In the first few months after I proposed to my beautiful fiancée, Tara, our engagement looked pretty typical. We spent hours talking about the wedding and discussing potential honeymoon locations.
I thought about picking up some extra work so we could go to Hawaii for a week. Then we considered renting this gorgeous cabin in the mountains of Georgia. The choices seemed endless, did we want to rent a house or a hotel room? Did we want to dine in or dine out? How much did we want to spend?
Things started to come together. I created a folder in Evernote where I kept links to hotels and cabins that fit our honeymoon budget of $3,000. I picked up a part-time job selling alarm systems to make some extra money to put away for our honeymoon. We were doing this. Our plans were made.
The only thing we hadn’t considered was that God has a way of changing plans.
In case you aren’t familiar with me or my story, I started serving with Rooftop Missions in August of last year as the media coordinator.
As I began to hit my stride running our social media accounts and producing video content, I noticed my fiancée was sort of struggling to figure out her role at Rooftop Missions. This became increasingly visible a few months after the engagement. There were times I could discern that there was a lot on her mind, but I wasn’t sure exactly what God was doing.
One night over dinner, I asked her to tell me what was going on in her mind and heart.
I couldn’t have been more surprised when the words, “I feel like we should move to India,” escaped her lips. I also couldn’t have been more excited. She recalled my last trip to India, reminding me of the conversations we would have as I sat in my hotel room in Bapatla, excitedly sharing what I had seen each day. She knew that this would mean something for us, but she wasn’t sure what it would be. Unbeknownst to me, she had begun praying and asking God to make her willing to do whatever He had in store for us.
As I shared pictures and videos from my trip, as well as told her about personal experiences in the country, God began to give her a love for the country of India and it’s people. This led Tara to continue praying over the next several months, until eventually she realized that she felt called to move to India, herself.
As she told me about this desire, I could tell that she was nervous about what my response would be. She was relieved to find out that I had also had similar feelings and thoughts, but was scared to tell her as well. We laughed when we realized that we both wanted the exact same thing this whole time, yet were so scared to share with the other person.
The next day, I called Andrew Smith, the Assistant Director of Rooftop Missions, and told him about our discussion. His initial response was simply, “I’m really excited, and I’m really jealous.” In the conversation that followed, we discussed what our move to India would look like. One of the biggest concerns myself and Tara had was that our move might have a negative impact on the ministry in some way. If it would be better for the kids and for the growth of Rooftop if we stayed in the states, we would be willing to do so.
Andrew assured us that it would be a huge benefit to both the ministry and to us personally, and said he too felt that this was the right decision. I also ran my thoughts past Matthew Cretzman, the Director of Rooftop Missions, and he was thrilled to hear the news as well.
Like I said, God has a way of changing plans. At this point, our priorities began to shift. The $3,000 we had planned on saving toward a honeymoon suddenly felt like a misuse of resources. We realized that for that same amount of money which we would have spent on our own pleasure, we could purchase plane tickets to fly to India – a place where our investment would ultimately be in others.
This is why we are skipping our honeymoon.
As Christians, we’ve understood for a while that our lives are not our own. But it’s took us a few months to really understand that our marriage is not our own either. Our life together is not primarily for our personal enjoyment or satisfaction, but for our sanctification, and ultimately for the glory of God.
For this reason, we will be spending the first two months of our marriage in India in order to serve at the Azlynn Noelle Children’s Home. Tara will be assisting in providing care for the 70+ orphans living there. I will be working to help with the kids as well, and continue my role of providing updates but now be able to do it live from the orphanage. I will also be able to coordinate video calls between sponsors and their children, and so much more! At the end of the two months, we will evaluate what has been accomplished and see if there is cause for us to stay for a longer period. We are willing to be there as long as God would have us there.
This transition will not be easy and there are many costs to consider. If we can just raise $6,500, we can purchase the necessary plane tickets, visas, and supplies necessary for this initial visit. Please prayerfully consider partnering with us in this endeavor.
Eric is a blogger, videographer, designer, and full-time missionary with Rooftop Missions. While in the US, he works to raise support to help fund pastors and orphanages in closed countries. When he is traveling internationally, he provides leadership training for national pastors, as well as documenting the trips through photography and video.