Some things seem wonderful but too good to be true. I think real lasting love is one of those things.
Him: Seth grew up with his mother in southern California during his childhood until they moved to Bend, Oregon during his teenage years. Upon graduating high school, he interned at Westside Church for a year before moving to Uganda for a six month visit. In those six months he fell in love with the culture and people of Uganda and heard the call of God on his life to be a long term missionary. Those six months turned into the last 5 years (except a short 3 1/2 month visit back to the US in Fall 2013 for a semester of Bible college). Currently he is the youth pastor at Life Church in Kampala, Uganda where he also leads Ignite (a young adults internship), serves on the worship team, loves people and uses his many “fix-it” skills too.
Her: Diana has grown up for the last 24 years in Vancouver, WA with her parents and 3 older siblings (and now a bunch of adorable nephews and a niece that is already taller than her). After graduating highschool she attended Portland Bible College where she completed her Bachelors degree in Theology. Since then she has been working part-time as a waitress and simultaneously in the youth department at City Bible Church in Portland, OR. For the last 7 years she longed to visit Uganda, but never thought that it would be for more than short visit.
Our Story: As told through the eyes of Diana
Like I said in the beginning, love seems like one of those things that is was too good to be true.
First off, I just want to say that God is AMAZING. There is no other way that I could even begin to explain “Our Love Story”.
After 4 years in Uganda, Seth packed up and moved to Oregon for one semester of Portland Bible College. While he was on the airplane to the US, I was packing my bags for a 2 week trip with a group from my church to be apart of some children’s outreach events at Life Church in Uganda. In the two weeks that I was in Uganda I fell in love with the people, the culture and the country. In the first two weeks that Seth was in Portland he got settled into dorm life and met one of my brothers (Seth volunteered to do audio engineering at City Bible Church (where my brother works as a sound guy) while he was in town). My brother David, who is normally a VERY protective older brother, told Seth about me and that he had to meet me when I returned from Uganda. At the same time David was talking to him, I was at Life Church where everyone there was talking about their good friend Seth who had just left for Portland and how all of us who were visiting Uganda MUST meet him when we returned to Portland. They told us that they sent him there and hoped that he would find a wife to share life with. We joked about who which of us girls on the trip would marry him. I thought it was all in joking humor, but God obviously had other plans.
David brought him over to my parent’s house the day after I returned from my trip. I was unaware of his purposefully introducing us and schemes to bring us together. Although completely clueless of David’s matchmaking until later, I thought Seth was an incredible guy after standing around in the kitchen talking for an hour with my brother and him. He seemed strong, confident in who he was, reliant on God and able to lead me. It doesn’t seem possible to notice all of those things the first time you meet someone, I didn’t think it would lead anywhere but I definitely didn’t mind bumping into him a few times a week while working at the church.
After a month of talking here and there he finally mustered up the courage to ask me out (and with a lot of encouraging from David and the other sound guys). I wasn’t sure it was a date because he asked me to lunch and if I could drop him off at the airport afterward. Unsure if it was a real date or just a friend giving a friend a ride and sharing a meal together, I gladly and skeptically agreed. We ate and talked and I dropped him at the airport when we had finished. Never in my life have I ever met a guy who was so easy to talk and so seemed so instantly trustworthy as Seth. After that lovely Friday lunch he kept asking me out and I kept agreeing to go out with him, yet knowing that when the semester of school was over he would be returning to Uganda. Before many of our earlier dates, while getting ready to go out I would complain that he was going to be leaving soon, talk about why it would NEVER work and wonder why I had even agreed to go on yet another date. Yet, I couldn’t help but say yes every time he asked and wait in anticipation until the next day we could spend time together. We agreed to keep spending time together and getting to know each other until the dreaded date of his departure got closer and we would be forced to talk about “the future”.
This kind of quickly growing “like” (love) seemed impossible. That wasn’t how I had pictured falling in love. It was too fast, too easy and too perfect. I was “supposed” to meet a guy, become really good friends then realize that we had both been in love with each other the whole time, then after that we were going to get married. Had I watched too many love stories to realize that real love isn’t a movie? Falling in love is so much better than any movie I had ever seen or story I have heard. It is real and wonderful. After dating for 2 1/2 months, we decided to give “long distance” a chance. Iphones and technology are such a wonderful thing. We talked, video chatted, and talked some more for the next 4 1/2 months. Although those months went by fairly quickly, they also seemed like forever. He left mid-December at the end of the semester to return home to Uganda and in mid-January I purchased an airplane ticket to go to Uganda for a two month visit (the end of April to the end of June). April couldn’t come fast enough!
Finally the day came! Arriving in Uganda for second time in my life and being picked up at the airport by my love was a dream come true. For the first month of the trip we worked tirelessly with the interns and youth at Life Church to put on Gen Alive (a youth conference). After a month of being in Uganda and the end of the conference he FINALLY popped the question. I knew that I wanted to spend the rest of my life learning, enjoying life with and loving Seth and it seemed like he was never going to ask me to marry him (although in reality we had only been dating 7 1/2 months).
It was a gorgeous sunny Saturday. Seth seemed a little bit weird from the moment he picked me up in the morning until the moment he proposed. We spent the morning with the interns and doing office work in the morning as usual, ate lunch together and then headed to Lake Victoria to spend the afternoon boating around the lake on a boat borrowed from a friend. For 45 minutes we drove around the lake as Seth rambled on about fishing and all the ways that they cast nets, set traps and all the ways that people fish in Uganda. Finally he stopped the boat, we ate our snacks and he hugged me tightly and started telling me he loved me and how he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. I agreed with him, telling him that I know he loves me and of course I want to spend the rest of my life with him also. He is great at expressing his feelings and telling me how much he cares about me so I just thought he was being his normal self (but hoping that he was going to propose because I thought I saw the ring box in his coat pocket). He got down on one knee, asked me to marry him and presented me with a lovely diamond ring. I thankfully agreed and could not wait to start our life together! Sadly, a month later I left him behind in Uganda and returned to the US.
After getting married on September 26th in Portland, Oregon we’ll spend a month in the Northwest before making the move together to Uganda on November 1st.
If you want to read some of Seth’s past blogs to see the type of ministry we will be involved in, and what life in Uganda will look like go to: www.sethsokoloff.org
~ Seth & Diana