Many of my friends have been asking me for more details since I started posting pictures with a mystery man and later announced our engagement. I haven’t really ever been one to give a play by play of my life (it’s not that interesting) especially on Facebook, so I just let my words be few.
But now I feel like it’s time to share more and so I shall try!
For a really long time, my heart cry has been “God help me write my life well!” When I was 17 I wrote in my journal under “Desires of my Heart”:
“I want to fulfill all the purposes God has for my existence. To go everywhere He asks me to go and nowhere that He doesn’t take me.”
I also wrote that I wanted to be a nurse and a missionary as well as a wife and mother, if that was what God had for me.
In some ways it doesn’t seem that long ago that I was 17 writing those words. In other ways it seems like a hundred lifetimes ago. If I knew the things then that I know now… If I had a clue how long my season of singleness would be, would I have made the same decisions with such confidence? I can’t say for sure but I am glad that God didn’t tell me all that lay ahead, but He always let me know exactly what I needed for that day’s journey!
I had no idea when I wrote out the desires of my heart that I would also be a midwife and that delivering babies would bring such incredible joy to my life! God has given me more than I knew to desire, and He’s given me the desires that have lead me to the most purpose and fulfillment. In the 12 years that I have spent in full time ministry, I have trusted God through all the seasons. I KNOW that I KNOW that He knows my heart better than I do and He faithfully always gives good gifts.
Andrew is one such good gift. We met last year at my home church in Vero Beach, FL. God has done much in writing my story in that particular church building. It’s just a building but it’s a place I have encountered my God time and again, felt His presence, heard His call and tasted His goodness. So it was there that God connected our paths and shortly thereafter He connected our hearts.
Words definitely fail me in trying to describe my heart’s journey since God brought this tall Americano into my life. My mom likes to call him that because years ago in a Starbucks in Manila (YES there are Starbucks in Manila!) she was with me when the barista called out “Tall Americano for Naomi!” and I answered under my breath “I wish!” There were definitely days when I felt weary of being single but those days I fought hard to keep the main thing the main thing, and God enabled me to really not focus much on what I didn’t have or how alone I was but to be FULLY HIS and enjoy the adventure with him as my companion.
Andrew and I established a friendship and about a month later we went on our first date. The song that was on when we walked into the restaurant was “Brave” By Sara Bareilles. The funny thing is God was speaking to me through it. He wanted to see me be brave. He knew that it took more bravery for me to open up my heart to Andrew than it did for me to do many of the things that people might say were “brave”. I literally felt God’s presence just like He was sitting in the chair beside me and walking on my right side as Andrew and I walked the beach that night. Even though falling in love was new to me, so much of what was happening felt familiar. I have often felt God taking me somewhere unknown but He has always assured me that He is leading, so I follow.
Andy really makes me laugh and brings me joy in depths and ways I have never before experienced. I have been a nomad for all of my adult life and it has been difficult at times to not have a place on earth to call home. Andrew feels like home, and I am overwhelmed by this gift. The heart connection Andy and I have is an eternal one; God has made that very clear to both of us.
Andy has a degree in criminal justice and is a man of integrity with a protector’s heart and a passion for justice; he has walked with Jesus as long as he can remember.
In this beautiful spot on March 6th when I was still jet lagged and easy to catch off guard, Andrew got down on his knee and asked me to be his wife and I said “Yes!” without hesitation! Andy proposed at the exact same spot his father proposed to his mother 32 years ago.
Many of you have asked me if I will still be a missionary now that I am getting married. The answer to that is a resounding “YES!”.
In the 8 years since Safe Refuge was founded we have journeyed to a place where we currently have 50+ lives depending on us every day. It’s taken this long to get to where our national staff is 100% dependent on God and each other and not dependent on me in their day to day, except financially.
I am currently responsible to raise everything for all of our daily functions. So I have been given the opportunity to share with people all over the country about Safe Refuge and at the same time, challenge the future generation in universities, churches, and homes to hear the call of God and obey! It’s such an amazing adventure!
When I am in the U.S. I am still daily in contact with Safe Refuge staff. I get to see their faces and hear their voices over FaceTime.
So this is where we are right now, we will come and go from the Philippines as God directs, and I will continue on as the International Director for Safe Refuge. We are excited to see where God leads us next in our journey.
So I think that’s all for now folks! Thanks for being a part of my story, I definitely have the best friends on this planet, you are beautiful genuine people who make this world a better place and challenge me to be who God called me to be!
Blessings and love,
On September 5th, 2015 we will start the next part of our journey together as we say our vows in the same place we met!