Loren and Joel

How We Met

I met Loren in London in 2017. She spent 6 months living with a lovely family whose children she took care of. On Sundays she would come to the church I was going to Westminster. We were both in sticky parts in our lives and had never hoped, wanted or imagined being together. Each Sunday we would see each other and discuss how we were coping, and by the end of that 6 months I hadn’t wanted Loren to leave, and it seems she found it even harder than I did.

How They Asked

That 6000-mile gap and 7/8 hour time difference is no joke. It took its toll for a while. We spoke when we could via messenger, and I went out to see her a few months later for a younger people’s church conference.

Fast forward 15 months and it was time to think about ending the long-distance relationship, and not by breaking up. The only thing Loren had asked for in a proposal was for it to be a surprise somehow. From the other side of the world is no easy task.

I got the help of her friends and family, and by October the 19th I was on a plane which she had no idea about. I told Loren I’d been at my sisters in the morning and sent some photos over, and from there met my friend to play golf. Well, I didn’t go to golf, I went to the airport. I recorded a Marco Polo video message for her from the airport, pretending to be at the golf club, and she had no idea. I spent around £30-40 paying for decent WiFi on the flight so she wouldn’t be suspicious, and again this plan worked (she would have known for sure if I was offline for 10 hours). Well after golf I ‘had to help my friend move belongings from his mum’s place’. This obviously didn’t happen but had a couple of times in the past so it was believable. Loren wanted to speak via messenger once I’d finished, (and I knew she would, as we usually do), so I told her I didn’t feel well and had pre-recorded a Marco Polo message from my car at home the night before to send. She watched it and was very gracious in letting me go in and straight to sleep. I was pretty much in the air above her at this point.

I landed in LA and got my second flight from there to Arizona, where a couple of her friends picked me up from the airport at around 10:30 pm. They dropped me off to some of her other friends, just a street away from where she lives, and I spent the night there. In the morning, I had to wake up at around 4 am, as that was the time I would be awake back in London. I sent all my usual Sunday morning messages, and she went to church as she usually would.

Her friends had planned to go and take nice autumn photos at Mother Nature’s pumpkin farm nearby, and thankfully it was her brothers birthday the day before, so her mum and made sure most of the family had come over to visit for that, so they joined them for the photos.

2 pm came around and I was back in the car with Loren’s friends, almost at the pumpkin farm. It was late in London at this point, and Loren was waiting for us to speak before I made my way to bed. Well, I did call her, and we spoke for a few seconds before she realized it was light. She became confused. Then I saw people in the background, and pumpkins…and then realized where I was.

After standing amazed for a few seconds she came running over and 3 of her friends were there to capture what the last month of planning had led to.

Loren's Proposal in Arizona, USA

She said yes.

Special Thanks

Valerie Vondra
 | Planning
Becca Nelson
 | Planning
Hailey Satterfield
 | Videographer