In 2001 Matt went to youth group just like any other day. The youth pastor presented the youth group with a challenge that day. He had been given some souvenir plates with different Bulgarian cities on them and he challenged each person in the youth group to take a souvenir plate and pray for the city that was on that plate for 1 year. Matt accepted the challenge. He took the plate and prayed for the city of Shipka, Bulgaria for 1 year. He prayed for a revival, he prayed that God would be made known to Shipka, he prayed that God would send missionaries to Bulgaria. After that year was over his heart changed for Bulgaria, it wasn’t just a place anymore, it was a part of his heart and he started praying that God would send him to Bulgaria, as that missionary! He also prayed that God would send him a wife that would be interested in missions and Bulgaria.
IT ALL STARTED WITH A PLATE
Some years later we were both serving in youth ministry together. We had known each other but hadn't really been friends. One day Matt came up to me, knowing I had lived in Bulgaria for a few years during highschool, and asked if I knew were Shipka, Bulgaria was. I was shocked, of course I knew were Shipka was but how did he know!? I asked him how he knew and he told me about the plate and that he had been praying for Bulgaria for a few years. I was shocked again! It was my family who had sent the souvenir plates to the youth group so many years before! It's amazing to see God's hand at work and the fruit that has come just from a simple souvenir and prayer challenge.
We immediately hit it off, became friends ad both got to go to Bulgaria together in 2006. Just after that trip we got engaged and knew we were meant to be in Bulgaria doing ministry together. God has put us together and written our love story for a reason and right now we are just waiting for His perfect timing to go.