In the fall of 1981 I was travelling as the music director for a Christian band in Europe called Living Sound III. By that time I was 27 years old, had my Bachelor of Music Degree and had travelled in over 30 countries telling the message of Jesus’ love and forgiveness through music. That fall, our team was supposed to go back behind the Iron Curtain for three weeks of concerts in Poland but because of Solidarity strikes in Poland, all our concerts were cancelled. So we ended up staying the month of October at a ‘Youth With A Mission’ hostel not too far from Vienna, Austria.
At that time, God was working in my life to clean up some of the inconsistencies in my Christian walk (read sin). I have found that whenever God wants to go to the next level in my walk with Him….He will challenge inconsistencies in my life. I was challenged by a friend to read through my Bible and once I started reading the Bible… it seemed like I couldn’t put it down. God used those weeks in Austria to soften and change my heart and make His Word so real to me! I remember sensing His love and power as I spent many hours each day reading the Bible. I ended up reading the whole Bible in three and a half months. I also made a commitment to the Lord at that time to read the Bible every day. That was over 35 years ago and it still is my habit to this day.
But I digress…. One of the other things I did in Austria was to watch a video by a New Zealand teacher, Winkie Pratney on ‘How To Find A Wife’. His teaching was based on the story of Abraham sending his servant to find a wife for Abraham’s son, Isaac. The servant prayed that he would find ‘a woman who would water camels’. (Read Genesis 24). The core of Winkie’s teaching is that the servant prayed specifically and also prayed for a ‘woman with a servant’s heart’. Drawing water from a well for ten camels was a lot of work.
That sounded good to me so I drew up a list of nineteen things that I was looking for in a wife. I was very specific. I prayed for my future wife’s exact age, hair colour, relationship with her father, relationship with God as well as a host of other details.. including that she would be ‘a woman who waters camels’… a ‘woman with a servant’s heart’. (I still have that list in one of my old Bibles)
Over the next few months God continued to work on my heart and transform me. I don’t know how much other people noticed.. but I felt like a totally new person… and I grew passionate about reading and memorizing God’s Word.
When that Living Sound tour was finishing in early 1982, I got a surprise phone call from my home church in Vancouver, Canada. They wanted me to come home and conduct and write music for their 120 voice choir and orchestra. I really had doubts about whether I could do it, but I felt like God was calling me back home.
When I was home and learning how to conduct the choir and lead people who were twice my age, I noticed this cute Italian girl, Anna, singing in the choir. I wasn’t in a big hurry to start a relationship but I did slowly get to know her through some double dates. As I got to know Anna, I realized that she was meeting all of my nineteen prayer requests. It was time to get married. God was answering my prayer. I had been scared of marriage my whole life (it is a huge commitment) but now it was time.
We were married the next year in February, 1983 and this February we celebrate our 34th wedding anniversary. We now have two great children who married wonderful Christians and we now have two awesome grandchildren. Anna Foti Cole has been God’s answer for me. I am truly blessed!
Question: Do you have a ‘God Story’ about how you met your spouse that you would like to share?
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