Someone I knew also knew Savannah and they wanted us to meet. It seems pretty simple, and that answer may satisfy some, but for those longing to know more details, read on.
This is one of those typical questions people asked us, and the answer isn’t the simplest. So I thought I’d write a blog post about it so I can refer people here and save my voice a little. 😉 All kidding aside, it’s so cool to us to look back and see how God orchestrated our meeting and all the events that took place in our lives individually beforehand. Here’s part 1 in our story.
The first time we met wasn’t in a casual way or in a social situation where we happened to cross paths. It was actually a meeting at my parents’ house that I scheduled. Let me back up to explain how we got there.
I tend to be more introverted by nature, and talking with girls has never been my strong suit. In addition, my family holds to the courtship model instead of the boyfriend/girlfriend method of relationships. This is more of a traditional or seemingly “old-fashioned” type of relationship. And we love it. There are plenty of reasons why I prefer courtship, but that’s another blog post entirely. 😉 My point is, I wanted to be really intentional and wise when looking for a wife.
Chapter 1: Peter’s Path
After high school, I went to a community college to pursue an education in graphic design. After college, I got a job doing design in house for a company. All the while I was teaching kids parkour Friday afternoons, teaching Awana at church Wednesday evenings, among many other things.
One endeavor needs some specific attention. Because of the encouragement from my Dad, I started mentoring a deaf young man through a local youth mentorship program (Youth 71Five). That young man along with his Mom, older brother, and deaf younger sister happened to go to the same church as me. I began spending a couple of hours with him every weekend doing a variety of things. I would often pick him up and drop him off at his house and spend some time with him there as well.
My decision to mentor him was one of those “Why not?” choices. God has given me so much and loves me beyond measure, surely I was able to spare a little bit of my “oh so precious” time for this deaf, fatherless young man. So I jumped in! And while mentoring this young man, his mom got to know me pretty well (that will be important later).
Chapter 2: Savannah’s Path
After high school, Savannah knew exactly what she wanted to do — she wanted to be a Personal Support Worker working with kids with disabilities. She took a few classes for training and began. Now if you’re familiar with disability ministry at all, you have probably heard about Joni & Friends. If you haven’t, here’s a quick explanation.
Joni & Friends is built on Biblical truth and the foundation of Jesus Christ. Since 1979, they have been advancing disability ministry and changing the church and communities around the world. One of their ministries is a family retreat camp for families affected by disabilities. Families sign up and bring their kids to camp where they are taken care of for a week by short term missionaries (STMs). This gives the parents a break from everyday life taking care of their kids. These STMs are called “buddies” of the kids. Each kid (camper) is assigned a buddy for the week. Savannah and several of her siblings have served at Joni & Friends camps for many years. Some of my siblings have as well, although I never have.
At the August 2017 camp at Twin Rocks, Oregon, since Savannah knew sign language, she was paired with a deaf girl. She connected with her really well at camp and began to spend time with her on the weekends even after camp was over. This girl had an older brother who was also deaf and another older brother. As you may have guessed, this girl was the younger sister of the young man I was mentioning.
Savannah began spending a couple of hours with her every weekend doing a variety of things. She would often pick her up and drop her off at her house and spend some time with her there as well. Sound familiar? We were doing the same thing with siblings from the same family without knowing it and without ever crossing paths. We learned later that there were times we missed each other by minutes. I would leave this family’s house and a little bit later Savannah would show up.
Chapter 3: Peter & Savannah’s Paths Overlap
Here’s the moment you’ve been waiting for. The mom of this family knew me pretty well since we went to church together and I mentored her son, so when she met Savannah at Joni & Friends camp, she immediately thought we’d be a good match for each other and she began thinking of ways to get us to meet.
Throughout September and October, she invited both of us individually to various events and gatherings. At all of which we never met. Since that casual meeting method wasn’t working, one day in October she mentioned Savannah to my Dad. During the first weekend in November, while attending a grandparenting seminar in Texas, my Dad spoke with my Mom about Savannah.
After they returned, my Dad asked me if I had heard of the Hill Family, to which I answered, “No.” So we discussed it and he shared what he knew.
Throughout the months of November, December, and January, my Dad and I had numerous conversations about how I wanted to proceed with pursuing Savannah. I wasn’t in a particularly big rush, plus with Christmas and the New Year I wanted to wait until that busy season was over before taking action.
I had decided I wanted my Dad to meet Savannah’s Dad, Mike, first before I met either of them. That way the Dads could develop their own friendship and talk freely about their kids. But the main reason for this was protection. Mike protecting Savannah’s emotions and heart, but also my Dad protecting mine. If nothing came from this meeting, Savannah and I both had very little emotional involvement and could move on easily.
After my Dad had lunch with Mike, I texted Mike on February 13, 2018 to ask about setting up a time to meet to get to know each other. We met for dinner at Black Bear Diner the following Monday, February 19. We had a great discussion covering a wide range of topics. The following Wednesday we had lunch together and continued to correspond via text and email.
On March 9, my parents and Savannah’s parents got together for dessert to talk and get to know each other. That was a great meeting and they all thought things should move forward. After that, Mike and I emailed to plan a time for both sets of parents, Savannah, and me to get together since that was the way I wanted it. We decided upon snacks and games at my parents’ house.
So on April 14, 2018, Savannah and I met for the first time.