Every year JB and I go away for our anniversary. Just a couple days to reconnect, relax, and reflect on all that has happened over the years.
This year, because of Covid-19, our time away got pushed back. We decided that by the end of August, hotels should have a better handle on Covid-19 prevention and that it would be best to get away during the week because fewer people would be out.
This year he brought me to a beautiful hotel on the river. We love the river. Our dream is to one day have a retreat center on the river for families serving in full-time ministry.
These 18 years have been messy and beautiful all at the same time. We have had our ups and downs, but one constant has been God's presence and direction.
The first time we met was outside of the dorms at the YWAM base in Tema. I had arrived in Ghana just a couple of weeks before JB arrived on campus. JB had been a student during the previous DTS course and had returned to Ghana to help build a conference center at the YWAM campus for the upcoming YWAM Conference.
Felix, one of the DTS staff, introduced me to JB. It was a casual introduction. After that initial introduction, JB and I would see each other around campus, but neither pursued a friendship. Our interactions weren't anything more than just the typical greetings, "good morning," "good afternoon," "good evening."
I had only been in Ghana a few weeks, and five guys from my school were pursuing me. Some asked me to be in a relationship with them, others to go to their village and meet their families, even a marriage proposal. I didn't know how to handle this or where to get good counsel. The girls in my school were also pressuring me to choose one of the men who were pursuing me. They felt that I was too old to still be single, I had just turned 22.
Each student and staff member were assigned times during the evening and night to do a prayer walk around campus. I was given 9PM. Each evening I would go out for my prayer walk, and JB would be outside in the back of the dorm praying, reading, crying aloud to God. There was something about him that expressed a genuine heart to follow God and be a Godly man. I felt that I could trust him, especially during these times of devotion to God. That he would be opposed to doing anything other than God's will and that with this heart of devotion to God, he wouldn't give me anything but Godly counsel.
I was nervous about approaching him, but I felt a deep need to open up to him about the things that I was going through. I started to tell him about the men on campus who were pursuing me.
Johnbull was so kind and gentle with me. He gave me sound counsel and advised me to keep my eyes on Jesus. He asked me why I came to YWAM Ghana, was it to enter into a relationship or press into God and find healing? Of course, it was the later. I knew I needed God like never before. He prayed for me and counseled me to keep my eyes on God. It was freeing to speak with someone who felt so safe about what I was going through.
Three days after my conversation with Johnbull, I was in my room with my roommate, Kate. Kate was married and had a one-year-old baby girl. We discussed the Discipleship Training Course, all that we were learning, and all that we were looking forward to. When out of the blue, she asked me, "If you could choose to be with any of the single men on campus, who would it be?" She believed that I needed to be in a relationship with someone. That I was too old to be single.
I could only think of one name, one man, who I would consider. I told her, "Johnbull," and she questioned me, "who is that?". I informed her that he was Nigerian and working on the construction of the conference hall. She looked at me a little puzzled and asked how I knew him. I told her about the conversation we had had just three days earlier and how I felt like he was someone I could trust.
After our conversation, Kate left the room. She came back about 45 minutes later and told me Johnbull was outside, wanting to talk to me. I sat on my bed, completely dumbfounded. "Johnbull wants to talk to me?"
Kate had gone to find Johnbull, to vet him. I couldn't believe that this was happening. What was he going to say to me? He had just counseled me to stay focused on God, and now my roommate has gone to him to tell him I would be interested in having a relationship.
When I got outside, I found Johnbull sitting under a tree. He asked me if what I had told Kate was true. Was I really interested in a relationship with him? I had no idea what he had been going through for the past three days since we first talked.
Johnbull was very serious when I approached him. He asked me to sit down next to him, and then he asked me if it was true. I told him that yes, I was interested in building a relationship with him. He looked at and said, "You are my wife!"
This statement took me off guard, but what I later found out was that after we had prayed together that first night as I was walking away, he had had an experience. He felt that God was telling him that I was his wife. Johnbull thought that it must have been his own mind that was telling him that so he decided that he would fast and pray for three days. Johnbull told God that if I was really going to be his wife that I needed to be the one to approach him. And there we were, three days later, sharing the most amazing God moment. Both of us scared out of our minds.
I had no idea 19 years ago how God would use us to rescue children from slavery, extend a hand of grace and love to the single mothers, and seek development and redemption for entire communities.
I truly love doing life with this man!