Rachel and Joshua

Rachel and Joshua's Engagement in Ocala, Florida

How We Met

It was Holiday Youth Convention 2015 when I first spoke with Bro. Hattabaugh about going on a Youth on Missions trip. The destination was Brazil, and to be honest, I had never had a huge desire to go there. I wanted to visit South America and I figured I could make a difference while doing so. We talked it over and before I went my way Bro. Hattabaugh said, “Who, knows, maybe you’ll even meet the love of your life!” I laughed it off because I was certain that wouldn’t happen to me. Fast-forward to around April 2016: I had sent in my application, paid my deposit and was ready to go. This particular day I was involuntarily added to a group text with some fellow travelers. There were so many people I had never met but one particular individual stood out to me above the rest because they made me laugh. I didn’t know anything about the person behind a certain 954 area code but I knew I wanted to. One day this individual sent a photo in the group from my favorite show, The Office.

Without thinking or hesitation, I excitedly exclaimed, “who is 954?! YES I LOVE YOU!” Joshua Skirvin answered with his name and my life would never be the same. I hoped that somehow he would continue to take notice of me. Later, we communicated personally about a camera accessory. After that, we talked almost everyday, even when I traveled to Europe and we had a six hour time difference. Even though I had a crush on him, I never thought it would be anything major but I knew he was quickly becoming one of my best friends. Fast-forward again: This time, to June. I had gone to Arkansas to visit friends and on the way home had a series of unfortunate events that turned out to be one of the best situations.

Proposal Ideas Ocala, Florida

To make a long story short, my plane was cancelled. I had to spend the night in a random hotel room with a lady I had just met, and I had to purchase a new ticket to get back to Florida. This was just a week before the missions trip so I was quite frantic. I was flying into Orlando because, in my desperation and availability from Southwest Airlines, that was my quickest way back to the sunshine state. Joshua just so happened to be going to Jacksonville where I lived to visit one of his pastor friends. We had been talking that day and he offered to pick me up in Orlando and take me the rest of the way home. In his words, “he had to go that direction anyway.” (I later found out it was an hour out of his way!) He picked me up and we went on date number one. I nervously walked down the stairs and was greeted by a man who was fumbling over his words but somehow had enough composure to steady my rapidly beating heart. It’s a feeling that’s so difficult to explain, almost instantly beginning to fall for someone, taking a risk but feeling so secure all at the same time. Even early on it was easy. It felt right. I felt safe, like all of my wandering had led me straight to this plaid wearing, ruggedly handsome guy with the biggest smile on his face.

We went to Brazil and kept our focus on sharing God’s love with the sweet souls there. In that process, we began to see that He was continuing to orchestrate a love story for us that will forever be my favorite. Now, rewind back to North American Youth Congress 2013: I was on the platform as part of a promotion for Sheaves for Christ holding a globe. Unbeknownst to me, I caught Joshua’s eye but never had the chance to meet him. The next year, at Florida Senior camp, I was singing a song with a friend we had written about Summer’s at the campground. Joshua was in the congregat his church on chorale tour but neither of us remember seeing each other. I was born an hour from where he grew up. We lived in the same state for years but our paths never crossed until it was in God’s perfect timing. Joshua Martin Skirvin is everything I’ve prayed for and more. I thought I knew what love was, until he came along. I’ve been all around the world but when I put everything in God’s hands, my traveling heart found its home. Sometimes, “When you’re changing the world” yours is changed in return.

How He Asked

One of our first interactions was a year ago this week, over a photo pertaining to my favorite show, The Office. It was then that I knew Joshua was about to change my life. He made me laugh and that stood out to me. As our friendship progressed I knew almost immediately that I’d found “the one.” It was a crazy, wonderful feeling that he shared as well. Once we started discussing marriage, I told him how almost impossible it would ever be to surprise me, especially when it comes to a proposal. I will readily admit that he proved me wrong, for once!

Apparently he’s been planning since November and has had the ring for quite awhile. Little did he know that I had been planning the wedding almost since the day we met because I knew. I was honestly so in shock. We live in different cities and I had no clue he was even in town! He told me he was sick that morning. He was supposed to be coming to see me the following weekend for Easter. I’d been hoping he’d ask soon, but he knew every time I expected it and had to come up with a fool proof plan to make sure I didn’t see it coming.

I love photography and I was headed to the park with my cousins to take family photos of them, or so I thought. I had a long week and almost backed out because I wanted to spend my Saturday in bed with a book. After some convincing I decided to stick to our plans and go. Thankfully, I had decided to run a brush through my hair and dress half way decent! We got to the gorgeous venue and as I was adjusting my lens, I was caught completely off guard. All of the sudden I saw one of Joshua’s friends pointing his camera at me with the biggest grin on his face.

A few seconds later, another of his friends came up and handed me a sea-foam green teapot, like Jim gives to Pam in The Office. Inside there was a packet of hot sauce, a picture from his high school year book and a note that said: “Will you marry me?” The next few magical moments sped by way too fast.

When I realized what was going on, I so desperately wished I could have somehow pressed pause and stayed right there, hanging on to every sweet word and detail. I stood there speechless as I saw my best friend, the man I’ve prayed for my whole life come walking toward me with both our families behind him. In the sunshine and beauty of spring, he got down on one knee holding a ring he specially designed and asked me to spend forever with him. After crying, laughing and realizing that it wasn’t just a wonderful dream, I of course said yes.

After it was over we even got to have our own personal photo shoot. He even secretly called my boss and got me the day off work on Monday to celebrate at Disney where he surprised me a second time and proposed again in front of an applauding and cheering crowd! He spoiled me and made me feel more special than any Princess. It was a beautiful blur but will always be one of my favorite memories. I’ve been all around the world, but I have found my favorite and greatest adventure. He said he’s going to keep proposing to me for the rest of our lives in different ways to prove he will never stop surprising me. I get to be this happy forever! #TheSkirvinStory is just beginning and it is already better than any fairy-tale could ever be.

Special Thanks