From Across the Miles

“Distance is a test of love.  Many will fail for those who can’t withstand it, but for those who can, there’s only one answer – TRUE LOVE.”

Love had not knocked at Susie’s door until late November 2012.  From a long and winding road, she finally, opened that door where only love sacredly resides.

One wink from Kevin on July 9, 2012 and a wink back from Susie on the same day started their whole love ride story which took place in a Christian dating for free site where they were both regular members.  At that instance, they became friends and emailed each other every day.  Later on, they used the social media network for faster communication.  While they use Facebook and other free online and mobile apps like Skype and Viber, chatting became their everyday routine.

They managed to communicate even with an 8 hour time difference; Susie being in Israel and Kevin in Missouri.  And they even inserted it between their jobs.  Such friendship, don’t you think? In their conversation, they had not talked for few minutes only.  Oh yes, not even an hour!  They have stretched their chat time to at least 4 to 5 hours more.  How’s that?  They talked many things about their personal lives, backgrounds and their beautiful families.  They became so open that they even discussed their problems.  Most importantly, they placed God in the center of their friendship.

It went on like that for several months until one day in November of the same year.  Kevin already feared what he was feeling because it was not all about being friends anymore.  Eventually, he told Susie about it.  And there was silence.  She was so nervous and speechless because she also felt the same way for him.  How could they ease out?  They became so fond of each other, only to find out that they were so afraid to lose each other.  And because they were so afraid to hurt each other, they started praying about their feelings and sought guidance from God.

“I cannot adjust the direction of the winds, but I can adjust my sails to reach my destination.” – Jimmy Dean

They did the best move in placing their mutual understanding in the presence of God.  Even if they were miles apart, they were able to adjust and had reached the exact destination Susie had constantly been praying for.  God must have been working somewhere in their midst, spreading magic dust for their love to thrive.

He was so excited so he did not waste much time.  He immediately told his mother about her and what’s going on between them.  While his mom was happy for him, she, on the other hand, had it differently.  She asked advice from her Pastor and his wife but they instantly disregarded her future plans of meeting Kevin.  “It’s too early,” they said.  For sure they were serious, meanwhile, Susie was panicking. She was advised to know the person really well before engaging into something more personal and real.     They were so afraid for her because they don’t know anything about Kevin.  Since, she doesn’t want to disobey her Pastor; she immediately spread most of her magic dust of prayers.  What happened next?  Pastor Wilson asked for her approval to talk to Kevin.  And they talked.  Not just talked; he was interrogated, interviewed and cross-examined just as if she was an eighteen year old blushing little girl.

But wait, Pastor Wilson did not just talk to Kevin but to his Pastor, too.  And yes, Pastor Wilson wasn’t done yet.  So, he asked Kevin to meet him in St. Louis, Missouri on February in time for his speaking engagement.

“Love is an endless mystery, for it has nothing else to explain it.” – Rabindranath Tagore

Kevin and Susie were in two different worlds and in two different races, however, their hearts beat as one.  Few months went on and the height of their ecstasy cannot be taken for granted anymore.  In March 2013, they decided to meet up personally.

She waited for her visa to be renewed and decided to visit her family in the Philippines.  Here’s more, she’s not alone this time as she always was before she met Kevin.  Good news, isn’t it?  And whether she’ll be able to go home or not, Kevin would still meet her anywhere in the world.  She cannot hide this time.  She carefully said, “I don’t want to hide anymore.”  In fact, she has more hopes and dreams of a brighter future with her man.

Their most awaited time came in April 27, 2013 when they were both nearing towards the plan of God.  Meeting online was fun but meeting personally was a different story.  Both were yet to know how things will be for them until after their first meeting.

Susie arrived few hours before Kevin.  I met her at the NAIA Terminal 2.  Yes, she was nervous.  Who wouldn’t be?  But she was exceptionally happy.  Her smile spelled L-O-V-E.  She was so full of it.

April 29 zoomed in and it’s time to meet him.  We were at the NAIA Terminal 1.  ETA was at 11:00 a.m. and no shadows of Kevin yet.  Two hours passed by and still he was not there.  It was fiercely hot during that time and she was shaking.  Flight delayed!  One hour more and Kevin’s arrival was confirmed.  We waited until most of the passengers were out and still he was nowhere to be seen.  We asked permission from the airport guards to get closer to the gates as soon as she received an SMS that he’ll be going out real soon.  She was shaking really bad and I had to be of assistance.  We were there at the gates and waited for him.  I don’t know how Kevin looked like but she momentarily stopped and there he was standing right in front of us.  They gazed as if they were the only person existing in that place.  He moved closer and gave her a tight hug and a surprise kiss straight from Missouri with love!  They held on for few seconds before he let go of her.  Mission accomplished, finally!

While in the Philippines, they had shared most of their time knowing each other.  The best thing Susie shared to me was whatever Kevin showed to her while they were in front of their own laptops were the same thing he showed to her in person.  “We still hit it off well,” Kevin said.

And speaking of hitting it off well, I asked him a little bit more without Susie’s knowledge.  Thank God, he played fairly well.  I had very easy questions and she was right in telling me that he is typically a shy person.  What he liked most about her?  Her sweetness and her sense of humor.  What was his most memorable experience with Susie?  Meeting her at the airport and seeing her face to face for the first time.  It could be an indescribable feeling and an unspeakable joy of seeing the one you love IN PERSON!  This time, I’ll turn the ball to my longtime friend, Susie.  What she liked most about him?  First of all, he’s a Christian.  He’s humble, not rude, tall and kind.  Well, the list goes on – caring, loving, understanding, quiet and shy but easy to get along with.  He doesn’t choose what’s prepared on the table except for the all-time favorite Filipino street food called ‘balut.’  His new favorite delis now are ‘empanada’ and ‘halo-halo,’ all of which are Filipino food.

“Now to be a family, we’ve got to love each other at any cost unselfishly.”

No, Not just yet!  While they were about to leave Philippines in May 25, 2013, Susie’s family were all gathered together in their living room.  Before they had to actually leave the country, they expressed their plans of getting married.  Her family sat quietly and just listened to what Kevin had to say.

Both were hopeful but they had to part physically even if they don’t want to.  They promised each other that even if they’ll have to part ways again, their love for each other will never change.  Kevin assured Susie that the moment he arrived US, he will start processing her documents for her to be able to be with him ASAP.

They flew back to their respective places with sadness but not loneliness because they knew they will be together again very soon.  Only that, they just have to work harder to reach to their final destination.

On July 28, he started processing their application for Susie’s fiancé visa and she had been very glad that every month onwards; there was progress in their application.  Last week of August, he was approved for their first step process.  The next month, they submitted their application to the US Embassy in Israel.  She received a notice that their application were in process already and she was asked to prepare for her interview and medical examination.  Post-Christmas, she received her best gift ever for the year!  Their application was approved but was on-hold because the Embassy asked for her National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) clearance and what she submitted was her Police clearance.  She had to request the Office of the US Embassy to consider her old NBI clearance when she first entered Israel which was in 2005.  What’s Luke 1:37 for?  So, they considered it without further questions.  The passport with the stamped US visa was delivered to her last January 2014.

Kevin conveyed to me, “We are finally nearing the day when we will be together again.”  Oh yes, he will hear her say, “I am just right here, babe.  I’m not going to leave you anymore.” (winks)

After one year of waiting, they are here now presenting themselves as one body that will build a beautiful future and will make a beautiful family in the Household of Faith.  There were times when their relationship were tried and tested yet it has fully grown and that no strong winds will ever make it fall.  They had built it together with God and had fashioned it with their faith and trust.  Now, they are finally bonded together as Mr. and Mrs. Kevin Johnson.

To Kevin and Susie, may you always remember that the love ride was never a joy ride.  I pray that you will have a fruitful marriage and a blissful home.  Let God be the center of your relationship, always and forever.  From across the miles, I send my best wishes and congratulations on your new journey of life together!

Susie and Kevin few weeks before the wedding..Photo credits: Kim Brooks

Susie and Kevin few weeks before the wedding..Photo credits: Kim Brooks