So hello again, that was a very long cup of tea and eventful to say the least. 5 months ago I was reflecting on what a crazy year it had been, and how God was doing incredible things amongst the youth of my church, and He's been at it again. Tonight I want to talk about one thing of many, and then I will be leading up to something very big that is changing my life and I need lots of prayer and support for, but lets sit back and relax and have a good time.
So what has happened to me? Well I have gotten engaged to Annie, my wonderful Swedish girlfriend-now-fiancee, I have led a retreat for 14-18s, I have been to New Wine Sweden, secured a house and a job in Sweden, and currently seeking sponsorship for the job as I go to Sweden next month. So exciting and scary times. I have been reflecting on that a lot recently, and God reminded me that when I started Equip I had accepted that He would be calling me elsewhere at the end of the two years. I was just not aware that it would be overseas and that He would be using someone so close to me in order to get me there. Annie and I have an amazing relationship and we do our best to keep God involved as much as we can, and the proof in the pudding here is that God has blessed us so much with a future together in Sweden, at least the near future anyway... who knows where God will send us next.
So lets start with the first big moment of the last 5 months, or should I call it the biggest moment of my life. Getting engaged to Annie. Now girls who are already engaged or married, please do get jealous of the effort I went into for Annie if your spouse didn't go to the same effort I did, and those not yet engaged... This type of thing could be something to hope and pray for. Guys, take note. Ok, so I am getting a bit proud now but my main focus for this proposal was to make Annie feel special... and I think that worked.
Now we had been talking about marriage quite a bit, and it got to the stage where I just had to do it. When we started the relationship we were already living in separate countries so we knew it had to be serious from the start, and we were committed from then, yes even me the commitment-phobe, or should I say now ex-commitment-phobe!!! Haha- in your face scaredy cat Jason of years before, I am making a commitment and its for life... what? for life... hang on... have I really thought this through... ermm..... :) Of course I have. But it took a lot of processing in order to do that... anyway. On with the proposal. So I had to ask her dad for permission, in Swedish. He doesn't speak much English at all, and to be fair thats ok. He doesn't work internationally, and until his only daughter started dating a handsome English stud (yes thats me), he probably didn't really expect he would need to learn it. And in Sweden with the high level of equality, I didn't actually need to ask him for permission. But with my British tradition, morals and values, I would still ask as it is only polite and this would be a big moment for both of us. He said yes!!! The hard part was over...ish. I had spoken nearly perfect Swedish to ask the second biggest question of my life. Now if that's not commitment to the cause, I don't know what is.
So to skip a few parts, (I still need some stories for the wedding day...) I had chosen the date, Annie's next visit to England, the style, and got the ring. I had arranged for one of her best friends to meet up with us both on the day of her arrival, playing down the whole evening with a story about hanging out with friends to watch a film and scoff our faces with greasy pizza. What I actually had arranged was a 3 course meal for the two of us (cooked by me), candlelit of course, and a creation of light in my back garden. I found an excuse to leave Annie with her friend for a couple of hours, and for her friend, the wonderful Bianca to bring her to the house at an allotted time. She was in on the plan. Annie walked through the door to see the meal set out and me stood in the back garden with biggest, and probably very scary smile on my face. Annie then walked up to me at the back, and we exchanged pleasantries and I got down on to one knee. I don't feel it right to fully say everything we said as it was a very special time for us both and there needs to be something we can keep special. You might find more out on the wedding day or at the blessing back in England. But of course she said YES!!! The scariest and happiest moment of my live. Here are a few pictures to show exactly what it looked like.
The best thing about the whole thing was that we both had the best night ever, and still think back to that night on the 20th February 2012; the day we chose to commit ourselves to each other for life and help lead each other closer to God in our relationship. The commitment of marriage is a special one and shouldn't be taken lightly but when you find that one person then do it in communion with God bringing Him into all your decisions and see how He really blesses you. We are still trying to fully do this and He has already blessed us so much with answered prayers and fruitful ministries, so how much more might He bless us if we can involve Him more. It also shows that God isn't after perfection, He achieves that for us when He forgives us and wipes our slate clean. But He is after faithfulness and obedience, and most importantly our love. The only way we really know how to love one another is by knowing God, because He is love and He showed us love first. Thats what it really comes down to. If we centre our relationships in that, then we can't go much wrong!
So that's been a bit of an insight of what I have gotten up to. Not so much youth work based, but it was such a big moment in my life, I felt I had to share it. Next I will be talking about the youth weekend away and then my next step to Sweden where you, my readers, can play a part in something big God is doing.
Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for the next part of the 5 months.
The Captain, Jason