We met in the Fall of 2007 as students in the YWAM LA, DTS (Discipleship Training School) led by Conrad & Bonnie Kusel. After spending 3 months together in LA and 2 months apart on outreach (Jess was with a team in Thailand, and Shaun was on a separate team in Thailand & China) it was pretty clear that we “fancied each other”. Shaun asked me to be his girlfriend a month after the DTS ended, while I was visiting him in Michigan.
Our Engagement Story...
On Friday, December 5th, 2008, just a few days before we were leaving to take a team of students to India for two months, Shaun invited me on a date. To relieve me of some of my stress from preparing to go overseas, he had our sweet Beka pick out my outfit and help me get ready. After driving 20 minutes to a mystery restaurant Shaun realized that he had forgotten his jacket. He panicked saying things like, “I need my coat because I might get cold.” and , “My camera is in my pocket and you know how much I love to take pictures!” (Obviously he had left the engagement ring in the jacket!) So we ended up driving back to the YWAM base, grabbing the jacket, and leaving again . With the unplanned detour, the hour long drive turned into a 3 hour drive because we were right in the middle of LA's Friday 5 o’clock traffic. I was excited because we had Christmas music playing the whole way, but Shaun was a bit discouraged, feeling like maybe he had ruined things.
|this is the table we sat at.. this photo was taken 2 years later!|
Once we arrived at the restaurant, The Rusty Pelican in Newport Beach, the valet parked our car and we went inside. The hostess immediately knew who we were and sat us at a beautiful table outside overlooking the water. Being so late in the evening we ended up being one of the only tables out there, it was gorgeous. All of the boats were decorated with Christmas lights and we ordered everything we could have wanted. After a delicious 5 course meal we were ready to leave. Shaun asked if I wanted to drive back to the base and watch “The Santa Clause”, being my favorite movie I was thrilled, but also slightly confused because I thought perhaps his jacket had a ring that would end up on my finger. We drove for a bit but then Shaun pulled into a parking lot that looked very familiar to me. He asked if I wanted to go for a walk on the beach, I said yes and began to ask him if he remembered where we were. Shaun is great at having a straight face, so as much as I described the time that we had spent on this particular beach the year before, Shaun still denied having any recollection of the memory. (We had been there the year before over Thanksgiving with Steve Robertson, his mom, and friends.) As we walked out to the sand I saw a light flashing in the distance. We walked toward it and it began to take shape..
It was a lit Christmas tree, set up on a blanket with gifts under it and fake snow all around. There was Starbucks hot cocoa there waiting for us as well. Shaun led me to sit on the blanket and his phone started ringing. He handed it to me saying that it must be for me and on the screen was a picture of Santa Clause and flashing words that read, “Santa calling”. I answered and basically started crying instantly. Santa had not called me since I was 16 years old when my parents split up so I felt like I was reuniting with my old favorite friend. Santa said sweet things to me about how wonderful I was and how happy he was that I had met Jesus. I cried and cried while he was describing how he had dropped his hat on the beach for me, just like he had every Christmas Eve of my childhood. He said that because I would be in India over Christmas he wanted me to have a little Christmas celebration before it. So after hanging up the phone we ran to find his hat. Once we grabbed it Shaun brought me back to the blanket and I opened two packages. One was slippers, and the other was pajamas, the same two gifts I got every Christmas Eve according to our family tradition. The gifts were from Beka, Meredith, Ausherman, Shaun, and other friends.
After we had opened them ,we noticed that a homeless man who had been laying against a trash can in the near distance, had begun walking toward us. I was a little frantic thinking I needed to give him cocoa so that he would go from us but as he go closer he pulled out his guitar and started to play “Bella Notte” from Disney’s The Lady and the Tramp (the part where the slurp the spaghetti!). Immediately I recognized the voice singing, it was one of our best friends, Mike Pulliam, who had dressed like a hobo and was serenading us while Shaun helped me to stand. He knelt on his right knee and expressed his beautiful love for me and then pulled out the ring and asked “Jessica Wilson, will you marry me?” The ring was my dream come true, it had belonged to my great-grandmother and my Grandma Mary and it had been designed by my Grandpa Jack, who passed away before I was born.
After saying yes and opening a couple more gifts (champagne, glasses, and bridal magazines) Steve Robertson, Calah Robak, Meredith, Beka, Andrew, Kyle and Sierra (Shaun’s best friends from Michigan) all ran out and toppled us with hugs.
Kyle proceeded to host the engagement party at his house in LA. It was all completely heavenly and I’m so grateful to God for His goodness. I'm also deeply thankful to Beka for helping Shaun come up with everything and for Steve working like mad to make it all happen. You are amazing.
We were married May 31st, 2009, on the anniversary of Jessica’s Grandma Mary and Grandpa Jack’s wedding in 1947. Jessica’s wedding ring is a combination of her grandmother’s and great-grandmother’s ring, along with a piece that her grandfather designed and had put on the ring as a gift to Grandma Mary. The ring is engraved with Mary and Jack’s initials and the year “May 31, 1947”.Shaun’s vintage ring once belonged to Grandma Mary’s beloved family friend, a renowned professor who was once on the cover of Time magazine for his accomplishments.
|Drawing by the oh-so-lovely Melissa Danley|