and this guy
were roommates. Through the course of living together and a Bible study group a great friendship was sparked. Then one day, Joel was walking with Jonathan when (according to Jon) the key event that unite Jonathan and I back together happened. Joel was there from the second beginning of our relationship. He even captured (literally and figuratively) our most angelic picture together...
and our not so angelic picture...
To make a long story short, we all became like family:
Joel has been apart of so many of our milestones. He was playing the guitar when Jonathan proposed to me. I still remember looking at him like 'is this fo' real?' when I walked up the stairs to meet Jonathan. He even put together a video of our proposal. The program crashed after we had seen it, so it's lost for.ev.er. (said Sandlot style) RIP proposal video!
Then of course he was apart of the wedding:
Then Jon and Joel graduated together:
Then he was there to share in the joy of the birth of our firstborn, Elizabeth Grace or 'EG' as he called her:
Then the time came where we discovered our paths were taking us to opposite ends of the world. Literally. He was headed to Asia and we were headed to Minneapolis. So along with our 7 month Elizabeth, we told Uncle Joel goodbye.
and 'EG' didn't like the whole goodbye thing:
But we knew, Lord willing, we'd see each other again in 2 years. And just this past Tuesday, Joel flew in to MSP and we reunited with him. It was a sweet thing to see him in person and to officially introduce him to Hannah.
One of the highlights of the trip for me was Uncle Joel reading Hudson Taylor to Elizabeth:
I had dreamed of it for awhile since every time we read the book Uncle Joel and 'Asia' came up. It was great to pray for Uncle Joel as he kneeled in the floor of the girls bedroom where we had offered up many prayers for him and the "Hilltoppers" with our daughters over the past 2 years. And it was great seeing Elizabeth treating him like a Hero and how sweetly and swiftly Hannah would crawl to Joel when she spotted him. Joel was great with the girls offering to help with them any chance he got and playing with them non stop if they were up. It was incredibly sweet to me. (Thanks Joel!)
It was great for us to hang out and have grown-up time too. Joel is seriously one of the funniest people I know.
Last but not least, here is a picture of the guys the last time they were in Minneapolis together:
2006 DG National Conference
Then in 2010:
Joel, we are so thankful to Jesus for His sweet providence in knitting all our hearts together. We realize our friendship with you is a tangible expression of God's grace lavished on us in Christ. Thank you for your example of giving up comforts to help further the Gospel to the nations. We are thankful our children have heroes like Hudson Taylor and Uncle Joel; and we are so grateful how God has used you to stirred our own hearts to think about and love the nations more. We love you and look forward to seeing you soon!