself, clothing us with righteousness and salvation, are very different. It was His love and command that took us both to the place where we first met.
We lived our lives apart from each other, totally unaware of the other’s existence, until our paths crossed on a continent clear across the ocean in a country that is part of what we call the “Horn of Africa”. Alan was working with an NGO doing community development and survey work, while Carrie was homeschooling for his supervisor’s children. For 10 months, we worked together without the slightest clue of what would happen at the end of that first year.
We lived life together as brother and sister. But our minds and hearts were set on the task we had been given, and never in our wildest dreams thought that our relationship would develop into anything other than close friends…but little did we know. Alan’s heart was led to pursue her, and her heart was led to trust the Father and give Alan a chance:)
After two months of pr*yr, deep conversations, and working through a lot of junk in our past, Alan proposed on a rocky hilltop in Jordan that overlooked the Red Sea. Just across the way, we could see Israel and Egypt…and we could imagine (to the best of our abilities), Moses holding up his staff, the seas parting, and the waves swallowing up the Egyptian army as the Israelites crossed through on dry land. What a sight that would have been! I felt at that time, like the seas were swallowing up all of my doubts and insecurities. Putting my trust in Him (not “him”), I said “Yes!” How amazing to be able to say that that was the place where Alan put a ring of dental floss on my finger and asked that 4-word question. I would say I still have that dental floss, but it later fell off while swimming in the Dead Sea. I chose not to take that as some kind of sign….
And so it was…Alan travelled back to the Horn for another year to fulfill his 2 year commitment. He continued to see the hand of our Father move in amazing ways, while I took part in the work through pry*r and encouragement from the States. My heart longed to be there, but the seasons had changed and my work was back in my hometown for a time.
We were married on Labor Day, 2010, just a month after Alan returned to the States. We moved to Louisville, KY and began our life together. Many new people entered our lives at that time. We were surrounded by a community of *followers and were blessed by the deep fellowship and like-mindedness of each of them. We were learning much still about people and culture, as many refugees from all over the world had become our close friends. The more we learned, the more we realized we didn’t know.
A NEW SEASON
Six months later, we found out we were expecting a baby. And 9 months later we welcomed our precious Esther Rose into the world. Finally, after two and half years of pry*r and preparation, the Father has brought us into a season of return. In the first few years of our lives together, we have been blessed with a sweet time to be with the family and friends we love dearly. We have been learning how to be husband and wife, and father and mother. And we have been learning to be more obedient to the One who brought us all in to this world. Now, we are returning to the land we fell in love with, which just so happens to be the land where we fell in love.
We will be partnered with an NGO (non-government organization) called Grace Centre (http://gracecentres.org/). Check out their website for more information about the centre and how they serve the community. Here is a great video tour of Grace as well (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dmi5tzdaZfQ).
We will be posting stories and updates regularly throughout this journey. Please feel free to read our posts and journey along with us through pry*r and/or giving.