Love on the Great Wall
Dr. Ray PritchardDr. Ray Pritchard is the president of Keep Believing Ministries, in Internet-based ministry serving Christians in 225 countries. He is the author of 29 books, including Stealth Attack, Fire and Rain, Credo, The ABCs of Christmas, The Healing Power of Forgiveness, An Anchor for the Soul and Why Did This Happen to Me? Ray and Marlene, his wife of 43 years, have three sons-Josh, Mark and Nick, three daughters-in-law--Leah, Vanessa, and Sarah, and seven grandchildren. His hobbies include biking, surfing the Internet, and anything related to the Civil War.
- 2007 Jan 16
Shortly after midnight on Sunday night, the phone rang, jarring us awake. We had been expecting the call but it came as a surprise anyway because we were already asleep. On the other end of the phone, I heard Mark’s voice, “Mom and Dad, we’re engaged.” He was using a cell phone to call us from the Great Wall of China where he had just asked Vanessa to marry him, and she said yes. This picture was taken shortly afterwards by Josh who is currently in China with Leah on a ten-day trip.
Mark met Vanessa (who is from California) last year when the two of them were teaching English in the same city in China. When Mark came home last July, he mentioned Vanessa and said he hoped to pursue the relationship when he returned to China in August. It was a little challenging because this year Vanessa is in northern China and Mark is in southern China. They kept in touch via email, IM, and some trips to see each other over the last few months.
We got to meet Vanessa via Skype video at Thanksgiving. It was obvious from seeing them together that there is a high comfort level between the two of them. They just look like they belong together. In the last six months, Mark and Vanessa had many conversations about their future, and it was clear that God was bringing them together. A few weeks ago, Mark and I had several long talks via IM about the possibility of marriage. Then he decided to take action.
He wanted to propose to Vanessa on the Great Wall of China, but he didn’t want her to know about it. And he planned it so that they would be at the Great Wall during Josh and Leah’s visit to Beijing. After purchasing a ring in China, he told us to be prepared, that after he proposed, he and Vanessa would call us from the Great Wall, which was wonderful, except that, since there is a fourteen hour time difference between Beijing and Tupelo, that meant we would get the call in the middle of the night. Someone who knew about it asked me what would happen if Vanessa said no. I said I didn’t think that was likely, but in any case, a man has to take the initiative in these things. She can’t say yes if he doesn’t ask the question.
Happily she said yes. A few minutes later the phone rang in our cabin, waking us up. But this was one late-night call we were glad to receive. We didn’t talk very long because they were using an international calling card and didn’t have many minutes, but in that short time, we could hear their excitement through the telephone.
They will be in China until late June when they will return to the U.S. They plan to get married sometime in 08. We are very happy for them, and I’m glad to share this good news with you.