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Finding my husband in the most unexpected place, Costa Rica

02.13.18 | Marriage | by Whitney Marshall

Finding my husband in the most unexpected place, Costa Rica

    What I was not expecting was that the answer to that question would lead me to my husband.

    I’ve been on a lot of mission trips in my life. Every time before we leave, I’m asked what my expectations are for the trip or what I am seeking by going.

    The 2016 trip I took to Costa Rica with Highland Park United Methodist Church was no different. If I’m honest, I’m not sure I had any expectations for that trip, but I was seeking clarity. I wanted to know why God sent me to Costa Rica.

    What I was not expecting was that the answer to that question would lead me to my husband.

    In 2014 I went to Haiti with HPUMC. Like everyone else on their first international mission trip, it was life-changing. On a trip like that, everyone, from the people you serve with to the people you are serving, is a reminder of just how great God's love is.

    During that week, I put everything aside and was able to focus only on that love. The closeness you feel with God, as a result, is unlike anything I can explain. It’s no surprise then, that as soon as I returned, I was already planning my next trip.

    In 2015 I went on my second trip to Haiti with HPUMC, and in 2016, I quickly signed up for my third five months in advance. But even though I loved my time in Haiti, this time something didn’t feel the same.

    Over the next few days, I had a constant nagging feeling that God was calling me in a different direction. For some reason, I felt like this time I was supposed to go to Costa Rica.

    I’d thought about going to Costa Rica with HPUMC before, but the amount of manual labor intimidated me. I wasn’t sure that I would be much help on a trip like that. But the more I thought about it, I knew it was where God was calling me to go.

    Now I know why.

    I wish I could say that when I first laid eyes on the man who would become my husband, it was love at first sight. It wasn’t.

    Both of us came to serve, and we worked alongside each other at the Methodist Children's Home for the week. We made small talk while twisting rebar. We shared our thoughts about the day during nightly devotionals. We played and joked around with the children of the Methodist Home after they got out of school.

    Towards the end of the week, it was clear that this was a successful trip. Much progress had been made on the new Recreation Center at the Children's Home, and our team had bonded over sweat and sweet moments with each other.

    It wasn’t until the very last night that it actually happened; my now husband and I shared a conversation. It wasn’t a life-changing conversation, or even a soul exposing one. But in that moment talking to him, I felt that feeling. The kind of feeling you only get when all other things in your life are set aside and you are focused only on God's love. In that moment, I felt that closeness to God, with him.

    A week later, after we returned to Dallas, we went on our first date. 364 days later, we were married by the very same leader who served on the mission trip to Costa Rica where we met.

    Looking back I can say that Highland Park United Methodist Church provided a place for our love to develop and grow.

    Each Sunday after Cornerstone, we share questions and thoughts about the sermon. Occasionally, we serve as greeters together welcoming members and guests as they come to worship. One time we took a Sunday trip to serve lunch at Church at the Square. Now we’re regular volunteers there, too.

    Serving gives us a chance to cultivate our love for mission work, do it together and more often in our own backyard. It has strengthened our relationship with God and with each other.

    Each day I am filled with such love for this person God has brought to me. Our marriage is a reminder of the beautiful plan God has in store for us, if only we listen and trust him.

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