The sheer number of events that occurred to allow my son, Brave Heart, to meet his future wife, Beautiful Soul, is astounding. If you are not a believer in the God of miracles, you should at least be in awe of His ways after hearing the details.
Beautiful Soul’s grandfather, Papa, is from a large Russian family. His nine siblings and parents were born in Ludza which is a small town in Latvia. He is the youngest of the ten children born into his family. Before he was born, Adolf Hitler was terrorizing most of Europe and, because Papa’s family was facing religious persecution, they decided to flee the continent and settle on the continent of Africa near Johannesburg, South Africa, where he was born. While Papa was in South Africa, he met a beautiful, artistic girl from the town of Benoni about an hour outside of Johannesburg. She later became his wife and, over the years, they created a beautiful family with four children whom they raised in the scenic country of South Africa. Unfortunately, South Africa soon began having trouble of its own in the form of Apartheid coupled with extremist views towards segregation and blatant government censorship of the media. Papa and his family had seen troubling signs like this before so he and his wife decided to move to America to raise their children in the safety of a country which had already experienced desegregation. As things would have it, they moved to Houston, Texas which is where I was born, raised, and lived for 50 years. We never met the beautiful Lotzof family even though we lived only about 30 miles from their home in Houston. Since we didn’t know the family, God decided to take matters into His own hands. About two years ago, my son signed up on a mission trip with a girl he was dating at the time. Before they left on the trip, their relationship ended and the trip became an area of anxiety for my son. He kept his commitment to go on the mission trip because he had raised money from donors and was delivering baby goats to local villagers in Haiti upon his arrival. Due to the understandable discomfort around his own college group, he began hanging out with a group from another state in his free time each evening. With God’s hand directing his every step, he was drawn to a fun and refreshing friendship with two of the college girls in the group. Several months later, he created a Houseparty group chat with the two girls he had met and, lo and behold, he found that he especially enjoyed talking to one of them. From his bedroom in our tiny farmhouse, our family could hear him laughing and talking incessantly on the phone with this girl and we knew something different was going on because we have never seen that side of him before. The only problem was that he was leaving for a six-month-long study abroad program in Sweden in a month. He knew that it was not a good idea to begin talking to this girl since he would be out of the country for such a long time; however, he drove to Houston to visit with her and met her family the day before he left for The Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm, Sweden. It was obvious that he was interested in pursuing a relationship with her based on the way he described her each time we spoke.
Brave Heart is not a person who likes to talk on the phone at all. I am fortunate if he gives me 5-10 minutes on the phone when I call him. Different story altogether when it comes to Beautiful Soul. While he was in Sweden, they logged over 450 hours on Facebook video chat. During those months while he was there, they got to know one another in a way that would have never happened if they had been in the same city with one another. At the beginning, they took turns emailing one another thought-provoking questions, waited for the response, and then the other one would ask a question at the end of the response. In my opinion, they had an old-fashioned romance via new technology. Since the time was way different in Sweden than in Texas, they learned to work out the timing of their emails and think about their responses while waiting. Through the conversations and Cyber-time spent “together”, they were completely in love by the time Brave Heart returned from Sweden. In the coming months, I frequently heard the words “real”, “genuine”, “loving”, and “different from other girls” a lot. I knew he had found the right person to walk through life with when I heard those words. Within a couple of months, he was purchasing an engagement ring and their wedding will joyously take place in only six more weeks!!
If you look at the number of miracles and life-changing events that had to occur in order for my son to find the wife God had chosen for him, it is astounding. Her grandfather was originally from a Russian family, was forced by religious persecution to leave the European continent, was relocated with his family to South Africa, married a beautiful South African woman, was again subjected to government-led religious and ethnic persecution, chose to move to America and settle in Houston, Texas about 30 miles from where we lived. Because we never met in Houston, his grand-daughter, Beautiful Soul, was sent to Haiti on a mission trip with her college group at the exact same time as my son, Brave Heart, was on a mission trip through the University of Texas and, out of his discomfort (which is pretty unusual for him), decided to join up with a group from the University of Oklahoma where he first met his future wife. I fully believe that God orchestrated these events to create an opportunity for my son to meet his future wife. The same God who conducted this amazing series of events for my son is the God who loves you just as much. He is working at all times to do beautiful and amazing things in your life.
Do you think that God doesn’t hear your prayers? Do you think that God doesn’t care about details? Well, the same God who moved a family to three different continents so that my son could meet his future wife is the God who hears your prayers. I have prayed for years that my son would find a wife who loves him well. I have prayed for her to have a teachable heart. I have prayed for her to have a relationship with God and a desire to know Him more. He has answered those prayers for our family. He has given our son a beautiful, loving wife who will be a blessing to him all the days of his life. We are so grateful for God’s answer to our prayers.
Today, I drove to Houston to meet Papa. I felt it was important for me to thank him for my future daughter-in-law because I am a believer in the fact that a person’s heart is established by her family. I wanted to meet all of the people who are responsible for the acceptance, love, and passion of my future daughter-in-law. I felt it was important to thank him as soon as possible because, you see, he is gravely ill right now and the doctors have not given him a good prognosis. In fact, it isn’t good at all so Papa and Nana’s three sons have traveled into town to visit with him over the past week. Because I know how special he is to Beautiful Soul, her mother, and Nana, I felt it was vitally important for me to meet this man-from-three-continents. The man who wasn’t afraid to leave all comforts behind to find a new life. The man who loved his family so well that they followed him whole-heartedly. The man who will leave a strong sense of family pride with his wife, his daughter, his three sons, and his grandchildren. Lotzof is his Russian surname. I’m pretty sure it means Lotz of love. Lotz of memories. Lotz of miracles.
Papa knows his time on earth is limited. Even though his memory is slipping about certain things, there are certain intangibles that are clearly felt by him. It is evident that he feels the love of his wife, four children, and grandchildren. It is also evident that he has felt God’s presence clearly throughout his life and he still feels God’s presence clearly today. The family is sad about the timing of his illness due to the upcoming wedding of his oldest granddaughter, Beautiful Soul, but even though I’m sure he is sad about leaving his earthly family, I do not believe he is afraid. Before I left to head back home, he shook my son’s hand, looked him in the eye, and said “Take good care of my family.” He can be confident in that because my son, too, has experienced lots of miracles from the hand of God throughout his young life. Concerning future generations, I know God’s hand will continue to bless his entire family with Lotzof love.