Hello family, friends and partners!
I am so excited to share that Ethan and I will be getting married this July 8th at a small ceremony in Bakersville, North Carolina before leaving to Thailand on July 26th.
I wanted to take a moment to share with you all the progression of Ethan and I’s relationship and how we came to the conclusion to get married before going to Thailand. As people I value and respect so much, I felt it imperative to express some of the “how” and “why” behind this incredibly important and life-long commitment. Also, I feel it important to share this major decision because, for those of you who are financial partners, my ministry will no longer be just me! You will soon be partnering with the two of us as a team. I feel it’s only right for me to introduce him more formally and express how he came to be my fiancé. I pray that this can bring clarity to all that has happened, as well as glory to our God for His goodness in bringing us together.
Ethan and I first met in June of last year. He and some friends of his were visting Idaho on an outreach trip and our two friend groups instantly connected over a late night worship session. We stayed in touch with them after they went back to Las Vegas, but we were able to reconnect in person this past December. That’s when he “caught my eye” for lack of better words. I always tell people that it was the way he prayed, I’d never heard anyone pray like that before. Sounds cheesy but honestly it’s true! After this short visit, their group left town but Ethan and I began to get to know each other long-distance through January and February of this year. Neither of us casually pursue “getting to know” someone in that way, so at that time both of us were extremely prayerful and seeking the counsel of those around us. After visiting each other in person in March and recognizing the similar callings we had to serve God as long-term missionaries in Thailand, it became clear that we were not only dating, but that God was leading us towards marriage. At this time, we didn’t know when that would be. It was during this time that Ethan was officially accepted to join the ministry I’m partnering with (Youth With A Mission - Trang) as an intern. This means he’ll be ministering alongside of the team, completing the language and culture training through YWAM Thailand, and in two years will complete his Discipleship Training School.
Over the next few months we pursued the Lord’s will through prayer, counsel and time visiting our families. In this time it became clear that God was calling us to get married rather quickly - that’s the understatement of the year! Though it may be fast at first glance, we are so confident that God has called us together to be a team in ministry. We have both prayed from the beginning that God’s will would be done, not our own. God has been so faithful to speak through His Word, trustworthy people He has surrounded us with, and His Spirit to give us the confirmations and clarity that we needed to feel confident in this decision. Both Ethan and I recognize marriage as a covenant, a vow made to each other, but most importantly to God. We have not pursued it flippantly but with the utmost reverence and care.
We both firmly believe that we are better equipped to glorify God together as a married couple joined to be one flesh under His leading. God has ultimately brought us together for His name to be preached to the ends of the earth. This marriage is for Him, devoted to Him, and founded in Him and as times of difficulty will no doubt come in our future, especially as we enter into foreign missions, He will be our rock upon which we will stand hand-in-hand no matter the storms that come.
Currently, we are receiving pre-marital counseling from an incredibly godly couple who serve in Ethan’s church. They are preparing us for life together in ministry, praying over us and with us for the Lord’s wisdom, and providing so much encouragement. We know that the enemy would seek to steal, kill and destroy this union that God is bringing together for His glory in Thailand and so we are doing all the foundational work we can in this season to prepare well for the task ahead. With that said, please pray for us as we prepare for our lives of serving the Lord together in Thailand for the next five years and wherever He may lead us after that! We both believe God has called us into full-time ministry as a life-long calling, especially to serve the unreached places of the world who do not have access to the gospel. Ethan shares my heart and passion for God receiving the worship of all peoples and I fully trust that he will do his best to follow God and lead us and our family towards this shared calling.
I pray God gets ALL the glory for our story. As we both sought Him and His plans for our lives, He brought us each other as an undeserved gift out of no where, in perfect timing. I am blessed to spend the rest of my life with such a man of God of such high character, wisdom, and maturity in the faith.
Finally, as we prepare to get married and move, we set up a GoFundMe that is dedicated to helping us purchase the basic necessities for our housing in Thailand and to prepare us for the ministry demands that will come as we set foot in our new home. If you feel led to donate or share this link with your friends and family, that would be such a huge blessing to us.
As always, thank you. Thank you for faithfully serving the Lord through your support of prayer, encouragement and financial giving. The role of sending is such a critical part in reaching the nation of Thailand with the gospel. I pray God’s blessings would abound for you and your families!
“And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? ”
Romans 10:14 -15
With love and gratitude,
Marie and Ethan