(from August, 2008)
As many of you already know, the story of our relationship spans almost as many time zones as it does years. The distance is something neither of us would have chosen, but something which we have come to appreciate as God has shown Himself merciful each day. Our relationship has been dotted with joyful reunions, tearful and heart-wrenching goodbyes, long phone conversations, and, of course, many bouts of frustrating phone tag. In light of this, we [were] excited to see this chapter of our lives ending and [are enjoying] being together once and for all.
The story of our journey began in the fall of 2004 when we were both in the country of Romania. Elizabeth and I ended up on the same school team, teaching and ministering together in the public schools of Bucharest, the capital city. It was my third semester of teaching in Romania and her first. Elizabeth had visited Romania during the spring semester that same year, but because we happened to be in different cities at the time, our paths never crossed.
I remember developing a very keen interest in Elizabeth during those three months and, all though she has yet to admit it, I have the suspicion that she felt the same for me. It was during those few months that we had the opportunity to see each other as we really are. Day in and day out, the good and the bad. And I can tell you from my perspective, I liked what I saw.
[Elizabeth: "Keen interest? Of course! How could I not? But I kept putting that aside, keeping in mind that John was 22, I was only 18, and even though I enjoyed his company, liked and respected him alot, there was no indication he felt the same toward me. I knew our paths would probably never cross again, and that I needed to keep my heart free. That was extreemly difficult, as John and I were together every day. I talked to God about it daily, sometimes many times a day."]
It was very difficult for me to leave Romania at the end of that semester for two reasons. The first being that God had told me it would be my last, and secondly, and the more relevant reason, was that I was leaving her. I did not realize how much I had fallen in love with Elizabeth during that semester until I was waiting in line to go through the security check point at the airport, trying to fight back the tears. I had found the woman of my dreams, but God was making it clear that the time had not yet come.
Elizabeth stayed in Romania for another semester before returning home in the spring of 2005. We stayed in touch through occasional e-mails and letters over the next year or so. It was during the middle of 2006 that our relationship was taken off life support and started to show signs of life again. E-mails became more frequent and took on a more purposeful nature.
In late October, 2006, my dad started encouraging me to "get moving," because I was "only getting older." He then said something that shocked me, "What about the girl that was on your team in Romania?" That was the only hint I needed; I knew God was moving and the time had come. So, with much prayer and consideration, I called Mr. Jacobsen about two weeks before Christmas. I asked him, out of the blue, for permission to start courting Elizabeth. He took a few days to pray about it, and to my surprise, called back three days later with an emphatic yes!
Shortly thereafter, Elizabeth and I started talking on the phone and communicating by e-mail on a daily basis. We quickly learned how important communication is in a marriage relationship, and before very long we were spending three and sometimes four hours on the phone every night. I flew out to California in mid-February of this year to visit and meet her family, and then again in mid-May. By the end of May, it had become apparent to me that this was truly the woman for me! On June 30th, 2007, I asked Mr. Jacobsen for permission to ask Elizabeth to marry me. As you all know now, he said yes!
Then came the waiting. Since Elizabeth and part of her family were planning on coming out to Indiana in August, I decided to wait the two months and propose to her then. As you have already read in the previous post, breakfast in the park was a smashing success! This joyous excitement was short lived as Elizabeth and her family had to return to Fresno a few days later.
Today, although three time zones continue to separate us, Elizabeth and I are preparing for what lies ahead, thankful for the time we have had together, and grateful for loving parents who have supported and encouraged us throughout this amazing journey. To God be the glory!
The ProposalOn August 18th, 2007, after nearly nine months of courting, I surprised Elizabeth by getting on my knee and asking her to marry me during a special sunrise picnic in a local park. Although Elizabeth knew ahead of time that we were going on a picnic, she did not know that I had asked Mr. Jacobsen for her hand in marriage a month before.
Everything went as planned. David, my twin brother, perfectly placed the Adirondack love-seat that I had built for Liz, just as we had rehearsed the day before. As we walked up behind the chair, I looked at Liz and said, “I don’t think we need that blanket anymore.” She looked at me in shock!
As we walked around to the front, Elizabeth noticed the red roses lying softly against the white paint of the love-seat and she blushed. I explained that I had built the love-seat for her and encouraged her to sit on it. As she did so, I knelt down and on one knee, presented her with a ring box and asked her to open it. She opened it with trembling hands (mine were shaking too) to which I said, “Elizabeth, will you marry me?” With tears in her eyes and streaming down her glowing face, she said, “Yes, yes I will” with a big smile!
We enjoyed a breakfast of muffins, strawberries and whipped cream, juice, and, of course, coffee as we watched the sunrise. [Elizabeth: Somehow we managed to stretch a sunrise picnic all the way to 10:30. And, even though John had packed such a lovely breakfast, we hardly touched it! After the ring was on my hand and we had had a bit of the coffee and juice, John got down by my feet again and pulled out a bowl of warm water. As he washed my feet he told me how much he loved me, how he wanted to love me and lead me as Christ did the church. It made me cry all over again.] It was truly a wonderful and memorable time that we will both cherish for a long time to come.
On June 15th, 1986 (Father's Day!) in Clovis, California, Lizzie was born to Tim and Jane Jacobsen as their second of five "blessings". Early in her childhood, the family relocated to Fresno County, outside of Sanger. Elizabeth enjoyed the freedom of country living, and developed a love for the beauty of the outdoors and things that grow (especially flowers).
Lizzie's parents have encouraged her to cultivate a personal relationship with Christ, and this led to a developing passion for serving and ministering to others. She has also had opportunities to work with children in a local after-school program, as well as participate in several overseas mission trips.
It was on a trip to Romania in the fall of 2004 that she met a certain young man named John Smillie. He was the leader of the team she was on, and, over the course of three months, a warm friendship was formed. Of course, the fact that he was incredibly handsome might have helped motivate that friendship ........ :)
Born in Long Beach, California, on July 26th, 1982, John is the oldest of eight children. He moved to Colorado in 1990 with his family, where he graduated high school in the Spring of 2000, and spent most of his “growing up” years enjoying the great outdoors of the Rocky Mountains.
In 2002, John started working with Life Focus, a young men’s discipleship program based in Indianapolis, Indiana. This wonderful opportunity has allowed him to spend time ministering to several hundred young men, serve in Moscow, Russia, and also in the country of Romania.
It was while in Romania, during the fall semester of 2004, that John met the beautiful and charming Elizabeth Jacobsen. They both served on the same school team, teaching a character education program and English as a second language. And thus, their relationship began.
John graduated Louisiana Baptist University with degrees in counseling and communication, in the spring of 2007. He currently works as Meat team leader in a local Sam’s Club.