“$1600 more?” I gawked at the screen, not daring to believe my eyes.
I sat with my new fiancée, Brittany, on a lumpy old piece crap that was masquerading as a futon, and stared at her laptop. It was January 2015, and we were starting the process of closing the distance in our long distance relationship.
Brittany shook her head, disgusted. “I looked at the Australian visa costs a month ago, and I know they were at least $1600 less.”
I picked up her laptop and started poking around the complicated government website. After a couple of minutes I found what I was after. “Hey, it says here, ‘Visa costs were increased as of the 1st of January.'”
“Well crap,” Brittany said. “What do we do now? I’m not sure how we can afford the extra $1600.”
I put the laptop down and looked at her. “I haven’t a clue, babe. I guess we gotta go over the options again. Anywhere but Saipan gets my vote.”
“Agreed! I’ve already stayed here a year longer than I planned.”
“Well, I could migrate to the States I guess.”
Brittany sat, her lips pursed. After a moment she spoke. “After this school year I could head back and try get a job there. You could probably find a CNC machinist job, at least to start out.”
“Hmm.” I pondered, I didn’t really want to start another engineering job, but it was apparently an in demand skill-set there. “We may still be able to do Australia, things would be super tight to start though. I’d need to get more work than I’m currently getting.”
“I’m pretty sure wherever we go is going to be financially difficult.”
“Yeah…” I looked down at the time. Curfew o’clock! “Good grief, it’s already 10pm. We should move this outside.”
We headed out to the front balcony and stood, each lost in their own thoughts, looking out into the Saipan night.
After a few minutes I spoke, “Maybe we’re looking at this the wrong way.”
Brittany gave me a quizzical look. “How do you mean?”
“Well,” I said slowly, trying to work out where the idea was coming from. “We’re looking at this for what benefits us most; which move would leave us best off financially. Maybe we should change our perspective, try thinking about where we can serve God and others best.”
Brittany nodded, looking thoughtful. “We did say we want to start our marriage that way.”
“Exactly! I think we should pray and ask God to guide us to where He wants us to start serving. Then look at which location has the best ministry opportunities for us.”
“That sounds perfect,” Brittany said. Her smile was warm as she wrapped her arm around my side and hugged me.
I put my arm around her shoulder as we bowed our heads in prayer, asking God to give us wisdom in our discussion and eventual decision.
As we prayed and weighed our options, one thing became clear to us: Saipan had many needs. Brittany had built some strong relationships with teen girls here. Her new church also had many opportunities where we could serve.
The more we talked, the more the idea of starting married life together in Saipan grew on us. The feeling of being at a loss as to direction grew into a feeling of excitement and joy.
One thing was very clear.
Our life together was going to be an adventure!