I cannot tell you how grateful I am to have Yana in my life. She is a beautiful, wonderful woman with whom I am excited about spending the rest of my life. God couldn't have sent me anyone better.We first started writing each other on Ave Maria Singles in June 2007. Later, it progressed to phone calls. For some reason, I thought early on that she was in my life to stay, even if we only became friends. It took me until October to finally get my tail over there to meet her. A few days before, I had gone to the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament to pray. I asked God for a sign. I had driven to St. Louis the day before and drove across I-70 to get to Dayton. When I reached Terre Haute, I got a call from Yana that her grandmother had passed away that morning. She still let me come meet her. I could see that she was really nice, and I hoped to get to know her better.
The trip back home was unforgettable. Let's just say I got my sign. I was headed down I-65 and had just made it past Louisville in the pouring rain and fog. As I was driving through Elizabethtown, a car slid across the median, and I could not stop in time to avoid hitting him. Behind me was a tractor trailer that, thanks be to God, had an empty load. He was able to avoid running straight into me, but he did manage to run over my trunk with his back tires. I got to spend the night in the hospital, and it goes without saying that my car was totalled. Oh well, I needed a new one anyway. My parents came and got me, and I stayed with them for a while before I could get back home.
We kept in touch for weeks afterward until I had recovered enough to go see Yana again in December. This time I flew. We had a great time, but our third date would be delayed. After I got back home, I found out that I had a broken ankle and ended up in a boot and crutches.
In February 2008, I met Yana again in Cape May, NJ. It was quite an experience because her plane didn't make it to Philadelphia where we were supposed to meet, and I had to navigate New Jersey by myself. I made it, and some friends drove her in later. I had a wonderful time, and at the end of it all, I asked her for a courtship. She accepted.
Things took off from there. I came back to Dayton for Valentine's Day weekend, and she came to Memphis to see me three weeks later. I flew in to see her every other weekend unless we had another trip planned. During the year, we went to New York City, San Francisco, Kansas City, Louisville, Nashville, Pittsburgh, Steubenville, Dallas, and Charlotte together. Oh, and we stayed in separate rooms, mind you. We always looked forward to getting together and dreaded it when I had to go back to Memphis. I got licensed to practice in Ohio so that I could move there, but Yana got a job transfer to North Carolina as soon as I did.
I had to work on Thanksgiving, but afterward, we got to go to the North Carolina coast. We didn't get to see the beach much, but we ate a lot of seafood. I had to work Christmas Day, but Yana and her sisters came into town and made Christmas dinner. On New Year's Eve, my grandmother passed away, and Yana was by my side at the funeral.
Finally, in 2009, we went to her home country of Indonesia. I had never been outside the US before, so it was quite an experience (and a lot of fun). It was there that I asked her father permission to marry her.
In early March, I bought Yana a plane ticket to Birmingham. We went to the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament. In front of the church there, I asked her to marry me. She said yes, and the rest is, well, recent history.
I loved being single, especially being single in Christ. Being a type A (or triple A as a several of my college friends said), I used my singleness to achieve my goals academically, professionally, and to do God's will. I always live my life to the fullest.
On the Feast of Annunciation, on March 25th, 2006, I heard about Ave Maria Singles from a couple people in Catholic Life group. One guy had just met a girl from AMS, whom he later married. I did not think much of it. Later that year, when I was working from home in Indonesia for a couple months (yes, I was working in my PJ's from my parents' home), my mom shared a story about her friend's daughter (who had lived in Indonesia) who just married a wonderful Catholic man who lived in Philadelphia. They met at AMS. My mom, who has been praying for a devout Catholic man for me, insisted on me joining AMS. I had never thought to meet someone on line. Being pretty involved in a lot of organizations and activities, I hoped the man for me were to find me IRL (In Real Life). But, I did not want to disobey my mom, especially since she was praying Novena at that time. My heart was telling me that it was the Holy Spirit.
I was still skeptical about the whole on-line thing, but responded to some guys who contacted me. In May 2007, I went to Ave Maria Singles retreat and I met a lot of wonderful Catholic men and women. At the retreat, God was touching my heart and told me to be open to His plans. A month later, David and I met at Ave Maria Singles and we started building our friendship.
On October 20th, 2007, the day David was coming to meet me, my grandma passed away. I called David who was several hours away from Dayton to let him know. I told him that I was not sure what was going to happen that weekend, but I planned to go to the Vigil Mass and he was welcomed to join me for Mass. We met the first time at St. Francis of Assisi and attended Mass together. He also joined me hiking at Mount Saint John (Bergamo) the next day, my favorite place to get away in Dayton, a quiet place where I meet God and hear His voice.
David left Dayton that Monday morning; I got an email "Stuck in KY" from him that night. Below is the email that he sent me.
Well, the trip back was something else. I got into an accident on I-65 in Kentucky. It looks like I am okay, but I am really sore. I don't want you to worry, but please pray for me.
I found out that he was in the hospital when I called him the next morning. Later via the website of the local news where his accident took place, I realized that how horrible his accident was. God was watching over him that he came out alive with only cracked ribs and bruised.
That week and the following weeks, I learned how strong David's Faith was and how wonderful man that he was. Despite of his bad condition, he put me first as I was mourning the loss of my grandma. When David (somewhat) recovered , he came to visit me again for the Feast of Immaculate Conception in December, 7 weeks after our first weekend together. David started to meet my friends that weekend and we had a great time together. That weekend he already told me that if he had known what was going to happen (regarding his accident), he would go through it all over again because it was well worth it.
David had planned to come visit me again soon, but that got delayed since his doctor put him in boot and crutches a few days after our second weekend together. We were able to get together the 1st weekend in February, when he joined me for Marianist Young Adult retreat in Cape May, NJ - 7 weeks after our second weekend together. Do you see the pattern here? :) By the way, my flight did not make it to Philadelphia where I was supposed to meet him. We learned more about each other and our Faith at the retreat. Before we parted, he asked me to be in the courtship with him and I said "Yes."
Our courtship was wonderful; I could not ask for a better one. Even though we lived more than 500 miles (now 700 miles), we saw each other at least every other weekend. I always love to travel, exploring new areas, visiting my friends,.. David was very open to do that and he enjoyed the travels as much as I do. In January this year, he went home with me to visit my parents, family, and friends, and to celebrate my 30th birthday in Indonesia.
The first weekend of March, David took me to Alabama for a pilgrimage. He took me to Ave maria Grotto at St. Bernard Abbey in Cullman, which is well known as Jerusalem in miniature. Then, he took me to the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville, where we both went to confession and spent some time in adoration. After we were done, in front of the Shrine, he knelt down on his knee, asking me to marry him. I said "YES!"
I had always prayed for a devout Catholic man whom I can share my Faith with. I know God has blessed me with David for the rest of my life. I am looking forward to grow in Faith and in love much and much deeper with David, just as the love Christ has for His Church.