Our Story told by Emily:
Jonah and I met Summer 2012 while on a mission trip to Mexico. It was my third summer and his first, but let me back up a little....
A few months before Jonah and I met, I was at my last straw with relationships. After being disrespected, cheated on, pressured, lied to... I was done. done. and done. with that lifestyle. I knew that if I was going to be obedient that I had to stop focusing on relationships that were hurting me and holding me back, and start focusing on how I could better seek a relationship with God. I promised him that I wouldn't date anyone unless he was put in front of my face and said that he wanted to move to Mexico with me and be a missionary. (fat chance right? wrong.) Fast forward to July 2012...
I went to Mexico for the third summer with Christ Central, Lifepoint, and Bayview. The project I worked on for the week was digging in some super hard rocky caliche to level the land and prepare for a house to be built in the coming weeks. This is where Jonah and I met: I was doing hard, dirty work and I didn't have gloves so Jonah lent me his, making that the first time of many that he took care of me. We spent the week talking, serving, sharing, etc. I was glad to have made such a good friend. I admired his love for the children and sensitivity to poverty. We worked alongside each other all week and I had no idea he would be my future husband.
When we got home, we both had a rough patch and turned to each other for guidance. I always trusted him and felt safe sharing but didn't know why. After a while of having a great friendship, Jonah asked me out to dinner to get to know me better: Mexican food and a walk in the park! He pursued me in the most respectful way possible. On our first date, Jonah told me he wanted to move to Mexico when he graduated. (Ok God, here is a boy, you put right in front of me, saying he wants to move to Mexico, I'm listening.)
We continued to see each other at church small group and go on dates. Then he went to Mexico in November for his second trip and came back with some surprises! A few things from the kids, and this beautiful ring on the right with two simple words. I promise. That day we made a promise to each other that we wouldn't give up, we would seek the Lord's plan for our lives and follow him where he lead us. After that, we finally made it official with a beautiful formal with my AOII sisters. We really believed this was the real deal, but we kept that to ourselves for a while.
The next two years were spent laughing, crying, adventuring, finishing school, dating, falling in love, making more trips to Mexico, and we slowly began to share future plans with friends and family!
The next year we made plans, actual plans, to move! So surreal. We graduated, spoke at churches, raised money, apartment hunted, and made the move!
After four months of living in Texas, Jonah Proposed! In October 2014, Jonah planned a birthday party for himself in Mexico and we made spaghetti for the colonia. With everyone there, we sang happy birthday. Jonah had disappeared behind me when I noticed the kids telling me to look! He was down on one knee. I couldn't help but tear up, and of course I said yes! It was perfect!
We got married on April 25, 2015 and I couldn't have asked for a more beautiful wedding. We returned to the RGV ready to take on the mission field as a married couple! Jonah decided to pursue a career as EMT, so he went to school Fall of 2015 and 2016/2017 and now has his EMT Intermediate.
This field is such a blessing for us as it provides flexibility and finances for us to continue mission work together. Right now, I am a full time wife, missionary, online English Teacher, and Mommy to James Woodman Riley! We welcomed him into the world on January 28, 2017 and look forward to raising him doing ministry as a family!
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