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The story of proposing marriage to Karen

The Bible says, “without faith, it is impossible to please Him.” My paraphrase: “without taking risks and engaging in kingdom adventures, you won’t please God.” Granted, this is going to be more of a struggle for some than for others. I seemed to be drawn to big social justice issues earl…
By Seth Barnes
Seth Karen 1
The Bible says, “without faith, it is impossible to please Him.”
My paraphrase: “without taking risks and engaging in kingdom adventures, you won’t please God.”

Granted, this is going to be more of a struggle for some than for others. I seemed to be drawn to big social justice issues early in life. My senior year at college I had fallen in love with a beautiful co-ed named Karen.  Spending time with her was the #1 priority in my life.  But I couldn’t escape God’s call to help respond to the horror of the killing fields. Millions of Cambodians were on the move. Refugees crowded the border camps. I knew I had to go help.

I remember standing with Karen on the Wheaton lawn talking about God’s call.  We both cried at the prospect of being apart for three months or more, but we knew that’s what God was asking me to do.

My team flew over, the only 12 passengers on an empty 747 (so it could return full of refugees).  We landed in an exotic land where Buddhist temples dotted the landscape.  A few days later, another student and I were dropped off in a town called Prasat.  We had a motorcycle we were to ride to the camp.  My job was to help the refugees in the camps to earn enough money to support themselves through pig and chicken raising projects. There was no manual.

I remember one day realizing that we needed to expand our efforts. So I loaded 20 of the refugees in a big dump truck and we drove to a bamboo forest some distance away.  We cut down the bamboo and brought it back to the camp to build chicken coops.  Later we took the grown chickens across the Cambodian border to feed the refugees who had managed to cheat death.

What an adrenalin rush my time in Thailand was! But When I returned, I learned that life can’t always be that way. Karen and I resumed our courtship.  And one day I told her, “Karen, I’m going to continue my adventures by touring Europe after I graduate.”

She replied, “You can do that, but I may not be here when you return.”

Whoah! Didn’t expect to hear that!
Left to my own devices I would have been Peter Pan for another few years. She called my bluff and I realized that not all adventures were worth having. So, I proposed marriage to her a few months later and after she accepted, we did the adventuring together. We flew to Indonesia the day after getting married (stopping in California and Hawaii en route) and we flew to the D.R. a year later.

 

God has a lifetime of faith adventures for you. You don’t even have to leave the country or your hometown. But they won’t happen by accident; you’ve got to put your comfort and your concept of what’s practical at risk.
My advice: Don’t play it safe. Life is too short and the world’s needs are too great. Try something crazy; if God’s not in it, he can always call your bluff like he did with me.

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