FabAfriq Magazine


How They Met

Jonathan: For anything worth having, one must pay the price. For the most part, the price is hard work, prayer, patience, self-sacrifice, dedication and love. It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon in February of 2010. A friend and I had gone to visit a mutual friend in Dudley, Birmingham. We were chatting together and looking through photo albums when a particular picture caught my eye. The girl in the photo was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. I asked, almost immediately and without thinking, who she was. My friend said she was called Antoinette and a friend of hers. I wanted to meet her and told my friend so. I asked if she would give me her number.  She couldn't; not without checking it was ok first. On the journey back to Leicester, I wouldn’t shut up about the girl in the picture. God must have spent a lot of time creating that piece of work, I blabbed.

Antoinette: He makes all things beautiful in His time. Luke 2:30
I was sat in my cosy little apartment on a quiet evening last February, when my phone rang. It was a close friend of mine and she had some news for me. “What news?” I asked. Another friend of hers had asked for my number. I was quite surprised. I asked why he wanted my number and if he was someone I had met before. I hadn't. He had seen my picture during a visit to hers and had gone a little crazy over me. After a few questions and a little rant about how much I hated blind dates, I agreed to let her give him my number. If he had indeed been that keen, what would it hurt? With my interest piqued, I could only imagine who he was.

Jonathan: From the moment I saw that picture, she was all I could think about. One evening, a few days later, my phone rang. I could see it was the friend I had been to visit. As I sat there looking at the phone, I wondered if she was calling with the phone number or rather, with news I wouldn’t be happy about. What if Antoinette had said no? Turns out, my prayers had not been in vain. I remember the elation at getting her number. I was distracted all day and couldn’t wait to get home and call her. It was quite late by the time I got in and I pondered the wisdom of calling at such a late hour. It seemed to me a tad disrespectful, calling a woman for the first time so late at night but this little voice kept telling me to go ahead; she was waiting for my call.

Antoinette: After giving my friend the go ahead to pass on my number, I’d been a little anxious, waiting for his call. He did call, quite late too but for some reason, it was ok. He was a gentleman and apologized for ringing late. We had been on the phone for an hour and 55 minutes when it dawned on me, I’d been talking too much. Thank goodness, he wasn't put off. He was a really good listener and I felt at ease sharing my thoughts with him. We spoke about my desire for spiritual growth and realised that was something we had in common.

Jonathan: Most people will probably say talking to someone for almost two hours is a bit too much for a first conversation. I loved it. It was certainly worth it and a great revelation to me. Her soft, tender voice would not let me say goodnight. Throughout our conversation we talked about our love for God and desire to grow spiritually. As fate would have it, we shared the same ambitions and desires. We had several conversations after that and then I decided it was time to step up a notch. I wanted to meet her.

Antoinette: What a night! I will live to remember it always. I could hear his charming voice, a deep bass, in my head. I got a little panicky and worried that I would not live up to his expectations. I tried to visualize what he would look like, imagining the person that went with the voice. A couple of days later, I saw a picture on facebook. I remember thinking to myself, "what a fiiiiiiine brother". I had fallen in love without meeting him.

Jonathan: We had seen pictures of each other and knew what the other sounded like. It was time to meet up and test what we felt. We had been communicating for a while and had become friendly; I proposed we went out on a date. I didn’t sleep a wink the night before. The what-ifs wouldn’t stop coming. I asked God to take control. I believe He knows what is best for His children.

Antoinette: Soon, it was date time. The night before, I had asked God to be my guide. I had butterflies in my tummy and they just wouldn’t go away.

Jonathan: The drive to Antoinette's only took an hour but it must have been the longest hour of my life. It wasn't an easy drive. I continued to pray she would be the same girl I saw in the picture. As soon as I saw her, boy-oh-boy! That little voice told me she was what I'd been looking for all my life. Without a doubt, I had found my soul mate.

Antoinette: Our first date went great. I went home that day and prayed some more, reflecting on God's promise. Things began to move faster than planned. I tried to avoid discussing him with my friends but pretty soon, I realized I had told most of my close friends about him. We went out on several dates and I remember feeling like it was a dream because everything was so beautiful. I remembered how faithful our God is and read through Psalms 27:13-14, which talks of the Goodness of God. He makes all things beautiful in His time and I said to my God, my eyes have seen Thine Salvation.

Jonathan: We spent some time getting to know each other better. We went on several dates and had a great time praying together. It was nice being with each other; there were no funny games - know what I mean? A year later, we were so much in love, we could barely go an entire day without talking to each other. I begun to ask myself lots of serious questions. The more I asked, the clearer the answers became. Antoinette had been a wonderful friend, prayer partner and lover. She had become the centre of my universe. Her tenderness didn't only sweep me off my feet, my kids too were captivated by her love and gentleness. I can now only live to glorify God, for His word says, "he that finds a wife, finds a good thing and obtains favour from God."

Antoinette: We became very comfortable with each other and talked about everything. We prayed together and sometimes worshipped in the same church. Like every other couple, on occasion, we had differences in opinion on some issues. Through it all, we loved God more and grew stronger in love.

The Proposal

Jonathan: Love is the only thing that makes the world go round and a life without love is like an ocean without a single fish. Love came my way when I needed it the most. There was no hesitatation in grabbing on to it. I felt genuine and true love when I met Antoinette. She has got everything any man could ever want from a woman. We’d been together about a year when I decided to take the next step and propose to her. The big question was how I would go about it without giving the game away.
Petit Pays ( a Cameroonian musician), said in one of his songs, "On ne perdent pas du temps avec une femme qu'on aiment, on l'epouse" [We don’t linger with a woman we love, we marry them].
I had found my soulmate; I wanted to ask her to marry me but I didn't know her ring size or taste. I figured, Belinda, Antoinette's closest friend, whom I could trust and confide in, would help. I shared my little secret. She provided all the information I needed and promised to keep her mouth shut.
Now I had what I needed, it was time to call my buddy and arrange a time to go shopping for the ring. It was difficult because I felt I had to offer my queen something beautiful and deserved. After a long search, I finally found one I loved.

The ring was ready but was I? Next, I had to think up a plan for the proposal. Antoinette loves watching movies, so I came up with the idea of surprising her at a movie theatre. Through utter coincidence, I found that a movie called "The Unstoppable" was being screened. Both Belinda and my brother-in-law call me "unstoppable" because once I start on a course, I don't give up until I finish.
After talking to the cinema officials, Belinda and I worked relentlessly to put the slides together. That took longer than expected. I bought some tickets and tasked Belinda with getting Antoinette to accompany her to the movies.
The stage was set. All we had to do was show up. I called Antoinette's brother but it was hard convincing him to come with me without divulging the details. He is a staunch Manchester United fan and his team had a match on. Belinda had figured out a way to get her buddy to the movies and I saw the girls come in during the previews. I asked Antoinette's brother to take refuge which confused him even more and prompted him to ask what exactly was going on. I told him I didn't want the ladies to sit with us because they talked too much. I was surprised when he bought that explanation.

Antoinette: I never thought I’d find a man as handsome and God fearing as my love, Jojo. He is one in a million. I feel secure and comfortable around him. Something kept telling me he'd make a good companion and I asked God if he was the right man for me. I saw all the signs and knew my prayers had been answered. Our God never fails but I cettainly didn’t expect a proposal so soon.
My buddy kept her mouth sealed. What a trusted friend. He who finds a faithful friend, finds treasure. I am blessed to have a friend in Belinda. She tricked me into going ring shopping to find out my ring size. Only a true friend would go the extra mile.
I can only imagine how upset my dear brother would have been. Just like him, I couldn't understand why Belinda had chosen a snowy Tuesday to go watch a movie. I was exhausted after a long day but she wouldn’t take no for an answer. I felt I had no choice but to join her.
Before we left, I sent my man a text to let him know. He asked why we had chosen to go to the movies on a work night. We exchanged messages the entire time and I was completely unaware he was there watching the same movie. When the movie ended, Belinda wanted to watch clips of the making of the movie. I thought she had gone a little cuckoo. She knew how tired I was but before I could voice my discontent, a picture of Jojo and I popped unto the screen. Just then I saw my man walking towards me and my brother behing him with a camera, taking pictures.

Jonathan: As soon as the picture of us appeared on the screen, I could tell from a distance how confused she was. I walked up to her, went down on one knee, mustered all the courage I had and popped the question.

Antoinette: I stood there, very confused, trembling and staring at the picture on the screen. I couldn’t read what was written on the picture but I heard Belinda ask if I was going to keep my man on his knees forever. Still struggling to read the text on the screen, I turned around and took hold of my man, intending of helping him to his feet. He grabbed me and asked me to marry him. I screamed, YES! and he slipped the ring unto my finger.

Jonathan: I have never seen Antoinette so confused and shaky. She could barely stand up. Everyone in the cinema, including the staff, came over say congratulations. God had healed our broken paths and set us on course for a life together and that day signified the beginning of the best days of our lives.
To God be the Glory.

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