Vanessa and Evan
Evan and I are both executive directors of non-profit organizations in Las Vegas, NV. We both have been given a heart that just beats for those with great potential but lack the environment to thrive! Evan started Club Christ Ministries 8 years ago giving his heart Mon-Fri at 3 after school centers he’s started in Section 8 housing developments to at-risk youth. The entire operation is run by volunteers and lives are truly changed because of his desire to give! I started a non-profit organization called Ignite Life a year ago designed to offer support to at-risk schools through leadership development and mentoring. I get the privilege of speaking around the world, but most importantly investing in my own community.
Evan and I have been dating for 11 months, yet have climbed some HUGE mountains together in that time! Last October I was diagnosed with cancer. Evan and I had been dating for less than a month when he decided he would be a prayer warrior on my behalf and a place of strength and pure joy for me! As I was going through that journey I knew Evan’s faith was more than just words but the way he lived his life. There was no other person I would have rather shared the day with when I heard the words “Cancer Free!” I can look back and know with such certainty that God created me with Evan on his heart.
As I was out on a speaking tour in North Carolina, I was invited to attend one of my sister’s friends “Birthday Celebrations”. What I didn’t know was that it wasn’t her birthday at all! We arrived to a cute hole in the wall French Bakery that was absolutely adorable! Several friends who live in Charlotte and my family met up for the celebration. As we were sitting and laughing together the bakery walked into the room and said “Is Vanessa here?”. Completely in shock, I raised my hand to signal I was there. She handed me a plate with two chocolate covered strawberries on them (one dipped to resemble a tux and another dipped to resemble a bridal gown) with the words, “I choose you, Evan” written on it in chocolate. I was already so embarrassed it didn’t fully register what was happening. I said the words “They are cute” and how know idea Evan had been behind me the entire time until he said “They are, aren’t they?” I don’t know that there has ever been a moment in my life I have ever been so excited to see someone. We had been apart while I was on my speaking tour and there could have been no greater surprise…so I thought!
After getting the attention of all of those in the café, Evan reached in his pocket and began to read a poem he had written. Lines included “I love your great home cookin’ and holding your hand cause your so good lookin’” as well as lines that squeezed my heart, “With cancer or without – together we’ll figure it out”.
My cheeks hurt from smiling so big as he got down on one knee and asked me the question I’ve held so deep in my heart, “Vanessa, will you marry me?” Holding his face in my hands I could hardly believe God would grant me the honor of being this man’s wife! “Of course I will” were the only words that would come out.
Evan’s proposal was one of the sweetest moments I’ve ever experienced…but what tops it is that he chose me; for more than a great story…he chose me for the good moments, the hard moments, the joyful moments, the heart aching moments…he chose me…for forever!
We are counting down the days til March 24th when our ministry together starts! Watch out Las Vegas…we’re ready to change some lives!
Here it is in video too!