28- Flexibility is Always Important!
Karen and I had been praying for each other about mission, marriage, or ministry , almost since the day we had met (nine months earlier), and I had been pursuing my goal of deeper Bible study. When Karen had mentioned, “I believe single women can have an adventurous life serving Jesus,” I had decided that since I needed preparation to be a missionary in Africa that I might as well get it in England where Major Ian Thomas had a Bible school.
So during the time of waiting on one man to notice me and hanging out with a man who was pursuing me, I had been firming up my goals and making plans!
I had applied to and had been accepted at the Torchbearer’s Capernwray Bible School that was held in an English country house in the Lake District, 70 miles south of the Scottish border.
When Dan and I became committed to each other we thought the sensible thing to do was to plan our wedding six months out, and I was willing to do that even though it meant that Bible school would be scratched. But, after considering all of the advice to marry right away, rather than suggesting that I drop my vision, Dan expressed his interest in going to the school also. We called Capernwray, three days after we were engaged, and found out that the England school had no openings for a married couple for the fall term but the German school had one married couple’s opening. Paperwork and phone calls were completed expediently. At Dan’s suggestion, in order to meet the deadlines, we went ahead and sent our forms and fees before he was officially accepted. The time crunch was real, before the days of fax machines or emails or scanning. It was a God thing that our place was secured.
In my Bible school file folder is the tally of our expenses: the six-month school term (Sept 29 through March 23) for each of us was $1,862 ($3,724 for both) for tuition, room, and meals. One flight from Reno to New York was $400 and NY to Zurich was $520. So times 2 and round trip = $2,880. I cashed in my teaching retirement funds from California and Nevada, and Dan dipped into his savings.
Dan has since realized that without the intensive study of God’s Word early in his Christian life, he probably would have “washed out” as a Christian. (his words) We had the privilege of hearing lectures from 28 pastors, Bible scholars, and missionaries—five lectures a day for almost eight months.
So simultaneously, I was being loosed from a deception about a fantasy relationship, being humbled through life experiences so that I could ‘fit’ the man of God’s dreams for me—a humble man three years younger than I was, and a new Christian. Dan was being healed from being crushed in his failed marriage relationship, and he was gaining boldness in hearing from the Spirit and being obedient to the Spirit’s revelation. We both were led to stop our lives, sell a lot of our stuff, put our finances toward Bible study, and to jump off the edge of the boat and launch out together into the deep.
Once we were committed to marrying, several things happened.
A friend suggested we take up bicycling to take the place of overly smooching. Our passion was high and we both had strong convictions of not messing up in the sexual area.
Dan wanted to come to my place and jog with me early in the mornings before we both went to work, but I realized that the neighbors would see his truck parked out in front of my house at 6am and think he had been there overnight, so we nixed that idea.
In my devotions I received the reminder in Ephesians to walk clean and Spirit-filled. And in my devotions, the Spirit highlighted in Revelations: “The bride is ready.”
Because everything was moving so quickly we thought it would be wise to meet with my counselor, Bill, together. We completed a personality inventory and he interviewed us. He encouraged Dan to be verbal, the leader, to initiate prayer, and to be the spokesman for us. He encouraged me to be an accepting and listening friend to Dan. He thought that dropping everything and going to Bible School overseas would be a wonderful start for our marriage. He said we were both mature. He warned me about being domineering and advised me to work hard at staying in right relationship. He said we had good attitudes about each other and that Dan’s attitude about himself was low but that would change with me accepting and loving him. (I take good notes, and I saved them!)
Many, many friends were rejoicing with us, young and old, co-workers and church friends, and both of our families. Dottie and Lynn wanted to give me a bridal shower and plan the reception after the wedding.
I knew that Dan completed me. I wanted to be like him (calm, self-controlled) and he wanted to be like me (out-reaching, loving people).
To my list of 100 confirmations I added: the verses I was getting in my devotions, all of the support from our well-wishers (there were no nay-sayers), that there was room for one couple in Germany and they accepted us, and especially our counselor’s whole-hearted support of our relationship and our plans.
A new hair dresser was recommended to me and I found out that he had grown up in the Bodenseehof area, the town in Germany where the Bible School was located. Coincidence? No, another divine appointment set up by Jesus. And another confirmation.