“Ryan and Bonnie grew up in opposite ends of Toronto, Ontario. But God is the author of this story, and He always has a timing for everything.
Ryan started re-attending his home church, Rexdale Alliance Church. A week after his baptism in August 2011, he attended a men’s bible study which Miles Valley (who happens to be Bonnie’s dad), was invited to share his testimony. That’s when Ryan met Bonnie’s dad, and a couple of members from the church that Miles pastors at.
Miles invited Ryan to come to Rouge Valley Alliance Church in the very east end of Scarborough, Ontario. So, Ryan took up Miles’ offer and travelled to Scarborough.
On September 4 2011, Ryan stepped into Rouge Valley Church for the first time. The first person who greeted him to the church was Bonnie. When Bonnie first saw Ryan, she was beyond thrilled to see another young face who so happened to be the same age as her. Bonnie never had friends her age while growing up in church, so seeing a young face was beyond exciting.
Bonnie quickly approached Ryan, and asked him about himself to get to know him. She invited him to sit beside her, knowing that a new visitor shouldn’t sit alone! Ryan was very, very shy and didn’t say much to Bonnie. What Bonnie does remember from that day was that Ryan was very shy, he had an army haircut, and he had a really nice cross necklace that she complimented him on.
After the service, they parted ways. Bonnie was in a relationship at the time, so she was just being genuinely friendly and wanting to welcome Ryan. Bonnie’s mom warned her to, “not give that boy the wrong impression”. Bonnie’s mom had a feeling Ryan liked Bonnie. (Her mom even saw Ryan looking at Bonnie from a distance). Ryan made friends who attended Rouge Valley Church.
Less than a year later, Ryan finished his 5th year of high school and graduated. He moved to Scarborough Ontario, with his best friend and mentor, and enrolled into the University of Toronto Scarborough and began his undergrad. Ryan started regularly attending Rouge Valley Church and became a member.
In Ryan’s first year of university, he was praying for his future wife. He prayed, “God, I ask that my wife would be someone that I already know. Someone that I’ve already met”. He was thinking about all girls he had met in his life. “Okay, there’s this one… no….. There’s this one…. No… God, really? These are my options?” But then the thought of Bonnie came to his mind. “Is Bonnie my future wife? Is Bonnie the girl I’m going to marry, Lord?” Ryan didn’t think it was possible. She was already in a relationship.
Ryan’s mentor asked once, “What do you think about Bonnie?” Ryan shrugged it off. Ryan and Bonnie are two very different people. Bonnie is more spontaneous and expressive, while Ryan is more calm, cool and collected. But Ryan admired Bonnie a lot from a distance throughout the years. He would see her perform skits at church, dancing or signing on Facebook. Ryan just never thought it was possible.
So, Ryan and Bonnie would see each other once in a while, crossing paths, or saying a quick hi (or scaring Ryan half to death that one time!). Bonnie was travelling to other places, and she started attending C4 Young Adults in Whitby Ontario. They had two different lives, growing in their own ways, walking two different paths.
3 years pass by, and Bonnie’s previous relationship had ended.
Back in 2012, Bonnie’s mother gave her engagement ring to Bonnie. Bonnie never got around to sizing it for her own personal use, so the ring sat in Bonnie’s jewellery box.
A little while after the end of her previous relationship, Bonnie decided to write a letter to her future husband stating that this was ring was only for him to propose to her. This was for her future husband, to provide any relief from the stress of paying so much for a ring. Bonnie sealed the letter (with the ring inside) and gave it to her parents. Bonnie trusted her parents that when they met the right man for Bonnie, they would give this letter and ring to him.
Months later, in October 2014, Bonnie was coming home for Thanksgiving weekend. Bonnie was living in Nova Scotia at the time. On Thanksgiving Sunday, Bonnie was with her friend in Bonnie’s bedroom, giving her a bottle of sand and rocks Bonnie collected from the beach in Nova Scotia.
As the two girls walked downstairs, Ryan was sitting on the couch talking to Bonnie’s dad. Bonnie saw Ryan. But this time, Bonnie really noticed Ryan. “He looks so different.. a good different..” Bonnie thought. Right away, Bonnie grabbed the box of bottles with sand and stones inside, and offered Ryan a choice to pick his two favourite bottles of sand. Ryan’s smile grew so wide, as he chose two bottles very carefully. After that night, something changed for Bonnie.
When Bonnie went back to Nova Scotia, Ryan’s name kept popping up everywhere, Bonnie went. His name even showed up as a name of a restaurant in downtown Halifax. It was driving her crazy. Bonnie tried so hard to ignore it. She started writing her feelings out, in hopes of getting things off her mind and moving forward. “They’re just petty feelings”, she thought. “Nothing’s going to happen. We’re just two, too different people.” Bonnie kept her thoughts secret from her family, friends, and anyone else while she was away.
“Besides, how could things even happen? I live in Nova Scotia. He lives in Ontario. It’s just not possible.”
Meanwhile back home, the Holy Spirit in Bonnie’s father spoke to him. One evening, Miles visited Ryan’s house to visit one of Ryan’s friends (two of Ryan’s friends also live with Ryan, who also attend Rouge Valley Church). Miles visited Ryan’s room. After some brief talk, Miles said, “Oh.. and Ryan… I think my daughter likes you.”
Ryan was shocked. Then, something in his heart happened. His heart opened up. This girl he thought about 3 years ago, actually likes him. But Ryan wanted to see it to believe it.
** Around that time, Bonnie realized the program she was in was not her fit. Through much prayer, Bonnie felt lead to move back home to Toronto for some reason. She was very sad, and wrestled with God, but she felt deeply that there was a reason for Bonnie to move back to Ontario.
A month after, Bonnie’s parents wanted to go to Blue Mountain with her and her brother. They invited Colin and Ryan to join the Valley’s for a weekend. (Interesting……..) Neither of them were looking for love (or even expected anything to happen), but God did something amazing in both of their hearts that weekend.
Ever since that weekend, Ryan and Bonnie began to admire and like each other more and more. A month later, Bonnie confessed that she admired Ryan more than a friend, but she didn’t want to play any games. Ryan felt the exact same way. They decided to just be friends; just hang out and get to know each other intentionally. There was no pressure. Bonnie needed time to heal, and Ryan needed time to grow.
For 8 months, God helped them battle and overcome fear, brokenness, baggage, and insecurities in their friendship. Bonnie and Ryan began to bravely admit that they were falling deeply in love with each other. When Bonnie went to Ontario Camp of the Deaf for a month, they started praying about their future and if God wanted them to be together. They were praying if they were meant to be married together.
After a couple days of fasting and praying for a week before Bonnie came home from camp, God confirmed to Ryan that Bonnie was the woman Ryan was going to marry. Ryan wrote a letter to Bonnie’s parents, telling them his intentions – that he wanted to marry Bonnie. Her parents were beyond thrilled.… They invited Ryan over for dinner, and gave him the letter Bonnie wrote, WITH the ring. Now, Ryan had an engagement ring for Bonnie.
Then, Ryan wrote a letter to Bonnie, telling her that he was going to marry her in 1.5-2 years. On August 7th, 2015 Bonnie came home from the Deaf camp and they were an official duo. (Yes! They shared their first kiss that day!)
After some months of growing, learning, going deeper in their faith individually and as a couple, spiritual and emotional intimacy, saying sorries, forgiving, praying, singing, serving and doing ministry together; it has been a complete joy for both of them. They are quite the opposite, and yet similar on very deep levels.
Then, on June 13 2016, a spontaneous moment happened.
Bonnie and Ryan were celebrating his birthday two days early because they wouldn’t have had a chance to celebrate on the day of.
Bonnie created a gift for him that God inspired her to do. She thought of 8 words that came to her mind when she thought of Ryan. She used scripture to back it up, and each word there was a video of her explaining it.
Ryan was deeply touched. Speechless. In complete awe. Thinking deeply. Quiet. Then, Ryan spoke, “Bonnie. You know it’s very hard for me to open up my heart right? Well I’d like to bring you deeper into my heart. I want to let you deeper into my heart”
There’s a verse in the bible that says, “But you, when you pray, enter into your closet, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father which is in secret….” Matthew 6:6.
So, Ryan has created this “prayer closet” in his closet. There’s a little mattress, a pillow, and a big light. He goes in there and that’s where he just prays and talks to God and rests in God’s presence in the closet. So it’s a very holy place for Ryan to spend time with God. That’s Ryan’s true prayer closet.
Ryan said to Bonnie, “Come into the prayer closet with me.”
Bonnie was a bit hesitant but she knew in her Spirit this was a deep moment for Ryan. So they went inside this closet, he closed the door and they laid down and stared at the wall together.
Ryan began to express how this place was very holy for Ryan. This is a place where Ryan spends time with God. It was a sweet holy presence. God was there. It was innocent. He expressed his heart to Bonnie, and they grew deeper spiritually and emotionally.
Estimately 40-50 minutes later , after they talked and prayed…It was pretty silent for a while. They were both just laying down, side by side…. Then, God spoke to Ryan very clearly in that prayer room. (Still pretty silent, according to Bonnie)
Suddenly, Ryan broke the silence and said, ” Bonnie I want to show you something that means a lot of me”. Lying beside Bonnie, he reaches over to the shelf in his prayer closest, and grabs his jewelry box. Then, he pulls out her mother’s engagement ring, and asks, “Bonnie, will you marry me?”
After that, he continued “I was going to propose to you August 7. But Bonnie, I couldn’t think of a better place to ask you such an important question. I had this plan, but for such a moment as this, before God.. I would never get this kind of moment again.”
Bonnie said a huge yes (after being completely shocked)! Praise God!
Now, Bonnie and Ryan are going to be enjoying their engagement with family and friends, for the rest of the summer and will start planning in the fall for their wedding on May 13, 2017!”
A couple of our best moments together 🙂
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