A chain of coincidences . . .I think not.

So something awesome happened this weekend that got me thinking back on this passed year and all the crazy things that have happened!

When I was in Seville, where I studied for 6 weeks 4 ½ years ago, I wanted to see if I could find the house where I stayed. I had no ambitions to actually try to talk to my host mom or go inside, I just wanted to go there just to see it. With that said, I want to list out all the things that happened in the passed 2 years or so that have brought me to this point in Seville!  Hopefully this is interesting to read!

I’m a strong believer in the Sovereignty of God! I believe that He is big enough to be in control of EVERYTHING that happens. I know that this side of Heaven I may never know where my free will meets His sovereignty, and, quite frankly, I’m okay with that! With that said, these are all the things that happened, you may think them as a grand chain of coincidences, but I disagree!

-December 2011- I sat down with Jaklyn’s parents at a little diner in Xenia and asked for their permission to propose (now I realize how crazy fast this was looking back, but at that time I felt like we had been dating for forever and didn’t know why it was such a big deal) They said yes in spite of how crazy it all was-

-December- August- We finished our junior years and started planning the future- Jaklyn is an Intercultural Communication major so she had to study abroad for 6 weeks to graduate- I would finish as usual in May 2012- now that we were going to be married we looked at different options- Spain came to the top because I could get a major, even though I didn’t need it, we thought, it may be nice to have-

-August 2011- I had to decide whether or not to do Heartsong again- I was completely planning on being finished because I didn’t want to travel apart from Jaklyn and we wanted to go to Spain in the spring so I couldn’t do it- For whatever reason, I felt like Heartsong had something more left for me . . . I still had more to learn- so I decided to do it, thus pushing Spain back to the summer- I decided to do spring break team so I could do the summer program in Spain, and Jak didn’t want to travel for Heartsong again so she could focus on our wedding, school and other things.

-September 17- we get married  just a fun side note- 🙂

-Fall semester- we started making plans for the future- Jaklyn and I wanted to do the summer program in Spain to get it out of the way so we could start jobs as normal fall 2012- Dr. Wiseman convinced me that the fall program would be better, I really didn’t want to go in the fall, but I trusted him and we decided to go with the fall program instead (thus leaving our summers open)

-Around Christmas time- Candy Hill, one of our friends  got offered a job in Admissions, therefore, she had to quit heartsong, they asked Jak to take her spot- After much prayer and thinking, we decided that it would be a cool opportunity for Jaklyn to travel with her sister, so she accepted on the basis that I could travel too, without pay- (granted we could have never done this had we gone to Spain either in the spring or the summer)

-Same time- I had started talking more seriously with Summit Church in Greenville, SC, about doing an internship (residency program) with them where I would learn under their leadership and may or may not get paid anything- probably would have been a part-time music job open in the fall, but since we now had to go to Spain in the fall, this was looking unlikely, so I would just have to find a full time job-

-Middle of spring semester 2012- Michael Roten, also on the same Heartsong team as Francesca and now Jaklyn, also got a job in admissions, they asked me to fill his spot and get paid- (was already on the team, but not to get any money)- He played piano, and I just happened to be able to play a little bit- (coincidence, I think not) Also, for the first time, I was able to travel with one of my best friends Hayden, who I had wanted to travel with for all four years in college, but it would have never been possible under normal circumstances-

-Summer 2012- I could list a million things that happened in the summer that make it obvious that me and Jak were on the Heartsong team for a reason, but just to name a few- I developed a better relationship with Hayden, and began and developed lifelong friendships with two new brothers, Dexter and Will who I learned so much from- also had great opportunities to develop relationships with two students in particular- Ricky and Gio-

-July 2012- Kyle Estepp, one of the elders and pastors at Summit called me and let me know that they wanted to offer me a part-time job at Summit and I could start in January, after my semester in Spain- (coincidence, I think not!) just a side note, south Carolina has a lot of Hispanics that I will be able to converse and develop relationships with much better with my Spanish after I get back from my semester here.

-Fall semester 2012- Again, many things I could say to share how God is at work here, but just to name two, first, my intercambio just happens to love sports and is one of the few religious people I have met here, he is a practicing catholic, and I have already began having great conversations with him about our beliefs (excited to see where this goes!) Secondly, I thought I was coming her to learn Spanish, which I am (slowly but surely) but in reality, God has made it obvious that I am here to learn what it means to develop relationships with unbelievers. All of you from Cedarville know what it’s like to live in Cedarville and how full it is of Christianity, and had I gone straight from that into the “real world” I don’t know how that would have worked. God knew I needed to be in an uncomfortable environment in which I would need to learn what it means to pursue genuine relationships with people even when it’s hard, even when they have nothing in common with me, even when they think my beliefs are untrue and full of errors.

-Seville trip- November 2012- Cedarville paid for us to go to Seville as Dr. Wiseman studied there and used to have our program there, so he wanted us to see it. As I said earlier I wanted to see where I stayed. It was raining really badly that day, so we changed our plans for that day of sight-seeing and looked for a restaurant that Dr. Wiseman recommended to us. It just happened to be in the same barrio (neighborhood) where my house was so I went to look at it. I ended up knocking on the door, but no one was there. With a little disappointment, we continued to look for the restaurant. After leaving the apartment, I was leading since I should have known the way, but I turned the wrong way getting us lost, and while walking down a street, I just happened to see Eufemia, my host mom! (coincidence, I think not!) So, here are some pics we were able to take! She remembered me, I didn’t know if she would, and we were able to talk for a while. I got her address and will be sending her the pictures of us!

-So that ended up being pretty long, but I think it’s sweet how God works. Hope you were encouraged reading about the grandness of our God and how big He truly is! Love you guys! Enjoy some of these pictures that are doubles ( I took the bad one in my time in Seville, and Jak took the good ones this passed weekend!)

I couldn’t get it to turn . . . sorry!

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4 thoughts on “A chain of coincidences . . .I think not.

  1. Celeste says:

    I loved reading this! I am so thankful and encouraged that God has continued to work in your life and that you have continued to be passionate about Him! I love you and am so thankful for you! This was an encouragement to me!!!

  2. melody cato says:

    Very Very Very cool!! What touches my heart so much is that you recognize God’s working on your behalf. So many times we walk through life and just take the blessings as random or “getting a good break” and not even stopping to realize that God worked it specifically for us!!! Amazing! I would have loved to seen the expression on your host mom’s face from 4 years ago when you first approached her!!

  3. melody cato says:

    What is Grayson pointing to…the little silver name taggy type thing?

  4. kristen says:

    loved reading this! so curious and fascinating when situations and meaning of things from the past surprise you as they mash up with the present. i like to think about god’s great “coincidences.” remembering them from the past refreshes me and helps me be hopeful and excited about the future…always pondering what greater meaning today or this month may have in my life a year from now or 5 years from now. big picture stuff is good stuff 😉 thanks for sharing yours and writing it all out! so glad you’re there and seeing all you’re seeing and learning all you’re learning. xo

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