Labor Day week-end five years ago was so exciting for our family. We were having a wedding! Our son had spent time in Africa in school and had fallen in love. Not something we expected when we sent him there for an adventure! She became his Swahili tutor, and soon became much more.
He came home and she stayed there for her senior year of college. He went back for her graduation and brought her to America. There is a very long story in between these two sentences, including the hiring of an immigration attorney, fighting with the American Embassy in Kenya, sending endless documents proving their legitimate relationship (that she wasn't just coming to America to "live the good life" and would divorce him shortly thereafter), struggling with more issues at the embassy, finally receiving a fiancee visa for her to come. They had to be married within 90 days of her arrival in the U.S.
She lived with us, he moved into an apartment on campus where he would attend school a few miles north of us. We spent many hours getting acquainted, planning the wedding, shopping for the wedding, and all of the things the mother of the bride normally does. Unfortunately, her mom didn't get in on any of it. They weren't even able to attend. Her dad sent a wonderful message that was read as my son's uncle "gave the bride away." They recited their vows in Swahili as my brother officiated the ceremony.
The wedding was lovely. The marriage struggled. They, and we, have been to hell and back in the last five years. We are so grateful to God that they are still married and that life is on its way up once again.
This is our prodigal that you have prayed for and welcomed home. He told me this week that they are enjoying each other so much again - they have literally had to start over.
Only the grace of God has brought them and us to this point. I asked her once if she wouldn't like to forget he ever existed and go back to Africa. She said, "Oh, no, I made a commitment!" She has stuck with him through thick and very, very thin. She lived with us, worked full time, and went to school while he was at Teen Challenge. She has another degree ALMOST under her belt - she'll graduate again later this month. He is going to school again, having maintained a 3.7 or above gpa in spite of all the trauma of his life.
Praise God with us!