Tuesday, July 22, 2008

God's Faithfulness!

I'm engaged to Sybrand de Swardt!!!!!!

Many of you already know but in case you haven't heard, God has brought a wonderful godly man into my life and we are getting married on January 17th in Cape Town, South Africa.

The ring-

This is the view from where we got engaged in Kruger National Park last week. It was Olifants (Elphant) Camp in the park. It was an amazing site we looked down on.

A picture of the two of us from earlier in the day.

The first picture of us as an engaged couple. Sorry for the shadows.

The Story:

My dad teaches counseling courses in Grace School of Ministry in Pretoria four times a year. The classes started October 2006 with pastors and others coming to attend the classes for a week at a time. At the end of the March class, my dad realized that one of the men in the class was a single pastor. He mentioned it in passing at the end of the week to my mom and me. I found it kind of funny. I mean the guy lived in a small town outside of Cape Town. How was I going to meet him?

Well, while my dad was completely innocent in the next part of the story, my mom did a little scheming. She decided that it would be a good idea to invite the whole class over for dinner the next time the class met in October. She figured that way we would have a chance to meet. Once again, I found it all funny. I mean what was going to come of it. He wasn't going to meet me and want to date me.

So, that October about 50 to 60 people came over for dinner. We were introduced but it ended there that evening. I had come to the place in life where I really thought God had meant for me to be single. I even said that to my mother at the end of the evening. I wasn't upset about it but rather really wondered if I wasn't more effective in my ministry single then I would be married. I was content with where God had me. I loved my life and ministry. (Interestingly enough, Sybrand was at the same point in his life and thinking as well.)

(As an aside, the other part of the story I only found out later was that the summer before my mom had prayed faithfully every day while she did some physical therapy on her neck that involved being on her knees for an half hour a day that God would send me a godly husband. Amazing isn't it?)

Well, she gave it one more try and at the end of the November class had everyone over for dinner as well. It was at the end of the evening when Sybrand came into the room I was in. He was looking for the person he had come with to tell them it was time leave. He sat on the opposite side of the table from me and began talking to a couple sitting beside him. My mom and sister-in-law came in about that time and sat beside him and began talking to him. I knew I better join in the conversation or else I would be in trouble :). So, I joined in.

We began to talk and as we did the others around us began to disappear. It wasn't a long conversation but it was nice. During it, he invited me down to Cape Town about three times. I didn't think much of it. Most South Africans want to show visitors their part of the country. My mom asked me what I thought after and I told her it I thought he was really nice but what was going to come of it? What I only found out later was that Sybrand went home and couldn't sleep after we met. I'll let him tell that part sometime.

That next week he wrote my dad and asked him for my contact information. I was sooo impressed with that. I knew there were other ways he could have gotten it but to go through my dad scored big points in my book! The next day (which was Friday) I heard from him for the first time. I kept thinking this is so different. There was no doubt that he was the one doing the pursuing and it was so wonderful to have it that way. We began writing and in the middle of December I went down for a long weekend.

It was a wonderful weekend. I think we talked almost every minute we were together. Its been an interesting, sanctifying journey since then. I certainly have realized I am a lot more sinful then I ever thought! But God has been so good to us and while we grow in holiness he has also knit our hearts together in a way that only He can. I know I am far better with Sybrand then I am without him in every way.
This last week we spent a few days in the Kruger National Park visiting a pastor friend and seeing animals. Wednesday we left the house at about 5am to get in the park early. We drove way up that day to a part called Olifants (Elephants). We walked all over the site. I couldn't figure out why. We finally came to this very quiet section with a wonderful view. We sat down and looked for a while. Then we prayed together. Earlier as we had walked around, Sybrand had shared the significance this site had had in his life while a child. He mentioned he thought it was an appropriate place for a new beginning. As we sat there, he gave me a small box with an amazing ring in it and we soon became an engaged couple.

Please pray for us as we enter this new stage in life. Pray that God would help us to glorify Him as we prepare for marriage.

Posted by Picasa


GreenEggsandSam said...

great cliff notes! thanx for sharing it! Praise the LORD and I hope it's the beginning of great ministry (to each other and to the needy world).

Holly said...

Blessed be the name of the Lord! I actually got a little choked up as I read because I marvel again at the Lord's impeccable timing and faithfulness. I'm so happy for you!

Jen & Conrad said...

Oh Beth, I would give anything to be there right now so I could give you a hug. I feel that way everytime I think about you being engaged and how many times we prayed for you and how God has now answered. If I could somehow shrink the miles between Canada and SA, I would be in Jo'burg right now. What a great story....I'm so glad to hear the ending! Isn't Kruger incredible! I think we have that exact same picture of Olifants. :)
Love ya, Jen

Karla Walker said...

What a great story! I'm so happy for you. I can see totally see you thinking that nothing would come of it. Who knew when we were at Calvary Bible the your husband was in South Africa!!!! God is good.

Ann Bradley said...

A Godly man and a romantic to boot! God is Good!

Anonymous said...

How exciting! God's way is always beyond our wildest dreams. May your joy and love increase for the glory of our Lord.

sandy said...

BTW I really like your ring. Very pretty.

The Mom said...

My name is Terah and I was a secretary in the Local Outreach Department at GCC until last year. I still get the missionary updates because I love to keep up with you all, and the news of your engagement was so special to hear!

Congratulations Beth!

Amanda said...

Yay!!! I'm so excited for you Beth! :0) I love how happy you both look in all the pictures. And I loved reading the story!

gina said...

Beth, we are both thrilled for you. Thanks for sharing God's great blessing with us.

Anonymous said...

I "met" you in 2004 at the Calvary Bible Women's Retreat where you were teaching. I spoke briefly with you and somewhere in our conversation I asked if you were married to which you replied "No" and later said..."but I would like to be someday." Out of a grateful heart for your teaching I began to ask God, as He brought you to mind over the years, that He might give you a husband if it pleased Him. Now...here you are! So all this to say that some lady you don't even know from Calvary Bible is praising the Lord with you!!! Tara, Calvary Bible

lmngirls said...

Wow, never underestimate the prayers of a faithful mother. I know that my mom's prayers for me were heard many times even when I didn't realize she was praying certain things for me. I loved reading your story! I'm so happy for you both!

sandy said...

Had a good time with your mom. She is like a breath of fresh air!!! Selling all I own to come to Capetown. May not be a round trip ticket!! LOL Can I just move into your house in Jburg. LOL Right now I am watching a tv show on Capetown. They are at an animal preserve, Mentioned table mountain. It is so pretty. ttyl

Sandhya said...

Congratulations! Christina forward me to your blog so I could read your sweet engagement story...it is so exciting! What a wonderful answer to prayer...your family must be so excited! Marriage is such a gift and a blessing that we can never take for granted.


Jayme Solomon said...

Congratulations Beth. I'm so happy for you both. I'm an old TMC student (Jayme Hettema) that lived in the dorm when you were the RA. Many blessings on your new life together.

Rachael Starke said...

Hey Beth - I just had to read your story after I saw your picture with that great looking guy. So, so, SO happy for you! How wonderful to become a permanent part of such a wonderful culture and wonderful people... Praise the Lord!

Love, Rachael (Horner) Starke

Chris and Michelle said...

I love it! I love it! I love it!

Beth, Chris and I are overjoyed and we praise God for His amazing goodness to you!

Love you lots and lots!

Anonymous said...

Hey Beth and Sybrand,

We are so excited about seeing you guys soon. Did I ever tell you about Nasson who is that ABC student. He continued to ask about your relationship with Sybrand. I haven't seen him to tell him that you are engaged. He will be delighted, just as we are! God is good all the time! Love you guys both. Bied and Nita

rosemarie said...

What a wonderful blessing for you and for all of us, really. God's timing and providence in all things is amazing. God has been keeping you on my mind and heart and I am so glad I stopped by your blog for such a wonderful update!

Melissa said...

Congratulations and many blessings. What a wonderful testimony of the Lord's faithfulness!

theotherone said...

I don't even know you, but found your site through the Scroggins page, (I went to Master's) this is such a great encouragement to me, as I am single, and trusting God in all His purposes for me regarding singleness or marriage!

GreenEggsandSam said...

Hey! I just got your comment about diving in SA AND coming to your wedding!
I would love to do both, trust me!
And, yes, the diving is supposed to be great...one of the things I would see are great whites! yikes!
Well, if the LORD drops a cool
$4-5k in the next couple months I would certailny consider it!!! :)

Matt Morgan said...

Awesome news, Beth. Congrats!! Sorry I'm just now getting around to hearing about it. I couldn't help but chuckle a bit reading about your contentment in being single, because that was exactly what happened to me some 3 1/2 years ago. Sure enough, the Lord brought her along! Amazing how that works, eh?

Blessings to you both.