Day 121: A Story For The Grandchildren (PART THREE)

A little under a month after arriving back from my holiday in Chicago, my friends Jon and Sam came to my house to watch the rugby. The ‘Autumn Internationals’ were underway; England were playing their best rugby in years, scoring one of the most sensational tries at Twickenham that I’ve ever seen (yeah, I liked it that much I’ve linked to it on YouTube) and about to play a brutish South African side.

England lost.

Dejected, Sam, Jon and I sat quietly, pondering the disappointment of the defeat over our respective cups of tea. We made two decisions whilst wallowing in the thrashing we had received that evening – one fantastic and one not quite so good. We decided to form a John Mayer tribute band and also to Skype-call Anna Theofanous in Chicago. The latter turned out to be monumental. Sat either side of me, the three of us called Anna and she answered with her friend Hannah. After a few minutes of conversation, a few subtle hints about Jon emerged – he is, after all, a typical British man’s man (everything that Hannah wanted!)…but trying to set people up over Skype is never usually to be considered more than a joke. Our conversation ended until a couple of hours later once we’d rehearsed a few John Mayer songs at church to show the girls later that evening. We weren’t bad! Having said that, we never rehearsed again…not such a great decision.

Anna and I decided to make it our mission to get Hannah and Jon together but for some reason (perhaps the fact they were thousands of miles away from each other and complete strangers), they weren’t particularly interested. Whilst initial signs seemed positive, it seemed a bit ridiculous to think that anything could actually come of it. If only they’d talk! Jon and Hannah both refused to make the first move…which again, whilst understandable, was very frustrating. I still have to hold up my hands and say that I didn’t really think anything would happen…but didn’t stop us from trying to push things further on though!

Not too long after the original five-way Skype-call, Jon was sat at his desk next to me in the creative office at Kerith, considering whether or not he should send Hannah a message or not. I decided to make the decision for him. Asking him to move one or two of the guitar amps in the auditorium, I seized my opportunity to commit what seemed like the funniest of pranks while he was out of the room. Jon had naively left his Facebook page logged in…so I added Hannah. The obvious thing to do right?!

Jon was not impressed…

…but it did force him to break the ice, which was great. Within weeks they were talking every day and Jon was even considering flying to Chicago to meet Hannah in person. It was going so quickly…what had Anna and I done?!

It became apparent very quickly that this was much more than just a ‘fling’ and in September 2011, not even a year after I had celebrated Hannah’s 21st birthday in Chicago, she was moving to Banbury for a year to study a beauty therapy course and spend some more time with Jon. And that brings us to the picture that’s at the top of my blog (I’ve added the picture above just in case I ever change it) – Jon and Hannah in the UK, with us. It’s been fantastic. But that’s not the end of the story…

Today, Jon and Hannah are getting married.

This is Hannah’s photo, I really hope she doesn’t mind me stealing it! Sorry Han!

I’m so excited about this incredible story. God has a truly awesome way of bringing people together from all over the world in his name. The story that I thought had begun with my name on it turned out in fact to be all about Jon and Hannah. And I couldn’t be happier!

This wonderful couple are two of my favourite people in the universe and I’m brimming with pride that I get to see them devote their lives to each other today. They are perfect for each other. To have met so many of the characters in this story at various points in the last two years is pleasing enough, but to celebrate Jon and Hannah’s wedding with them as well is truly the icing on the cake.

To Jon and Hannah: I wish you a lifetime of joy, happiness and immense fulfillment. Thank you for letting me be a part of your lives so far and I pray that God will use you both to do more than you could possibly ask for, hope for or imagine. You both deserve an incredible ‘forever’ together. The only wedding that could possibly make me any happier will be my own!

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There are not many stories in my life that I can’t wait to tell my grandchildren. In that list will certainly be the day I gave my life to Jesus. But really, this is one of those stories that will never, ever leave me. I must apologise if a) it’s not remotely interesting to you or b) I haven’t told it to you particularly well. If so, look on the bright side – I’ll be telling this story a good few times in my life time, so I’m sure I’ll get better at it! I really do hope you find this story as powerful as I do though. Right, I’ve got a wedding to attend…

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