Sheila and Keith

A Divine Appointment starts with a text message

The Story of Sheila and Keith

From Sheila…

My husband had died tragically in a motorbike accident two years ago. One of my sons had married and lives in Australia. My other son had moved to London to work, so I was finally alone and felt that at 58 I might have many years ahead of me, living on my own. I was working as pastoral assistant and music director of an Anglican church in Middlesbrough and loved my work. In February 2005, after reading in the Church Times of the marriage of a couple who had met through friendsfirst I decided, rather impulsively, to join.

I received my first set of profiles and carefully read through them. My first reaction was that I had made a huge mistake and should not pursue it any further. So the profiles went into the bin. When the second set of profiles arrived I wasn’t very interested but read through them. I noticed that one man on the list came from Sheffield which was my original home town. On reading his profile I thought he was looking for ‘Mrs Perfect’, and as that wasn’t me, I decided not to do anything.

Over the next few days my thoughts returned to the ‘Sheffield’ bit in the profile. I read it again and decided to send a text message to Keith and see if there would be a reply. Surprisingly, I received a message back, the first of many and we decided to speak to each other by phone four days after my initial text. We found it easy to chat and discovered we knew many of the same people and Christian groups in Sheffield but our paths had never crossed. Our first conversation lasted over two hours!

There have been many adjustments, Keith is semi-retired and so moved from Sheffield to Middlesbrough. We had both been used to our own routines and life on our own, but all the changes have been well worth it. We are so thankful to the Lord for bringing us together to share our love and companionship and we trust He will use us in His service as a couple in the future. Our thanks go to friendsfirst too for making it possible, in a very gentle way, for the service they give in bringing people together.

 From Keith…

Having been widowed eight months previously, I applied to join friendsfirst in 2000. From the first list of profiles I met 2 or 3 ladies over a few weeks for a meal and a pleasant chat but somehow it just didn’t seem right. To me at that time it felt like a ‘marketplace’ and I can only assume this was due to my not having given myself chance to grieve sufficiently, so I wrote to ask for my name to be removed from the profile list.

Then I met an old friend from many years previous and after praying for 2 years for the relationship to develop into marriage there was no sign of progress, so I started praying for the Lord to send me the right person to be my wife or to write on the ceiling that I was not to have a wife at all. In January I received a letter or an email from friendsfirst offering me a 6 months free trial to rejoin and try again. I agreed and updated my age by the 5 intervening years.

Within eight weeks or so I received about three letters. I hadn’t responded to the profiles list because it ‘felt’ the same as before –not quite right. Then in April one day, whilst I was working at my computer, I suddenly received a text on my mobile phone from a lady called Sheila with her friendsfirst profile number and saying that she lived in Middlesbrough but was originally from Sheffield. It took me about half an hour but I managed to text back, (not being a very experienced texter), with the result that several texts later we had arranged a phone conversation for the following week.

The call duration was about two and half hours in which we found we had all but met, and knew so many mutual Christian friends. It was almost unbelievable. We then arranged to meet about three weeks later. There was no ‘wow’ factor involved, but because we had both sought God’s will in the whole process, I believe He honoured us both with a growing love for each other which led to our engagement in August and ultimately our marriage in December – definitely a divine ‘appointment’ in which friendsfirst played a very important role.  We are most grateful to them.

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