Part VII - Our first time being really far apart

Friday, September 30, 2011

Just 8 days after Shawn and I started dating, our two-week Spring Break arrived. We were going on two very different trips. Shawn was part of Moody's Chorale and was touring all over the Northwest US. And I was headed to Viet Nam to teach English.

I was so looking forward to the trip, and had been preparing for months, but with this new relationship  I felt like a piece of my heart was being ripped out. We had just started dating, and the newness and butterflies of those first days and weeks was far from wearing off. Not only would we be apart for that time, but we'd be on opposite sides of the world. It was likely that we'd have no communication at all during that time.

The morning before we both left, we met at a hole-in-the-wall diner down the street from school to have some quality time to talk and pray and say goodbye before the big trips. At breakfast, Shawn slid this across the table to me:
It was a devotional he had written for me - one for every day of my trip. I guarded it with my life. It was so, so special. I tried to save each devotional for that day, but it was really hard not to look ahead. Every morning was a comfort reading the Word in Shawn's handwriting and reading his prayers over me.

As I boarded my flight to Tokyo and for the next 2 weeks, I learned for the first time what it really meant to miss someone. I had always been so independent that I don't think I had really felt it before - but I missed Shawn with every ounce of me. My every other thought was a prayer for him.

The trip to Viet Nam was an incredible adventure that I really loved. But the whole time I was there, I felt like a piece of me was missing. I wanted Shawn to be there to experience all of it - the smells of the local markets, the rides through Saigon on scooters, the privilege of telling someone about Jesus for the first time.
Me & a Vietnamese friend
So one day toward the end of our trip, a friend and I rode our bikes to another pat of a village we were staying in and came across a phone booth that claimed it could make international calls. I stepped inside the tiny booth and the directions said I should just press "1" and the number when dialing to the States.

I punched in Shawn's cell phone number, but I was skeptical to say the least. There had been no dial tone, and there was no ring on the other end. My heart sank a little.

Just as I was about to hang up, I heard from the other end: "Hello?"

I couldn't believe it. I didn't even say anything, I was so stunned.

"Is this who I think it is?" he asked with a smile in his voice.

My heart pounded as I tried to hold back just how giddy I felt. I couldn't believe I could hear him and he could hear me and we were talking for the first time in 2 weeks. I know that sounds so dramatic, but it was one of the happiest, most relieved feelings I've ever felt. We caught up for a few minutes while my friend waited patiently outside. Shawn was just about to head to bed at someone's home outside Seattle, 12 hours ahead of me. And I was dripping with sweat in a tiny, humid phone booth in a village outside Vinh Long. And we both couldn't stop smiling.

Most of all, I think this trip confirmed for both of us that we didn't belong to each other - we belonged to our God, who would protect us, strengthen us, and grow us apart from each other. I also had a lot of time to think about our future, and the Lord really confirmed that Shawn was going to be part of it. After meeting Shawn and knowing him as deeply as I did and being so encouraged by his love for the Lord, I knew I wouldn't be able to settle for anyone else.

To read the rest of our love story, go here.

9 comments:

  1. Sure am glad you found each other! :-)

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  2. I'm always excited to see that you've written another section of your story. It's so fun to read!

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  3. God is good! Your love story is SO sweet, and I have really enjoyed reading!

    Many Blessings,
    Jenna

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