Now that you all have read the story of our engagement, I thought I would take you back to the very beginning and share the story of how Daniel and I actually met. Many of you already know this story, but for some, this may be the first time you hear it and for those of you who already know the story there may be some details you were not aware of.
I had the awesome privilege of spending the summer of 2004 in Guatemala serving with Buckner Orphan Care International as their senior intern. My summer was filled with visiting various orphanages and assisting numerous churches as they came to Guatemala to hold Vacation Bible School in the orphanages. It was a phenomenal summer. I loved every minute of being in Guatemala. Each week brought new surprises as we loved on the beautiful children. Little did I know that I would be greeted with a surprise in the form of my future husband my last week in the country!
On July 24, 2004 the interns and I were at the Quinta Real, the hotel in Guatemala City where incoming teams stayed their first night in country and where they stayed their final night in country. On this specific night we were saying good-bye to a team from Seattle, Washington and welcoming a group from Park Cities Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas. I must add here that I had spent the past 24 hours in bed not feeling very well. I thought I had a stomach bug. That being said, I arrived at the hotel not feeling my best. The interns and I said our farewells to the team from Seattle and then joined the Park Cities team for their welcome dinner. I remember standing in the lobby of the hotel and greeting the PCBC team, but I do not necessarily remember seeing or talking with Daniel. However, as we gathered in one of the banquet rooms for dinner, Daniel and I ended up at the same table. It was during dinner that we learned that we were both from the DFW area and that we were both seminary students. I had one semester left at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary where I was pursuing a Masters of Divinity and Daniel had just completed his first year at Dallas Theological Seminary. I do not remember too much of what was said that night at the hotel but the next day I certainly noticed Daniel as the team and the interns arrived in Antigua and from what I now understand Daniel had noticed me as well.
Daniel and I were able to spend some time talking with one another over lunch that day and while we visited the orphanage that afternoon. Unfortunately, I was still not feeling very well and spent much of that day in my hotel room. By Sunday afternoon, the interns and several members of the PCBC team had come to the conclusion that Daniel and I needed to get to know one another and they began playing matchmakers!
Unfortunately, their matchmaking would have to wait a few days as what I believed to be a simple stomach bug turned into something a little more serious and caused me to make a trip to a hospital in Guatemala City. I spent the next day and a half in the hospital being treated and then returned to Antigua where I spent the rest of the day in my hotel room. That evening I joined the team for dinner and this is officially where the matchmaking began. The PCBC team members and the interns tried their hardest to make sure Daniel and I had to sit next to one another. Of course, neither of us complained about this. We were both enjoying getting to know one another. After dinner we headed back to our hotel where Daniel and I spent several hours talking. The next day we continued to get to know one another as we spent time at the orphanage. I truly believe it was watching Daniel hold a precious baby named Marina that truly set my feelings for him in motion. Again that evening we spent several hours talking to one another. It was so comical watching the team members and interns as they would whisper about Daniel and I and as they would plot how they were going to get us together.
Our last day together was spent with the team at Lago Atitlan. Daniel and I enjoyed our time together on the boat as we crossed the lake and walked around the market together. I knew that I wanted to get to know Daniel better but was not sure what he was feeling or thinking. However, before we parted ways that day, Daniel asked me for my phone number and said that he would call me upon my return to the United States. I gave him my phone number not knowing if he was just being polite or if he would truly call me. That uncertainty did not remain for very long as the very next day, before he left Guatemala, Daniel emailed me and told me how much he had enjoyed getting to know me. I knew at that moment that this was going somewhere.
I returned to the United States on August 3rd and within just a few hours of my arrival I received a phone call from Daniel. I was elated. Of course, I kept telling myself to guard my heart and not to get too excited. I had already told my closest friends about him and they were just as excited. When Daniel and I hung up that afternoon we had tentatively set plans for us to go out to dinner the following week upon my return from a trip to Georgia. I could not wait.
Our first date: Daniel and I went on our first date on August 11, 2004. We met for dinner at Humperdinks in Arlington. I remember leaving from that date not knowing where this relationship was headed but certainly excited about the possibilities. And as the old saying goes….”the rest is history!”