Valdur Rosenvald’s side of story
I met Johanna for the first time in Kolgata congregation in 2011. She sat there with Reelika and after the service I went to meet them. Turned out they were ladies for Saaremaa who had come to the mainland to study. Soon me and Johanna started to see each other often for she joined our youth activities and we also had some subjects together. I remember that it was quite a boring lecture where I sat with Johanna, when Henri Lehtsaar invited me to play disc golf. I decided to go and invited Johanna along. I was absolutely sure she wouldn’t come for she seemed too well-behaved to skip lectures. But to my great surprise she joined. My understanding of her changed at that moment, I realized she’s a girl who dares to skip lectures.
Conversations or growth of the friendship
In October 2012 I went to serve time in Jõhvi Viru infantry battalion. I called friends when I could. I thought I called everyone equally, but some claim I actually mostly called Johanna. It seemed suspicious to some people. ‘
I know there was a time we went for runs together. I even remember the first time. Johanna lived in Roosi street at the time, I ran behind her door and invited her along. She said she already had had a tough exercise on that day, but again, to my great surprise, she came along. Our friendship grew deeper and we did many awesome things together with Kogalata’s youth community. Unfortunately, I don’t remember anything of it.
Lightning light or beginning of a relationship
In spring 2014 I realized our “friendship” had become so close that we should have a talk. For example, I wrote to my diary on April 8, 2014:” I discovered I think about Johanna a lot.” I decided to take some time off to go to Männimets to think and pray for way forward.
On May 20, Johanna had to submit rough draft of her bachelor’s thesis. I called her quarter before midnight to ask how it went. She called me back at midnight to say it went fine. Then she invited me for a walk. We talked and walked when we got caught in a thunderstorm. We took shelter under Biomeedikum’s roof and Johanna asked if she’s more than a friend to me. I said I really like her. And mentioning it just in case – we hugged. We prayed to find out way. There was a small obstacle – Johanna had decided to be single for the rest of her live, because she thought she could serve God better that way. Our final decision was made on June 16, 2014.
After praying and thinking, Johanna had come to conclusion she can serve God also when she’s married. It would just be different. On June 16 2014, our relationship began and our first official date took place in Tartu, in Kapriisi cafeteria.
Good plan, better plan, Toplaan
Two years went by quickly, we became to know each other closely. We have gotten along great, we haven’t had a single serious argument even when I have tried to have one. But I must admit the time hasn’t always been easy. Difficulties teach people and so we have become to know better ourselves, each other and God.
I started to take up earlier to listen to Timothy Keller’s sermons that have grown me a lot. In April, last year, I told Johanna we could take a hike together. Johanna agreed and planned herself a weekend off. I didn’t tell her where we’re going and left downtown.
I had bought a lot of food by accident. Johanna looked at it, and, seeing cheese and sausages, she asked:” Are we going to visit Mati?” It was incredible for I initially planned to visit Mati Lohu. She knew it by the food where we’re going. After spending night at Mati’s place we flew from Riga to Norway Stavanger.
We climbed on the top of Preikestolen mountain, which is 604 m. high. On the way we stopped three times to pray for our relationship. One there, I asked:” Johanna Toplaan, will you marry me.” She thought six seconds and agreed.
Usually I’m not an emotional person, but it made me cry like a baby. We ran down fast for the last bus was leaving. And I kept on crying like a baby even on the bus. Probably the thought of this decision being for life touched me deeply.
When you’re reading this story, all has probably gone well and we’re married. We have to grateful to God who took and has kept us together. There’s a little chance we would have met outside the church for it was our first and main meeting place. The main purpose of the marriage is to allow each other to polish oneself into clear diamonds that reflect God’s love. I hope and pray we’re on our way there.