Engagement Stories: Anna & Ian

Ian_Anna

Boundless has been such an encouragement to me. I came across your site after going through a tough break-up situation and immediately shared the link with my best friend, Becca, who was going through a similar situation.

When I discovered Boundless, Becca and I were miles apart. She was working at an orphanage in Africa, and I was a missionary in Slovakia. The Internet connection on both ends was faulty at best, but there was a time when we were Skyping that Becca started telling me about a cute, sweet British guy who’d visited the place where she lived and how much he fulfilled her list of “godly man I could marry” qualifications.

Then a year passed. Becca and the Brit became closer and closer friends.

In fall 2010, we both found ourselves at home: Becca had moved back for good, and I was on furlough. During this time, I began to feel my singleness acutely. I was in my mid-20s and had always imagined I’d be married by this point in my life, yet I didn’t have any real prospects on the horizon.

My parents encouraged me to leave Slovakia since I’d begun to worry that the cultural differences might be too great between me and someone from there to have the sort of marriage I wanted. I prayed about it, though, and I knew God was telling me to go back. I felt I was giving up my biggest dream in life, but somehow I knew it was right.

Meanwhile, in January 2011, Tim (the Brit) visited Becca and made their relationship official. Six days after he left, she and I planned a two-week trip to England. Several Boundless podcasts and countless games of Angry Birds later, our plane touched down in the land of tea, hard “biscuits” and real-life princes. 

After the first week of castles, scones and chilly walks on the beach, we went out one night to meet some of Tim’s friends. One of them seemed interested in me. He even went so far as to break into my conversation with someone else. 

Something about the guy (Ian) stuck in my brain — or was it my heart? I pushed him out again, having had enough experience with being “led on” to fill two lifetimes. I did a good job of forgetting Ian until Tim and Becca invited him to go to the mall with us one day.

I started the day feeling awkward, like I was being set up (which I was). By the end of the day, however, I was filled with this feeling I’d never really had before. The only way I can describe it is to call it “excited peace.” Ian was so different from the flirt-and-leave guys I was used to. Calm, attentive and deeply interested in me, he had started off this day with my favorite conversation starter, “So, tell me all about you, Anna.”

Best of all, Ian loved Jesus.

I could hardly sleep that night, filled with joy and an overwhelming sense that this was right, good and safe.

The day after the mall trip, Ian and Tim had arranged for me to meet Ian in London and go to church there before I left the country early the following morning. After church, we went to dinner before he took the bus home that night. As we were waiting for him to board the bus, he pulled me out of the “queue” and found the courage to say, “Look, I really like you. I want you to move countries so I can get to know you better.”

I was speechless. “Well, um, I don’t usually not know what to say, but that sounds nice,” I mumbled. He took this as a “yes.” 

I immediately started calculating how soon I could move closer to him. I’d committed to the next six months in Slovakia. After that, I could leave, but should I abandon my “calling” as a missionary so quickly?

In the following weeks, Ian visited me in Slovakia, and we officially started dating. Ian was the answer to more prayers than anyone else in my life ever had been. I knew already, though I wouldn’t dare admit it to anyone except God, that I was falling in love and he was the man I wanted to marry. 

No decision that big is ever easy, but three months later when I came to the UK for Tim and Becca’s wedding, Ian told me that he loved me. My parents had also come over from America for the wedding, and they loved meeting Ian.

Six weeks later, he paid for me to visit him. My first night there, we had dinner with his parents and then drove outside town to a gorgeous green hill that overlooked his town and the surrounding area. When we reached the top, he turned to me and said, “Proverbs 18:22 says that he who finds a wife finds a good thing and finds favor with the Lord.” My heart jumped into my mouth as I knew there was only one reason he’d be saying this. I held the umbrella for him as he got down on one knee in the mud and asked me to be his wife. 

A month later we boarded a bus in Slovakia and transported all my stuff across Europe to his hometown in England. I stayed with his family for three weeks before returning to the U.S. to get my visa. Exactly two months after my return to England, we were married in his beautiful old Gothic-style home church. 

God has been so good to us. And Boundless has certainly been a conduit of His grace and, most of all, wisdom.

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