I Am Engaged! - The Proposal Story

Surprise! Seems a bit out of left field, given that I have been living in Africa for the past year, but you never know where life will take you.

Cozy up, cuz this post is a goodie!

I officially decided to move to Malawi in late spring of 2009 and committed to serving as a teacher at ABCCA for two years. I was 31 at the time and getting married and having kids was definitely on my bucket list. However, teaching in Malawi would definitely limit that from happening any time soon, but I prepared to let down my long list of suitors gently I have a track record of embracing unique opportunities that would be near impossible in a relationship. What opportunities were those? Oh, you know, like … I’ll have to think about that one. Truth is, I was everyone’s favorite single gal pal. Traveling the globe for two years when everyone else seemed to think it was time to settle down was totally logical, all things considered. I had wanted to do this for years and now was my chance. I said “I do” to Malawi and off I went. Actually, the big commitment was over a year before the move. Needless to say, a lot can happen in a year.

During the summer of 2009, I met David.

David and I hit it off better than either one of us expected. Seeing that we really enjoyed hanging out with each other, I dropped the “oh BTW I am moving to Africa for two years” bomb on him.. Surprisingly, he stuck around. While we had a great time together that year, I can tell you that our impending separation did complicate things. About a month before my departure we put an official expiration date on our relationship – the day I boarded the plane.

Those first couple of months were a bit tough adapting to a new culture, a new job, a new home, and moving on from a break up, but I knew everything would work out as it should. Ultimately, it was the peace and joy of Christ in me that allowed me to welcome my journey before me.

Ladies and gentleman, I am here to tell you that sometimes absence does makes the heart grow fonder. After a few months, David and I decided to re-evaluate our no relationship plan. Things had been good between us and maybe we could make two years apart work, somehow. To jump start our rekindled relationship, David hopped a plane to Malawi. That’s right! He flew 12,000 miles for over two days to hang out with little ol’ me. We went on safari in Zambia, schlepped through the markets of Lilongwe together, watched countless hours of sitcoms on DVD (Lilongwe isn’t the most exciting place), hiked Mkhoma and he even taught my taught my classes for a couple of days. For three glorious weeks we experienced Africa together.

How about my engagement story? I am getting there. Speaking of which, I am a practical gal and a busy gal that lives 12,000 miles away from her lovely San Diego home. If we were going to have a relationship, I made it very clear that a “bigger commitment” (wink, wink – nudge, nudge) would need to happen in the near future. I was assured that was part of the plan. Yes, I am a brat that ruins surprises. I knew a proposal was on the horizon.

So here we are, summer of 2011 and I am back in the USA. David and I are spending time together, he’s meeting my mid-west based family (ahem, asking my family for their blessing) and he’s making sure we schedule dates together (I had a lot of catching up to do with all my peoples during my short break). On one such date he surprised me with a trip to Palm Springs complete with an aerial tramway ride up Mount San Jacinto.

It’s lovely there overlooking the desert and, being at such a high altitude, much cooler.

We found a lovely spot with a great overlook and David started to set up a romantic picnic, but there were a lot of people near us who were enjoying the view, too.

So, we decided to find another spot to enjoy our picnic lunch. We were having a great time when a family of six plopped down beside us (BTW, plenty of space at this outlook point to spread out). And so we waited, and waited, and they just kept sitting there.

So, we finished our lunch and hiked again. We came across yet another lookout point, but this time it was small enough for us to have a quiet moment together. We were taking in the beautiful scenery and the warm air when it hit me – was this one of those elaborate moments where the guy wants you to think he’s going to propose, but doesn’t? {Sike!} To keep the proposal a total surprise, he later drops to one knee, pretending to tie his shoe, during a TV commercial break and then pops the big question. But, I digress.

While overlooking the desert, in one of my favorite SoCal spots, David dropped to one knee, pulled a ring out, and said some of the most beautiful words I’ve ever heard him say. I’d love to tell you what he said, but I don’t remember. I did manage to NOT look at the ring until he finished sharing his heart and I replied with a resounding “yes.” It was a wonderful day accompanied by a wonderful three stone, round cut, diamond engagement ring.


  1. Yeah!!! Yeah!!! Yeah!!! I am soooooooo excited for you. I'm so sorry I went AWOL while you were here. Crazy summer!! I'm so stoked for you guys. God is good!!!!

  2. SOOOOOOO happy for you Jen! When is the big day? Are you in SD now for good? Is he going back to Africa with you???

  3. Oh my freshman rookie!!! So happy for you! Is the wedding going to be in San Diego? We are down that way at least a couple times a year to see family. ;)


  4. I am back in Malawi without David. :( Wedding will be fall of 2012, hopefully.

  5. Amazing!!! I am so happy for you!! What a great story. I recall talking to you a bit about this before you left for the first year. What a joy that it worked out this way!! Big hugs xoxo

  6. God is always looking after you. Congratulations!!!!!!!

  7. Love the story! So glad I got to meet David this summer. Love you. Best Wishes!!!

  8. So so so so happy for you Jen!!! May this year fly by, so you'll be in his arms again soon.

  9. Congratulations Jen. I'm so happy for you! While you've been gone I met the man of my dreams and we got married on August 27th. He comes with four kids (age range 11-23) so we are a whole family. Isn't it amazing how things can change so quickly!
    Tracy Lawhon Parrott

  10. OMG! Jen!!! I love it! What a wonderful story!I'm so happy for you! God is so GOOD and so FAITHFUL!

    Now hurry back and start GROUP! LOL LOL



  11. Thank you Tracy and congrats to you and your recent wedding. Awesome!

  12. Minna, thank you and I definitely miss our women's Bible study group.