You’ve Got Mail | Christian Style
This story is about how we met on the Internet. If you are a Christian single who is seeking companionship on the Internet, our story will inspire you. It is a testimony to what God has done in our lives through the revival in Toronto, and how He used the Internet to bring us together.
The prophet Daniel (12:4) described how in the last days there would be a dramatic increase in knowledge. Maybe as you are reading this verse you are thinking of how aviation has dramatically affected the way we travel in less than 100 years; but aviation is only one stroke in the painting.
Within a span of less than 20 years, the Internet has become one of the key repositories of global knowledge. Millions if not billions of people anywhere in the world can now find information in seconds that would have previously taken them months or years to research if they knew where to look. But do you know anyone, especially a Christian, who avoids using the Internet out of fear or lack of understanding?
Christians who want to connect to the harvest today need to know how to take full advantage of this tool for God’s purposes. We need to be in the world, not of it, and we cannot afford to ignore this modern means of connecting with people beyond our current circles of acquaintances.
While most of the body of Christ in nearly every stream of Christianity is embracing the Internet for business or maintaining friendships, when it comes to developing relationships with a potential spouse, meeting on the Internet is still considered taboo. “I’m not so desperate as to date on the Internet,” is the usual defense, but if we are ready to acknowledge that God ordained everything including the Internet. Why not use it for His glory?
If you have seen the romantic comedy starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, “YOU’VE GOT MAIL,” you have been exposed already to this social trend. Our story is very similar to the couple portrayed in the movie. Let us tell you how we met, or really how God brought us together.
I sought help on the Internet because I wanted to build a serious relationship. I was a Christian man who traveled extensively, working long hours in business and had learned early to appreciate the convenience of the Internet, so I decided to utilize it to try to find the life partner God would have for me. My job prevented me from putting down roots in any of the churches I attended because I traveled so much. It was difficult to meet people in the traditional manner at mid-week Bible studies or other church events.
I logged on to several websites and read hundreds of bios. Over a several year period, I even took the step of meeting several of the women whose bios I had read. When I saw Darla’s bio, there was something different.
Darla spoke of her longstanding involvement in intercessory prayer. My Christian background was the evangelical experience, but I was seeking a more personal relationship with Jesus. I was aware that very few Christians in my stream even knew what the term “intercessory prayer” meant, let alone were involved in practicing it. I wondered if meeting someone involved in intercessory prayer would help me develop a deeper relationship with the Lord.
When Darla wrote about her past relationships in the bio, I noticed how open she was. She was truthful about the anger, bitterness and emotional devastation she had experienced as her other relationships dissolved. However, she had come to receive healing and forgiveness and now knew her previous shortcomings were “under the blood of Jesus.”
I sought out the Internet to meet someone out of curiosity. I wanted to know what sort of people would look for someone there and wondered if it was a good idea for me. I received over 100 e-mails from interested suitors, spoke with over 50 of them and met about 10 over a number of months. Each meeting was a unique event running the gamut from hilarious to very sad.
I was about to end my ‘website adventure’ when Dave’s bio popped up on the screen. After reading about him, I felt that Dave knew Jesus personally, and I decided to write back quickly. Dave didn’t appear to be as desperate or as needy as some of the others. Little did I know or even dream at the time that Dave would be a very special gift for me from our Heavenly Father sent to me over the Internet!
We spoke on the phone and soon found ourselves, praying, laughing and studying a book together. We both wanted more of God, and realized that we were both familiar with some of the same ministries of people who had been touched by what has been going on at Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship. We were both ‘in the River’ and wanting to go deeper.
We finally met in person and then met each other’s friends and family. At first we were concerned about how we would answer the question, “How did you meet?” We are Christians, and we knew we couldn’t lie about it. But would people think it was shallow when we answered, “We met on the Internet”?
We started with the response, “We met through a mutual Friend!” However, after awhile we decided to be completely open and let people respond naturally. Sometimes there was an awkward pause as friends strained not to show surprise or maybe even disapproval. Internet dating was not nearly as socially accepted five years ago as it is today. I suppose you could say that Dave and I were “pioneers” in this avenue of social networking.
We were married on October 5th, 2002 after dating for one year. We are happier today than we would have ever been had we not taken a leap of faith by logging on to the most widely used networking tool in God’s hands today, the Internet.
INTERNET DATING | DO’S AND DON’TS
If your life is as busy as ours, and you are wondering whether or not to look on the Internet for that special someone, here are some tips from us to help you along based on our experience.
Internet dating, like all other pursuits, should be done very carefully and with prayer. Internet dating has proven to be an excellent way to meet either a friend or a life partner if we approach the process properly.
Socializing on the Internet doesn’t need to be limited to ‘dating’ at all. Many sites allow you to read profiles of people of your same sex in order to network for ministry or other activities. Christian sites can put you in touch with other Christians, an efficient screening device, to protect you for the most part from linking to unbelievers or people of questionable character.
Both of us met friends on the Internet of the same sex. One person was moving to a place one of us had lived and asked for help in finding a church and other local information.
Another person sought out advice in business when they noticed from our profile what sort of business we were in. Networking with other Christians in business circles also happens on these sites.
Not everyone logging on to a Christian dating site has pure motives. The publicity about Internet sexual predators should be a point of caution when meeting any new person and certainly someone you have never seen. Be wary if you feel uncomfortable with any of their questions or answers. When reading profiles of potential friends or dates, notice the following:
Use websites that allow you to read a detailed profile of the person of interest that covers these things:
• Personal testimony (read closely!)
• How the person earns a living
• Where they live – city, country, urban, type of dwelling...
• Who, if anyone, lives with them
• Do they have or want to have children? (How many?)
• How old are they?
• Personal goals
• Personal hobbies or interests
• What are their spiritual and motivational gifts?
Utilizing a good Christian dating website allows you to ...
• Quickly screen a number of people in a short period of time
• Better manage the relationship portion of your life amidst the many other responsibilities
• Learn more about yourself
Both of us found that we were truly challenged when we considered how to honestly complete profile questions knowing that others would read our answers. We had to consider responses to issues we hadn’t even thought about in a long time.
After you read a profile of someone you believe you would like to pursue, begin a dialogue. This is usually a very enjoyable step in the journey. It’s fun to go into the site and see the message, “You’ve Got Mail.” Once the e-mail exchange has run its course and you’re comfortable enough with the person, the man should provide his phone number and have the woman call him.
Safeguards to Women:
• Make sure you have an inexpensive long distance plan – The calls can get long!
• Use a prepaid calling card
• Remember, you may later decide that you do not want a person to have your phone number on their caller ID, so make the call accordingly.
The “call” can be a further way of screening the person you have been contacting via e-mail. Be yourself, carefully choose who you’re willing to meet, and women, especially, should consider the following precautions:
• Have the first date at a very public place
• Take a friend with you to meet the man before you go on the date
• Drive yourself and meet up for the date
• No need to provide your home address yet
• Let the Holy Spirit guide you in your heart. If you feel uneasy, excuse yourself politely and leave.
You’re now on your way, but the most important aspect of building any relationship, Internet-based or otherwise, is to keep the Lord at the head of it all!
Look for a friend first, and if the Lord has your life partner for you, all the better.
As a result of meeting on the Internet and marrying, we can share the excitement of how and where the Holy Spirit is moving in our lives today. We now participate in River ministry in a church that is involved in church planting throughout the US.
We are at the point in our lives where we are choosing to ‘scale down’ our lifestyle, gradually easing away from our corporate careers so we’re better available to serve God together in the River!