I paced up and down O.R. Thambo Airport for several hours without sitting down to rest. I knew as soon as I sat down I'd probably see Julie walking towards me, and I wanted her to know I was pursuing her—not sitting around, lazily waiting for her to find me. But eventually, I gave in.
I was exhausted and found a seat next to an elderly lady. Being the chatty young lad I am, we struck up a conversation, and I told her of the love story that was unfolding. Soon after I began my storytelling, I saw what I'd been searching for all day. A group of 50 backpack-carrying, sandal-wearing, hippie-like Americans (and Jan, the German Racer) approaching from straight ahead. I stopped mid-sentence to scan the large departure hall, and of course, Julie was one of the last Racers to file in.
By the time she and I hugged, I'd already greeted the likes of Steve Buffington, Daniel Castillo and Kyle Stinnett—all awesome guys who I'd built relationships with two months prior in Nelspruit.
Even though Julie and I had less than five minutes to talk one-on-one, I was in a fairytale-esque atmosphere for the entire three hours she was at the airport. The woman I'd been longing to be with was within my reach, and she remained there until we gave each other our standard goodbye—a quick hug and a handshake/thumb-grab—before saying farewell. We weren't sure when we'd see each other again, but both of us had a strong feeling that it'd be soon after she finished her last three months on the World Race.
Watching Julie walk through the security checkpoint that day was a difficult moment for me. It was over. My whimsical expedition had come to an end.
Or had it?
I grabbed a shuttle service to my guesthouse, had dinner then settled down for the night. It'd been a long day—a successful one at that. As I laid in bed, a strange feeling came over me. God is up to something. The thought was ringing in my head when I closed my eyes, and it still was when I rose the next morning.
What could God possibly do in such a short amount of time? I was riding a shuttle to the airport then flying two hours to Cape Town. In four hours, I'd be home. But a couple of weeks later, I received my answer… "A LOT!" God can do so much with so little as long as we remain open and obedient.
There was a couple sitting behind me on my 20-minute shuttle ride to the airport. I felt somewhat intimidated by both of them, so initially, I didn't make any effort to strike up a conversation. That's unlike me. But after a few minutes, I felt the Lord prompting me to just be myself. I spun around on a dime and engaged Sean, Mel and Theresa (Mel's mom) in conversation.
Sean and Mel are from South Africa, but they currently live and work in Dubai. Sean is a doctor of complimentary medicine and a co-founder of The Wellness Bro's. Mel is a personal trainer. And they were making their way to Cape Town to celebrate Theresa's birthday.
We got chatting about my occupation at the time (diamond diving), which naturally led into sharing about the opportunity I'd been given to intern with a non-profit in Baton Rouge. The opportunity would, however, require that I walked away from my job as a diamond diver.
Once we arrived at the airport, Sean and Mel asked if I'd join them for breakfast, and although I'd already eaten, I took them up on the offer. Our conversation revolved around Jesus and how He'd changed all of our lives. It was an unforgettable morning!
Two days later, I received a message from Sean saying that he and Mel felt called to be a part of my trip to the States. I had no idea what to expect. And that day, with open hearts, we sat and enjoyed a lunch at Canal Walk in Cape Town. We continued laying the foundation for a solid relationship, and I was taken aback by the genuineness of my new friends.
Remember… one month prior God said to me, "If you’re going to pursue My will, you’re going to have to trust in My provision." Well, I trusted, and a few days after I met Sean and Mel in Johannesburg, I resigned from my job.
Once Sean and Mel arrived back in Dubai, they sent me an email stating that they wanted to financially support my trip to Baton Rouge. They pledged the exact amount I needed to raise. It was the most incredible blessing of provision. I often think back to moments like that one—when I tangibly saw God providing and paving ways for me to live the life He's called me to.
Another huge thanks to you, Sean and Mel, for your obedience in supporting me in a significantly important season of my life. You were often an encouragement when I needed it most. And at the time, I don't think any of us quite realized the impact those months would eventually have on us.
God really pulled through for me (on a mammoth-sized scale) as I prepared for the States. I remember feeling restless one afternoon before heading up to the mine. I felt the Lord telling me to message my Norwegian friends, Mr. T and Cathrine, and to tell them about the internship. Within minutes, they responded. They said they thought it was a great idea and that they'd pay for my airfare!
I couldn't believe what I was reading. Everything was coming together, and at some point I had to stop and ask myself, "OK, God. Where does my relationship with Julie fit into all of this?" It was clear that He had me on a mission of purpose, and my only job was to be obedient.
It was mid-September. Julie was a couple weeks into ministry in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and it was time to tell her the fantastic news. By the grace of God, I'd be heading to Baton Rouge, Louisiana in November. In three months time, we'd be back in the same country. This time, the United States of America.
To read our full story, please visit our Love Story page.
Today, Julie and I feel called to the only two countries we've been to together—South Africa and the U.S. Fancy that. As YEBO Life missionaries, we currently host missions trips to South Africa and young adults retreats in South Africa and the U.S. We believe in the power of cross-cultural experiences—in stepping out of your comfort zone and into the unknown. If you're interested in an upcoming missions trip or retreat, please contact us for more details.