Bryce: I met Brooke in 2009 and was pretty much love at first sightâ€¦ for me. Some friends invited me to lead worship at an evangelistic campaign with YWAM. I didnâ€™t know much about YWAM at the time, but the people I was meeting definitely made me interested in missions.
Brooke:Â When I first saw Bryce (well I didnâ€™t really see him or remember him), I just remembered there were new people joining the tour. Didnâ€™t think much of it but was excited to see my other friends that Bryce had driven down with.
Bryce: I ended up doing a Discipleship Training School in Kona, where I tried my best to not let my emotions for Brooke be a distraction. I failed. I did feel the Lord tell me in January of 2010, that Brooke would be my wife.
Brooke:Â While Bryce was doing his DTS, I was attending a photography course. He frequented my classroom a lot during this time, usually when I was trying to do school work! I didnâ€™t think much of it until a mutual friend straight up told me that he liked me. I wasnâ€™t interested and couldnâ€™t understand how Bryce could like me when I felt we hardly knew each other. From then on, I kept him at a distance and tried to avoid him.
Bryce: I eventually moved on and we went our separate ways for the next few years. I always thought she was lovely and had great respect for her. We both ended up dating other people at different times and werenâ€™t thinking much of each other.
Brooke:Â In 2013 a family friend asked if there was anyone that I had the faintest attraction too. I told her in all honesty I liked no one but had had second thoughts about a certain man that had tried to pursue me a few years back. The conversation didnâ€™t go further than that and I continued on with my single merry life :-D. I traveled a lot so Bryce and Iâ€™s paths rarely crossed.
Brooke:Â Â In Feb 2015 we both attended a seminar in Kona. I hadnâ€™t seen Bryce in awhile or been in the same place where thereâ€™d be the possibility to even converse. When Bryce began speaking on the mic my (now) cousin-in-law said to our whole table, â€œBrooke I found your husband!â€- I was flustered but it did make me think.
Bryce:Â It was so good to see her that week. I remember being happy that she would be there every day for class. Was the first time we had much interaction in years.
Bryce: We continued to talk and get to know each other for the next several months. I eventually told her I liked her. I was more persistent than she cared for.
Brooke:Â Â For so long Iâ€™d kept him at arms length, so it was nice getting to know Bryce better. He had the same persistence I remembered from our first introduction, which was nice but also a little nerve racking because I only wanted friendship. I wanted to know heâ€˜d enjoy my friendship with or without the fluffy feels.
Brooke:Â Even though we tried to remain â€˜just friendsâ€™ emotional lines were becoming blurry and I did not have peace or my parents blessing. I felt the Lord nudging me to cut things off. It was painful to tell Bryce but I knew what I had heard from God. When all was said and done my peace had returned but I still worried about Bryce and if understood.
Bryce: We had continued to spend time together and my pushiness ended up pushing her away. When she told me things were done, I was heart-broken. God told me she did the right thing and spoke to my heart how I had idolized marriage. The next few months were very challenging but I grew in real hope in God more than I ever had. I thought about her often, but was doing my best to sincerely surrender and give her to the Lord. I knew I was in a good place when I felt real joy and peace, though there wasnâ€™t a change in the situation.
Brooke:Â Bryce is very persistent. So when we stopped communicating I half expected him to go against my wishes and somehow reach out to me. He didnâ€™t. Months went by and nadda. As quiet as a mime. By now I realized and could admit I liked him too and wondered if the end to our friendship was just timing or permanent. We ended up being in the same place, at the same time (without planning or knowing each others plans). The third time we were on the same piece of land a mutual friend told me he would be in town. I cried out to God and said, â€œsurely you arenâ€™t so cruel as to torture me a third time?! Am I supposed to do something??????â€ I felt it was time and so I emailed Bryce that it would be good for us to meet up.
Bryce: I was on my way to Australia to teach in a Discipleship Training School. I stopped for a few days in New Zealand on the way. When I got the email from her to meet up my heart leaped. However I determined in my heart I would be ready to leave New Zealand with no changes and chose to trust the Lord. I had tried to force things before and I ended up in disappointment every time. I would not touch this.
Brooke:Â I was so nervous to see him, it had been almost half a year since weâ€™d talked or seen each other. I had mentally prepared myself to be on the defense for anything he might throw at me. But when I saw him he did not shoot arrows but instead came humbly and asked for forgiveness……all my defenses dropped and with that so did my words. I had nothing to say as he shared his journey with the Lord and how God told him I had done what was right with cutting things off. It was then I knew that Bryce wanted to be my friend just for me and not for what I could give him. That little New Zealand trip of his changed our lives.
Bryce: Even as we talked and it seemed our hearts were so easily re-connecting, I was so intentional about not forcing or pushing anything. I didnâ€™t want to end up with something I had come up with myself. I wanted Godâ€™s ways and Godâ€™s leadership to be very clear and obvious. At the same time, I was thrilled that it seemed pretty clear God was putting this back in our laps.
Bryce: On September 21 in Kansas City, we got the official blessing of Brookeâ€™s parents and began dating. I had to fly back to Kona the next day where we did many months of distance.
Brooke:Â Bryce joined my team on numerous outreaches and FaceTime became the third component to our relationship. It wasnâ€™t easy, but I felt so strongly that God had us where we needed to be, even if that meant literally half way across the world from each other.
Brooke:Â Weâ€™d been dating over a year and I was finally ready to say â€˜yesâ€™ to the man of my dreams! Bryce led me to believe that it would take some time for him to be able to propose. I was confused, how could this man whoâ€™s been pursuing me for all these years now tell me heâ€™s not ready for engagement?!
Little did I know he was planning the surprise of a lifetime!
Bryce: As soon as Brooke told me she felt a green light to move forward I was dreaming up some plans. I talked to her father and got his blessing and made plans to come to South Korea. I wanted it to be a surprise and was the most I had ever thought of and prepared for something. I was extremely nervous and could barely think of anything else. I planned to go to South Korea in November 2017. This would be the 3rd nation I travelled to in one year, that I might win her heart.
Brooke:Â Â I was in South Korea for ministry and was told that our hosting coordinators wanted to do an interview/photoshoot of my family. I thought it was strange but was keen to do it if it helped kids come to know Jesus. All dressed up we drove to a national park and started to ascend the mountain. My sister had to leave her baby with one of our coordinators so we could hike up to find â€œthe spotâ€ that they had pre-scouted for us. While Ruth and I were waiting to be led I saw an opening to the edge of a cliff and told her to come check it out with me. She refused and told me to wait for our guide. I didnâ€™t listen and kept walking towards the edgeâ€¦â€¦
Around the corner I saw a bunch of wooden signs with dates on them, all lined up on the rock wall. I thought I had stumbled upon a shrine to a dead person or altar. As my eyes followed the signs it led to a picture frame surrounded by lights- I had to do a double take, was that ME in the photo😱😱😱😱?! For a split second I thought I was in a horrible nightmare, then before another moment could pass, Bryce emerged from behind the rock wall. I screamed and then began crying. Completely stunned and again- lost for words. HE SECRETLY FLEW 4,632 MILES TO KOREA AND CLIMBED A MOUNTAIN TO PROPOSE TO ME. I was shocked that we were physically in the same place I had no idea what was coming next until he was on bended knee before me.
Bryce: I waited until that moment to tell her that I loved her for the first time. Of course I did, long before that, but wanted to wait for that moment to offer the deep declaration of my heart. I asked her to marry me. She said yes. After the most glorious moments of love and wonder, we re-joined her team. A local pastor had already planned to treat them to lunch but his first option was too small. So when we met up with everyone it was in a private room at a 5-star hotel buffet! We could not have planned a better way to celebrate our new engagement as well as the the end of our ministry trip to South Korea.
In a few weeks we will be married and look forward to changing the world together. Thank you for your friendship and support along the way.Â
Our engagement photos were done by the lovely: www.tayandmckay.com