Restaurant on the sea in Jaffa, Israel

The food tasted flat, and the atmosphere hung gray and dull.

It shouldn’t have been this way. My best bud, Susan, whom I call Suzanni, and I were eating in a beautiful restaurant in Jaffa, Israel, on the coast. We watched the sun go down over the Mediterranean while visiting and eating grilled fish, but the moment was lackluster. 

It was my 30th birthday, and I wasn’t married.

Not a prospect in sight. In fact, I had already written my mom in Colorado to ask her to give me that set of sterling-silver flatware she had bought and put away for my wedding. Why should it gather dust?

Some years earlier, I had completed nursing school and worked in Denver. Then I attended a Bible school in Texas and that is where I met Suzanni. After Bible school, we went to work in Israel as volunteers in a kibbutz. It was an experience of a lifetime. Since I spoke Hebrew, I was given the job of  overseeing other volunteers in the kitchen who needed translation for work duties. I met many wonderful people from around the world and grew close to a few Israelis on the kibbutz as well.

In fact, the kibbutznicks gave me a nickname. Bonnie seemed strange to them, so they made up a name, “Bonya.” My Israeli friends and those who worked as a volunteer with me still call me that.

In 30 years, I had already experienced an adventurous life; and I was so grateful. But I longed to do something meaningful. At one point, Suzanni and I had thought about joining the Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary, located in Darmstadt, Germany They were an order of protestant nuns who felt called to work toward reconciliation between Germans and Jews after World War II. The concept appealed to us.

During that period, Suzanni and I wore long denim jumpers, black tights, and clogs. No wonder we weren’t married! Someone even stopped us in a store once and asked if we were nuns. Our answer: “We don’t know yet. Maybe.” We laugh about it now, but I guess our commitment to be nuns was as deep as our marriage proposals.

But I was ready to get married. The guy seemed nowhere. So after we ate birthday bakalava for dessert in the glow of the orange and pink sunset over the Mediterranean, Suzanni and I grabbed hands and prayed a short but fervent prayer that God would bring my husband. It wasn’t emotional or tearful or pleading. It was desperate and from the heart sincere.

Suzanni and I returned to the states and settled in Texas. We ditched our denim and clogs for silk and heels. I found a great job working in a urology office, and we attended a congregation we had visited while in Bible school. Some months later, I met Wayne. He had worked as a minister in Amarillo and had just moved back to the area. Wayne oversaw the young adults in the congregation. We struck up a friendship; and in a year, we were engaged. 

Four months later, we had a blissful August wedding.

Today is our anniversary, and I am thinking back over the years. We have celebrated some of our 23 anniversaries in unusual places–Chek Republic, Russia, Ukraine, Hungary, and Cyprus.

I love this man who has taken me all over the world!

Today, on our 24th anniversary, we will celebrate in the mountain town of Durango. We’ll catch a movie and eat a steak.

This blog is to say that God answers prayer, and He cares about big and small things.

And you can bet the food tonight won’t be dull, and the atmosphere, well, sizzling!

Oh, and that sterling-silver flatware–that wedding gift my mother held out for my marriage–I use it all the time, not just on holidays. I am so glad I waited.

9 Comments Add yours

  1. Wayne Wilks says:

    The greatest privilege of my life is being married to you! I love you. It has been 24 wonderful years.

    Happy Anniversary,

    Your Devoted Husband

  2. Bonnie says:

    You are the love of my life!

  3. Summer Joy says:

    Wow! Bonnie, what a beautiful story, I never knew the events that preceeded you meeting Wayne. I am very encouraged by your love story both with Yeshua and your wonderful husband. It gives me hope, that somewhere out there, my beloved is waiting…..(hopefully not too long)hahaha. I just started Graduate school today and this is yet another step in fulfilling what God has for me during my single days. I love you and Wayne so much and I want to wish you another beautiful year of wedding bliss~~

    Lady in waiting,
    Summer Joy

  4. Tara says:

    Has it really been 24 years? I remember that time so well…the days you and “Suzanni” roomed together, and daydreamed about the romantic, mysterious gentlemen that awaited you! Then, lo and behold, the mysterious Wayne Wilks arrived on the scene. We who knew you protectively thought “is he good enough for our Bonnie? Does he speak Hebrew–or at least have a call to the Jewish people??” lol Of course, Wayne turned out far more than just “good enough”! And, of course, he most certainly turned out to have a call to Jewish people!

    Happy Anniversary to you two lovebirds….and MAZELTOV!

  5. Bonnie says:

    Tara, Thanks for the kind words! Those were great days, and we cherish them so much. We love you and Norris.

  6. Bonnie says:

    Summer Joy, YOur name suits you so much. Yes, God has someone very special for you. He will be revealed in the right moment. Our prayers and thoughts go with you in grad school. Come and hang out, if you need a mom and dad.

  7. sarah says:

    blessings on many more years & many more countries as you seek His face together! 🙂

  8. Bonnie says:

    Thank you dear, Sarah. You are kind. And you are loved by us!

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