Can God use the Internet to bring people together? These four couples, all happily married after meeting online, think He can: and does.
by Edna Maye Loveless The Final Click: Nick and Sabra Johnson
Nick and Sabra cite a series of providences that put them together after they'd placed their profiles online. Discouraged after meeting, over the course of a year, four respondents who didn't "click," Sabra prayed one evening that the right prospect would materialize.
That same evening, some 600 miles away in French Lick, Indiana, Nick's father, aware that Nick had just filed his profile with christiansinglesdating.com, prayed that Nick would find the "right" relationship.
Skeptical, Nick looked at the options that very night. Attracted by Sabra's picture and then her compatible-sounding profile, he responded with an e-mail. Like Nick, Sabra was looking for someone who was "sexually pure."
Would she respond? Nick wondered. He was a bit dismayed when he received no answer after sending two e-mails: but he persisted in sending a third.
Returning home to Shamokin, Pennsylvania, after a family vacation, Sabra did respond. Though they lived hundreds of miles apart, their e-mails and calls grew increasingly frequent. But Sabra was curious about Nick: after all, he was a mere 19, and she was 22.
Then some people from Nick's hometown church, taking a wrong turn on a trip, decided to spend the night near Sabra's home. The next day they attended a church in this town where they knew no one. But the church: coincidentally or providentially: was Sabra's church.
When Sabra's parents learned that the visitors lived in Nick's hometown, they inquired about Nick and his family. Nick's good friends were delighted to give him a sterling recommendation and to look Sabra over for Nick, providing him with a positive report.
Clutching a wrapped candle for Sabra, Nick finally met her in an airport near her home. During that first visit the two shared contentment in walking, talking, working puzzles, and reading. Inspired by Joshua Harris's books, I Kissed Dating Goodbye and Boy Meets Girl, they even pledged no kisses until they would meet at the marriage altar.
They were married a year later. A lay youth pastor at his church, Nick is aware that kids today are physically driven; he talks to the teens about his storybook romance, recommending the Harris books and still glowing when he introduces his Internet wife.
"One thing very important to us were the things that God did to bring us together," he says. "God gave providential evidence."
Nick, a professional Web site designer, has created a Web site featuring the couple's happy story: www.sabranick.johnson.name.
Across the Ocean: Sherlita and Junior Myrie
Sherlita Bloomfield, 30, of Virginia, responded to Junior Myrie, 30, of Jamaica, because he sounded compatible: and she liked his picture. She adds that shortly before participating in adventistmatch.com, she sensed a message from the Lord. "I have something (someone?) special for you."
After the initial exchange in September 2003, the two talked daily (for hours) on Instant Messenger, where they could both see and hear each other. Thus, when Junior flew to New York four months later, the couple's meeting brought few surprises. In another month they began planning their August 8, 2004, wedding.
Sherlita, born and raised in the United States, says that their cultural diversity is eased by the fact that her parents are from Jamaica and also by their common religious commitments. A chiropractor, Sherlita is continuing her practice in suburban Washington, D.C., and Junior, employed by a magazine, is working from their new home.
Sherlita and Junior enjoyed a big wedding this past summer in suburban Washington, D.C.
More Than a Game: Michael and O'Della Harris
Living in a closeknit Newfoundland community, O'Della, 36, knew it was time to break the news to her family: She had met a Maryland man online; he lived 1,400 miles away. Her father, 86, was curious: "How do you 'meet' someone in a box?" he wanted to know.
O'Della, coming out of a difficult marriage and overseeing the welfare of her two daughters, 5 and 3, had responded in September 1998 to "Adult Black male wanting to play a game and chat" on zone.msn.com.
"I'm Caucasian," O'Della says. "I asked, Why does anyone have to say who they are? I read integrity there."
With no intention of romancing online, she played a game of checkers with Michael. To establish a relationship online: that's absurd, it's dangerous, O'Della thought.
The game playing developed into chatting. O'Della learned of Michael's divorce. "Would you remarry?" she asked.
"No!" he said.
O'Della understood. She had often declared, "I'll never marry again."
But O'Della began looking forward to finding "Adult Black male" online. Sensing a rise in affectionate feelings, she felt insecure. One day she asked, "Would this go anywhere?"
Michael, then 38, says, "I was caught off guard, thinking that if I say no, she's going to run away." He typed in "Why not?"
Phoning followed. Michael's November phone bill: $973; O'Della's: $500.
In December O'Della planned to fly out of remote Newfoundland to meet Michael in Maryland. Her family rallied around her. "I have a charge card; you can use it to get home if you change your mind," her sister said. "You've been my most logical child," her mother said.
Michael, assessing O'Della's values, asked his preacher uncle and his mother to phone O'Della beforehand "to put her at ease that I was no ax murderer," he explains.
After that meeting Michael, a nurse, offered to move to Newfoundland, where he would be employable. O'Della talked to her extended family members, who welcomed her return to the happy, bubbly person she had been before her difficult first marriage. Though they would miss her terribly, they encouraged her to move to Maryland.
A year later O'Della, a mineral technologist, married Michael, leaving the job she'd had "for life" and the home she'd bought, and bringing her two daughters with her.
"I love being a father," Michael says, and adds, "I want to grow old with their mother."
O'Della adds, "I believe that our meeting was providential. There were 35,000 people in that chat room. To find Michael there had to come from divine leading."
"The past five years have been a wonderful time for us," says Michael with O'Della. "I would never change a single thing that has happened."
Special All Around: Glen and Pam Ramsey
After nursing his ill wife for three years until her death in April 2003, Glen, 58, quietly created a profile and submitted it to a Christian dating service online. "I wasn't looking for a wife," he admits. "I needed somebody to talk to."
An e-mail with the handle "spec ed" caught Glen's attention. "With a deaf son, 23, and a daughter, 26, who suffers mild cerebral palsy, I had a special ed family," he says.
He was about to meet Pam, 60, a special ed professional. Their first phone call lasted four hours. After an initial rendezvous in a bowling alley, where Glen's children were playing, the couple visited Glen's mother at her assisted living facility. Showing the two around, she announced, "This is my son and his fiance."
Once outside, Glen remonstrated, "Mom! This is our first date!"
"I didn't know what to call her," his mother replied.
Glen turned to Pam. "We're destined," he said.
Eleven months after their first encounter, Glen moved some 60 miles to the site of Pam's teaching, and the two were married in a ceremony that included her grandchildren, 6 and 4, and Glen's granddaughter, 2. Glen calls Pam a consummate grandmother, who dispenses love in great measure to all three grandchildren.
She has also used her know-how to assist Glen's son: who had been living a very lonely life: in finding a job and a living situation with three deaf roommates. An affectionate man, he loves his job and is energized in a setting with friends who can sign and socialize with him.
Glen, educated in police science, is now exploring the field of his wife's expertise. "I want to work with handicapped people," he says. Facing the steep slope of their 60s, it will be a team effort, blessed by years of experience and the avowal of each: "I have found my soulmate."