I am so excited to share today’s love story with you. These two people are so special to Terence and I and it is such an honour to feature their love story on my little blog. If you’ve had the privilege of meeting Beulah-Joy and Graham in person, you will agree with me when I say they are two of the warmest, wisest, most loving and gentle people I have ever met. Their love for Jesus is made visible in everything they do – most specifically in how they treat the people they meet. I will never forget the love and understanding they showed us when Terence’s dad passed away, or the special quilt Beulah-Joy gave us when Zazi joined our family.
When we found out they were joining their family in the USA we, along with the whole of St James, were so saddened. Thankfully, Beulah-Joy is an avid Facebooker which means we still get to ‘chat’ and she is still able to send words of encouragement when we need them the most.
I’ll let Beulah-Joy tell you how they fell in love.
Beulah-Joy and Graham
“Have you ever thought of going to Bible College?” I had just finished High School and was visiting friends who were missionaries in the Zambezi Valley.
“Yes” I replied,” probably in a couple of years when I have some other training behind me…
…and so I began working in a Laboratory as a first step to doing something useful that could be used on a mission station. However God’s ways are not our ways and six weeks later I got really sick and spent the next five months flat on my back. Just as well I had chosen not to go to University in South Africa, it would not have worked. As I finally slowly started getting better my life was made up of going to work, coming home and sleeping. Weekends I prepared my Sunday School lesson and Sundays it was Sunday School and church It was all I could manage to do at first and it became my way of life.
My friend returned from Cape Town University for the July vacation and asked if I would like to go with on a camp with several other young adults from various churches- but it felt like just too much effort. However my mother persuaded me ”You never go anywhere , never do anything- you should go” so grudgingly I went along.
I had actually heard of the McGuinness brothers five years earlier and at this camp I met Graham. I remember seeing him on the Sunday morning taking part in the church service we attended and then in the evening we sat chatting for quite a while. He told me that the following Saturday there was a Youth For Christ sponsored walk, TWENTY miles, and would I like to come. I said yes, even though I was petrified, not having done any exercise since my illness.
We set off bright and early and after 100 yards I had a stitch. What a pace they were going. How would I ever keep up? But I persevered and kept up with the whole group . At the ten mile mark I knew I had serious blisters and the one girl said she was going on ahead as we were too slow. The others said they were either going to give up or slow right down. That left Graham and myself and we were deep in conversation by then. We discovered that he knew my relations and that our Moms had gone to school together and in fact my one uncle was born in his Grandmothers house. He then told me that he had applied to go to the Bible Institute of South Africa and had just heard that he had been accepted. Bells and whistles went off in my head. It was almost 2 years since I had said I would go.
My private prayer had been “Lord send me with someone, please, I don’t want to go on my own”. B.I was the only Bible College I knew about. My two uncles had trained at B.I. and now here was a young man going. I told Graham my story and the next ten miles flew by. He had actually planned to go two years earlier, but had deliberately disobeyed God. Now we had met and were both excited about going. God can use even our rebellion to work out His purposes, as had he gone, we would probably not have met.
On that walk when I heard about B.I. I knew that this was the man I would marry, even though I hardly knew him. Having spent five months on my back I had learned many lessons in patience and that was needed while I waited for Graham to come to the same conclusion. The first six months at B.I were extremely difficult for both of us and our relationship went through some difficult times. Reading the Bible together, studying and praying together as well as serving together it came right and we made plans to get married when I had completed my two years.
Long distance wedding planning is not easy. We missed our train going home for the July vacation when we planned to get engaged and do all we needed for our wedding. In those days there was one train a week to Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) and when we arrived Graham was really sick with the Flu. Time was running out and I needed my wedding dress made as we would only be returning 10 days before the wedding in December. My mother had been in a car accident the day before we arrived and so my Dad came with and we went off to choose fabric for my wedding dress. My mother struggled through making my dress with bruised hands and arms and a black eye and yet it was almost completed before Graham was well enough to come and ask my Father if he could marry me!
We went back to Cape Town engaged and so happy, leaving the parents to do the rest of the wedding arrangements as they saw fit. They did a great job and we had a wonderful wedding before returning toCape Town. The plan was for me to work while Graham continued with his studies. God provided a perfect little bachelor flat in Fish Hoek and we moved in.
What I earned had to pay our rent, his fees, our food and anything else we might need. There was no money for anything else and we kept a notebook where we wrote down every cent we spent. God provided in that some other students needed their fridge, dining room table and washer stored. So we were happy to do that for them. We did not really have lounge furniture so we covered our tin trunks with fabric and added a cushion or two and we had seats. I made a curtain to close off the alcove that was our bedroom.
We often had students to visit- those who needed advice, encouragement or were lonely. A pattern was set. We lived very simply, used what we had to share with others, encouraging God’s children and going after the lost and wayward- trying to show them the love of Jesus.
Over Forty years have passed. The girls God gave us have grown up, married and have their own families. We still live by the same principles we started out with. We still live simply, try to encourage God’s children and look out for the lost and wayward to show them the love of Jesus. We have had many twists and turns along the way- faced heartaches, happiness and surprises. We have learned to live one day at a time and always pray together every day.
Do you believe in “They lived happily ever after”? Looking back it seems to me that if you live life according to the way God spells it out in the Bible, it works, it really does.
Beulah-Joy, thank you so much for sharing your special story.
Beulah-Joy doesn’t have a blog (perhaps this will change, hint-hint :)) So please send her some love over here as encouragement.