I realize that this is a holiday weekend in the States, so if you haven't been here since Wednesday, you'll want to scroll down a bit to get to the beginning of this story. Or click on "My courtship and marriage" in the sidebar.
In May, 1986, some major things were settled in my life. First, God convicted me about not being baptized. My pastor in Indiana (where I was attending college) was willing to do this, but I knew I needed to take care of this in my home church. You can read about that in my testimony.
The second major thing is more relevant to this story: God finally gave me the peace and assurance that I was to quit college. I had been waiting for this for a long time. He made it clear to me that I was to go home, live with my parents, and wait till He brought to me the man He wanted me to marry. I could almost feel a weight being lifted off my shoulders as I packed my bags and went home. Such a relief! Now to break the news to my dad.
Actually, my dad took it well. (My mom often says that if I tell him something, he listens. I guess that's one of the benefits of being the baby in the family. ;) ) He really didn't have a big problem with my staying home and working with them in the ministry. He was seriously considering moving and taking the pastorate of another church, and was glad that I was willing to go along.
Word got out that I was not going back to college, and one morning I had visitors. Remember those friends Tom would visit, the ones who were caretakers of the camp? Well there they were. And they didn't waste time with small talk. They were a couple on a mission. As I poured water for them to drink, Mr. Bill started in:
"We heard you were quitting college."
"Yes," I answered.
"We want to know why. People are saying things, but we thought we'd get it straight from you."
Well, I appreciated that. Nothing beats gossip like going to the source. I told them that God wanted me to stay home and wait till He brought me the man He wanted me to marry.
"Well, we've got one for you."
Right away I knew who they were talking about--Tom. I smiled, shook my head, and said, "No, thanks. I don't think so."
Mr. Bill wasn't ready to give up yet. He said, "We're having a workday at the camp this Saturday. Tom will be there. Why don't you come and just look him over, and see what happens?"
Great, I thought. I had already planned to be there. Now the day would be ruined by these two people trying to set something up for us. I just knew they'd be watching us. ARRGGG!
The day came, and I managed to stay far enough away from the men so that I didn't even see Tom. Until lunch time. Mr. Bill's wife sent me out to tell the men lunch was ready. I walked into the area where they were working, and the first person I saw was Tom. Our eyes met as I told them lunch was ready. Then I tried to go back to being my normal self, but it was too late. Something had changed, and nothing would ever be the same. I was looking at a completely different Tom Newton than the one I had seen the year before.
He had grown a beard, he had a pleasant face, and I noticed his eyes were blue. I was hooked.
to be continued. . .